I recently spent an hour in a room of other mothers while the dads looked after our kids. We shared our trials and triumphs and I came away revived.
We were a diverse bunch. Some worked outside the home and some were at home full-time. Some lived in large homes, and some chose small living. Some sent their kids to private school, others believed in public education, and some homeschooled. The list of differences could go on.
I wondered why it was so encouraging to be with these women when each of our lives looked so very different.
My husband put it this way: “It’s encouraging to be with other fathers who think deeply about family life.”
One Passion. Different Paths.
Each woman thought deeply about her role in shaping her family and the passion and care for family life was palpable, even though many of us were overwhelmed.
Each took her choices seriously, but none pushed her solutions on others. We were there to share and support.
I’m proud of how I organize kids’ clothes, mostly because it used to be a disaster that resulted in half-day sorting sessions that left me exhausted and low on patience.
Now each of the kids has one drawer for clothes and one hook by the door for jackets. The clothes that aren’t in current use are organized by type in drawers in our bedroom. When a child outgrows a pair of pants I return it to the pant drawer and pull out the next-larger pair.
I’m proud of my system for kids’ clothes, but I’m aware that it’s not universally applicable.
I know a mother who receives lots of clothes from relatives. She uses the new clothes for a while then passes them on to a good home.
My minimalistic clothing solution would be unnecessarily stressful to her, as she would have to decide how to pare down and risk offending relatives by asking them not to buy so many clothes.
We all have to organize kid clothes, but each of our situations calls for a different solution.
That seems obvious, but how often have you felt guilty that you don’t do something the way another mother does because it works so elegantly for her?
How often have others pushed their solutions on you, when you knew it wouldn’t be right for your family?
Advice is usually well-meant, but often it undermines rather than supports our work as mothers.
We All Need Support
At our mommy-meeting a normally confident and care-free mother was shaken by an experience where a friend had pushed a particular solution hard on her. She polled the other mothers to see if she was alone in her conviction. Each mother had a different take on the topic, but all agreed she shouldn’t feel guilty about sticking with what works for her family.
At Blue Ocean Families I want to strike the balance of sharing specific solutions that might be helpful while at the same time emphasizing that no solution fits everyone.
Each family is the best judge of what works for them.
My hope for this blog is that it is a place where parents can share their solutions and thoughts while respecting the fact that the solutions and thoughts of others will be vastly different.
Even confident mothers can be shaken when they take the road less traveled.
Here we can encourage each other to be strong in our family journeys and be inspired by the variety of solutions!