Not too long ago I was in line for coffee and I started talking to the lady ahead of me. (Remember, I’m from the South – we tend to talk to strangers.) So, I’m having a little chat with this woman and because we’re both mothers, we started talking about our children. She asked where my kids go to school and my simple answer sent our conversation on a downward spiral. Where do my kids go to school?
I homeschool our kids.
I homeschool our kids. That’s all I said, and that’s all it took for this lady to start putting herself down for being a working mother and for putting her kids in day care. She obviously felt judged by me. Why? I can only assume she’s had conversations with other stay-at-home moms who made her feel like less of a mother.
The interesting thing is, that I immediately started putting myself down for not being a working mother. I felt judged by her. Why? Because I’ve had plenty of conversations with working mothers who have made me feel like less of a woman.
Last month, I attended a Beth Moore conference in Indiana. I sat in an arena with 11,000 other women ,and what question do you think Beth Moore took the time to ask us ALL?
“What would happen if we started building each other up instead of tearing each other down?”
I wasn’t in a room full of stay-at-home moms. I wasn’t in a room full of working moms. I was in a room full of WOMEN. Regardless of our age, our marital status or our occupation, we ALL needed to be asked that question. And, I’ll be honest; it cut me to the bone. Because, I know that I’ve been one of those stay-at-home moms who have made working mothers feel like they don’t love their children as much as I do.
I know I’ve done that…I confess that to you today. And, if you’re one of the working mothers that I’ve offended, I sincerely ask for your forgiveness.
Let me take you back to the lady in line for coffee. As we both stood there, tearing ourselves down before the other could do it for us, I realized what was happening. I thought to myself, “Is this what we’ve come to? Have we become so used to being torn down by women who are different than us, that we just start tearing ourselves down to save them the time? What is wrong with us?”
Beth Moore’s sassy southern voice rang in my head. “What if we spent our time building each other up instead of tearing each other down?”
So, there it was, the moment of truth. I did something that is so, so easy to do…I smiled. Then, through my smile I said, “Don’t apologize for being a working mother. I’m sure your income is a real blessing to your family.”
There was a moment of awkward silence and then it happened…she smiled back. And through her smile, she said, “Thank you. I’m sure your family makes a lot of sacrifices for you to stay home. And homeschooling can’t be easy.”
And that was that…we took our coffees and went our separate ways. But, we went our separate ways with smiles on our faces, feeling encouraged, feeling recognized…not torn down.
Beth Moore gave us a challenge that day in Indiana. She told us to look around…there were 11,000 women in that room…if you counted the ladies watching on the simulcast, there were 900,000 ladies hearing the same message. Her challenge was this: It starts with us, change starts here. Imagine the impact we could have on our culture if all 900,000 of us ladies made the decision to build each another up instead of tear each other down.
I know there aren’t that many women reading this…but for those of you who are…I pass this challenge on to you. The next time you find yourself in conversation with someone who does something different than you, smile, don’t furrow your brow. Build them up; don’t tear them down.
Whether you stay at home, work, home school, public school, eat organic, eat fast food, deliver naturally or ask for drugs, whether you eat whole grain or prefer bleached white, whether you nurse or bottle feed, whether you made your own baby food or bought it in a jar, whether you’re conservative or liberal, whether or not you believe in God…I know you love your children. We have that much in common, so we can share a smile and kind words over coffee any day!