Living a Kind Life: The Millennial Series
It’s been a week since my last post. All I can say is…I needed some downtime. Besides the blog, my own crafting hobbies, and caring for my home; my sister and I are launching a preschool, my daughter caught a nasty virus and my hubby has been working almost 24/7. This mama was TIRED. So, I just needed a week where I put a few things on hold until life came into a bit more order. I’m not sure if we’ve reached that (or if we’ll ever reach it) but I wanted to get back to writing.
In today’s post, it’s time we talk about something important. Kindness. If you’ve read my intro post to the Millennial Series (if not you can find it here) you know over the next few weeks I’m going to talk about topics I think are incredibly important for the Millennial mama; specifically, what it looks like to live a kind life, a grateful life, and a giving life. Why these three you ask?
You’ll need to stick around and read about each one (there are no Cliff Notes available, put in the work!) These are areas of my life I feel encapsulate what is important to my family and where our values lie. You might find them to be the same for your family or, you may find your own that work better. There isn’t a one size fits all kind of thing going on here. But even if you don’t feel they are the three foundational values of your home, I think we can all agree they are important character traits to instill in the little lives that look up to us. So here is week one, Living a Kind Life.
Some might look at this week and think “Duh, common sense.” But ladies, it’s not. It’s not for me and I know it’s not for you (if you say otherwise you’re lying). Kindness is something we need to work at, be aware of and strive for. We don’t naturally wake up in the morning think about all the ways we can show kindness to the husband who left his dirty clothes on the floor and his shoes where you would trip over them (again). We don’t naturally think how we can demonstrate kindness to the tiny dictator who has inhabited our toddler and one moment asks for toast and the next screams bloody murder for producing the toast in an offending way.
And most of all, we don’t think about offering kindness when a mom we know makes a mistake and posts a picture of her playing catch with her son with his younger sibling strapped to her front.
So what does this mean?
I know in my post about Surviving Motherhood in a Media Culture (which you can find here) I talk about unplugging and the benefits living a lifestyle free from Social Media can offer. But don’t make the mistake of assuming I despise all forms of online communication. In fact, I love Facebook and Instagram and find them wonderful tools for keeping in touch with my family and feeling like a part of their lives even though distance separates us.
But for all the good Social Media can offer, it can also entice us into a seat of judgment against each other. I can’t tell you how many stories I read online of young moms posting photos meant to celebrate family and motherhood, only to find women commenting on everything from the safety of the child to the health of the mother based on the perceived weight! Ladies, take a breath!! Don’t we already sit in enough judgement from ourselves?
We all make mistakes.
We all do things we wished we hadn’t.
We all spend most of motherhood stumbling around in the dark trying to do the best we can to not screw our kids up. So, when we see another mother online who’s making a mistake, lets pause and think for a minute…is it really our job to speak judgment over a situation we know nothing about? I think not.
Practical Ways to Show Kindness
No one will understand what it is like to be a mother better than another mother. There are struggles and emotions completely unique to birthing and raising a child. We can’t afford to alienate one another, not when we need the encouragement and comradery (is this a word…??) that only another mother can offer. We should be each other’s biggest cheerleaders! The best way to do this, living a life of kindness. What does that look like for the Millennial mama? Below you’ll find a brief list of how we can model a life of kindness that our tech savvy children can learn from and appreciate.
Encourage- spend more time leaving posts of encouragement.
Put it into practice:
Find 3 mamas on your Facebook, Instagram etc. and leave them a note of encouragement. It can be as simple as saying…”Hey! I love the way you did your hair today. It’s super flattering.”
Don’t be a one upsman- Sometimes, mama’s use the internet to share difficult situations in their lives. Respect that act of courage and don’t leave a comment talking about your own situation, how it was more difficult/better/funnier etc. Let’s learn to acknowledge someone else’s experience before (and sometimes instead of) demanding recognition for our own.
put it into practice:
Next time a mama friend shares online, DON’T respond with details from your own life (unless it’s specifically solicited). Instead, acknowledge your mama friend’s experience or even congratulate them on their bravery for sharing.
ignore the haters- This one can be so hard to do! But if our goal is to spread more kindness and less negativity than it’s important we don’t get into it with someone online. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, even if it’s an opinion we don’t agree with or appreciate its delivery. We can only control our own reactions. From experience, it does no good engaging someone in an online debate.
Put it into practice:
Someone leave a poor comment? Take a breath and remember their opinion doesn’t belittle your experience or define who you are. Remember what you are doing as a mom is enough.
There are so many challenges we face as mothers our parents never had to deal with, and there will be challenges our children will deal with as parents we know nothing about. No matter what generation we fall into though, living a kind life is something that will never change. This has become a priority for my family and something my husband and I strive to demonstrate to our own little girl daily.