Oh, Momma, You Are Doing A Good Job

I stand in line to use the restroom in the bathroom at the airport. Babygirl in my sling, finally asleep for the first time in five hours. A woman, just a bit older than me asks me, "Are you the one that had the newborn on the plane?" My face flushes, and I look down for a bit. "Yes, I'm so sorry she was so fussy!" I respond. "No! I thought she did awesome! I have two boys, five and seven, I remember how tough flights were for them. It'll get easier," she replies. I tell her thank you, that I sure hope so, and that this is my second baby so I should be better at this airplane thing.

She just looks at me, she sees me, and says, "Oh, momma, you are doing a good job."

***

I walk out of the bathroom and take a seat near the benches by the baggage pick up. Babygirl has woken and it's time for her go back in the car seat for the ride home so I pull her out of the sling. As her little body uncurls, two elderly women, on my right and my left oh and aw. "Her hair!" "Her eyes!" "How old?" "What's her name?" The compliments and questions come fast and furious and I say thank you and answer the questions as quick as they come. My husband drops the baggage around my feet for safekeeping as it comes off the belt and I begin to open our stroller with one hand as I hold babygirl in the other. "Oh, let me sweetheart!" the woman on my right offers. She is not young, I think I could be her daughter, more likely her granddaughter. I let her know I've got it, I do it all the time with one hand. But she sees me struggling and she pushes me gently out of the way. I verbally walk her through the steps to open it and woman on my left comments on all the "newfangled contraptions young moms have - so complicated!" I smile and sigh a little. 

She looks at me, she sees me, and says, "Oh, sweet momma, you are doing a good job." 

***

I am walking out of baggage claim when I receive a text from a friend with two littles at home just like mine, asking how the house hunting is going. I tell her we haven't found anything yet. Maybe the next trip. She asks how babygirl is sleeping and I tell her the truth: Not well. But I add that it's likely our fault as she had to share a room with us the entire time in the hotel - hopefully this week will be better. 

She reads between the lines, she sees me and says, "Oh,  don't worry momma, you are doing a good job." 

***



Three times in under an hour I heard those words. "Oh, momma, you are doing a good job." 

And three times in under an hour I needed them. 

Do you need them today? Because I will say them to you. 

"Oh, momma, you are doing a good job."

There are the rare days where I feel like I've got this mom-thing decently down. And then there are all the other days when it overwhelms and drowns me. And in this particular season, I'm looking for a life raft more often than not. I feel like I'm surviving each day, living hour by hour, no time to think ahead, just dealing with the needs of now. There seems to be no ends to my days, just a continuous cycle of Do The Next Thing. These are the days where it can feel like I'm making no difference, having no impact, where I'm just not doing a very good job. 

But then I hear someone tell me I am. From someone in a stage of life just ahead of me. From someone on the other side. And from someone right here in the trenches with me. Three times I hear it. And three times it takes me to begin to believe it. 

Do you need to hear those words today? Because I will say them to you. 

"Oh, momma, you are doing a good job."

We're in this together, you know. I've never felt more camaraderie, more community in this motherhood gig until it began to drown me. What I'm learning is that the life rafts are all around me, in the form of all the other mothers swimming in this sea. Some are closer to shore than others, but the truth is, no matter where we are in the waters, we all have the ability to save each other from drowning with just a few words. 

Do you need to hear those words today? Because I will say them to you. 

"Oh, momma, you are doing a good job."

And I will say them again, and again, and again. As long as it takes for you to believe it.

"Oh, momma, you are doing a good job."

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