Updated: May 9, 2020
The day I was inducted into the mom club didn't feel like I thought it would. I thought something magical would occur the day my oldest was born. All knowledge and motherly wisdom would fly into my brain as I held him in my arms for the first time. Those "eyes in the back of my head" would appear. I'd embrace the power of mom jeans and sensible shoes. And I'd finally know how to fold a fitted sheet. Yet, out popped Aiden and I was the same me.
I learned the art of mothering over time. It's taken years to gain mom knowledge and I'm still learning and growing. However, one wonderful thing DID happen the day my oldest was born. I suddenly became a part of a community of mothers that transcended age, race and ethnic backgrounds, language, religious or political leanings, and socioeconomic status. Suddenly I became part of a pack of women that are for each other because despite all our differences, we have one thing in common: the tiny humans we love.
This was never more clear to me than one Sunday during church when we lived in Cote d'Ivoire. We were brand new in country and I spoke basically zero French at the time. My favorite phrase was "Desole! Je ne parle pas Francais." Which means "I'm sorry! I don't speak French." I used this phrase A LOT. Church was going long that day... as it did most Sundays and little Aiden who was only 13 months old at the time was not interested in sitting still. I ventured outside to the courtyard and found that many other mothers and their small children had done the same. Before I let Aiden run around I needed to change his poopy diaper. A delightful aspect about Cote d'Ivoire is that there are no changing tables. It's your lap or the ground. I sat down awkwardly next to a few moms who were talking. They attempted to speak to me, but I just smiled stupidly and whipped out my favorite phrase. They smiled sympathetically and went about their conversation as I tried to wrestle my 13 month old into submission on my lap. I don't know if you've ever tried to change a child over the age of one on your lap, but it isn't easy and in this instance it was not going well. I was dropping diapers and wipes while trying to keep Aiden still enough to wipe his butt. Without hesitation the moms next to me immediately jumped into action and helped me finish his diaper change. No words were exchanged except the one other French phrase I knew at the time: "merci beaucoup." Thank you.
In that moment right there it dawned on me: there is a code among moms and it doesn't matter who you are, what country you live in, or language you speak, or even how these kids came to be yours. When you become a mom through childbirth, adoption, fostering, etc. you stick up for other moms because this mom gig is hard and we weren't meant to do it alone. We need help. We need each other. And that is why we abide by the mom code.
Mom code is celebrating with your friend the moment the test reads positive because every life, no matter how short, is precious and meaningful.
Mom code is listening to all their irrational fears that come in pregnancy and talking them down from the WebMD ledge. It's pulling them out of the Google rabbit hole.
Mom code is telling them their newborn is perfect and beautiful even if they look like a squashy alien.
Mom code is bringing dinner... and copious amounts of dessert in the first few weeks at home.
Mom code is bringing her favorite things and telling her she's not crazy because she can't stop crying.
Mom code is snapping this photo because you know that someday she'll look back and be so grateful for this perfect, perfect moment (even though she felt like a steaming hot mess at the time.)
Mom code is responding to her 2 AM text because you're up nursing your baby too.
Mom code is praying for her when the long nights and frequent wakings seem like too much.
Mom code is letting her vent and saying "me too." It's reminding her that it won't last forever and that she CAN do this.
Mom code is holding your grand-baby in the middle of the night so she can sleep just a little bit longer.
It's doing whatever it takes to be there for her when she needs you most, like moving 2,000 miles cross country.
Mom code is caring for her kids when they move AGAIN so she can actually unpack.
Mom code is picking up her favorite coffee drink on the way to her house.
Mom code is sitting at the doctors office for hours upon hours with her so you can translate for her with her limited language skills.
It's sleepovers when your husbands travel and keeping each other sane as you solo parent.
It's accountability and honesty and being there in the mundane day to day life.
It is friendship, laughter, and sneaking away for crunchy Thai salads and macaroons.
Mom code is giving her an extra blanket on the airplane and holding her baby so she can eat her dinner or go to the bathroom.
It's offering to carry her bag because her toddler is asleep in her arms.
Mom code is watching her kiddos so she can participate in a work meeting in peace.
It's dropping your plans and going to the park with her on that fluke 65 degree day in the dead of winter.
It's letting her come over when she just needs to get out of her house.
Mom code is mourning together when the suffering of life knocks her down.
Mom code is sharing the wealth when it comes to activities, play ideas, and recipes. It's telling her all about the best clothing sales, your favorite mom products, and good books.
Mom code is sitting down and sharing coffee after your kids are long past grown. It's sharing your wisdom and all the things you learned along the way. It's reminding her that she can't rely on being a "good" parent; God is in control.
Mom code is leaving Easter eggs, coffee, and cookies in her yard when COVID cancels Easter services.
It's surprises for your kids in the mail and countdown calendars.
Mom code is checking in after she's shared something really hard in a text or at Bible study.
Mom code is passing along your kids' clothes and shoes.
Mom code is telling her when you think she looks pretty because chances are she needs to hear it.
Mom code is GIFs and Marco Polo and hitting that "love" button on all the photos she sends of her kids.
Mom code is embracing your differences. It is free of judgement and criticism because you know she's doing the best she can just like you. It's giving grace and speaking the truth in love. It's helping her see her blind spots and cheering on her on to grow into the best mother she can be.
This has been my life. Almost 5 years of women supporting me in different seasons and places around the globe. Holding me up, linking arms, carrying my burdens. An army of moms that have been the hands of Jesus to me in dark moments. I have experienced every kind act mentioned here and surely a million more I've already forgotten.... because you know, mom brain is real.
Mom code is all the little things that give us the strength to keep going. To wake up again and again, to keep loving, to keep giving. We weren't meant to do it alone and so God gave us each other. So cheers to all the mommas out there; the ones with babies on earth and in heaven.
Happy Mother's Day. THANK YOU for living out the mom code.