That Mom in the Trench Needs Your Help, Not Your Criticism

Struggling mamas are everywhere and they are doing their best. That mom in the trench needs your help, not your criticism and judgement. Let’s create a movement of kindness where women receive support instead of condemnation.

that mom in the trenches needs you help

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen a series of different memes floating around Facebook newsfeeds that have disturbed me greatly. In each of these memes, parents are called “assholes” for various parenting decisions. One meme shamed parents who spank. Another shamed parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids. Another chided parents for not rear facing their child in a car seat until a certain age. Yet another, humiliated parents who choose to tell their kids Santa exists. Every single one of these referred to the parents as “assholes.” Let’s be clear. Just because someone disagrees with your parenting decisions doesn’t make them an “asshole.”

A few days ago I saw a shaming meme that criticized parents who let their kids cry it out. It made them out to be callous, child-abandoning parents for not comforting their child every single time they cry. I don’t know a single parent who does this as a full-time method. You employ it in different situations. And let me be even more frank. Walking away from your child when you are frustrated and exhausted is an important skill. Babies get shaken when parents don’t learn to do that. I will never shame a parent whose safe alternative is to walk away for a while. Some parents have zero help. Some parents have different limits. Be merciful.

Since I’ve been seeing these, I’ve been paying close attention. There is an interesting similarity in all the types of posts I saw like this. Every single one was posted by a woman. Women criticizing women. Women tearing down other women. Women judging other women. It’s rampant. Over the last few months, I’ve slowly left Facebook groups that were once helpful because of the constant arguing and shaming that goes on. Stay-at-home moms criticizing working moms and working moms shaming stay-at-home moms. Vaccines. Special needs. Homeschooling. Allergies. Car seats. Breastfeeding. Discipline. Name the topic and there will be a line of women attacking, vilifying, and humiliating another woman. Please…let’s stop this.

I Was A Perfect Mom Until I Became One

I can recall before I became a mom. I was so arrogant. “My kids would never….!” Fill in the blank. Then I became a mom and my kids did all the things I swore my kids would never do. They had melt downs, talked back, disobeyed, you name it! As I eased into motherhood, I realized parenting isn’t black and white. There are so many variables and moving parts. Once I had my second son, I learned what worked for my first, didn’t work for my second! As a parent, you are constantly having to calibrate your technique and your decisions. We shouldn’t begrudge someone their learning curve. Each of us is doing what we think is best for our children at the time with the knowledge and experience we have at that moment.

Over the last few years I’ve learned I don’t have all the answers. Perhaps more to the point, I’ve learned my choices don’t fit everyone’s life. When did we become so arrogant as to assume there is only one right way to parent? I deeply regret some of the things I’ve said to other moms in the past. Parenthood continues to humble me and parenthood has stretched my compassion of others.

Over the last year, I’ve re-evaluated my conduct when it comes to other moms. My conclusion: I have been a sanctimonious jerk! I took a good hard look at myself and I was disgusted. I had made a habit of shaming what I thought was poor parenting in others. Because, you know…I’m so perfect! It’s been a hard, humbling lesson, but I totally feel like God was correcting me in this area over the last year. I still fail, but I’m making progress.

Life’s Greatest Teacher

I’m going to be completely honest with you, friend. I want you to know, I have a tendency to think too highly of my opinions too. A few years ago, I had some harsh words for my husband’s cousin on a parenting topic. Since then, I have deeply regretted my words. At the time, I felt this parenting method was non-negotiable! I still feel strongly about it. But it is not my place to impose that on someone else. Ultimately everyone is entitled to raise their kids how they want – that includes allowing them to be human and making mistakes with their kids. And I’ve learned that mistakes are often life’s greatest teachers. Far better than any other method of persuasion. Sometimes, people need to learn things on their own…the hard way. Let them.

Remember that old saying, “you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar?” It’s true. People don’t take kindly to judgement or you telling them how to live their life. In fact, most people respond to conflict with a fight or flight defense mechanism. They either get defensive, they shut down, or they run away. Most won’t hear what you are trying to say anyway. Social media has made it very easy to argue with people. It has unleashed a whole new level of venom because you don’ have to look anyone in the eye to tell them what an asshole they are.

Most arguments on social media are completely non-constructive because they lack human-connecting qualities like empathy and compassion. Ask yourself what your goal is. If your goal is to truly persuade someone to your opinion it’s unlikely that will happen by calling them an “asshole” or “ignorant.” People are more likely to take the advice of people they respect.

I am extremely opinionated, but as I’ve grown older I’m realizing how cocky it is to “correct” strangers and acquaintances for everything I feel they are doing “wrong” in their life. Part of being mature is realizing not everything requires your opinion. Restraint (self-control) and humility are beautiful qualities to possess. They inspire others, rather than beating them into submission.

Some People Are Just Surviving

Motherhood has taught me lots of things. But one thing I’ve learned is that lots of moms out there are just barely surviving. Some moms are in a pit of depression and are literally taking one minute at a time. There are new moms who don’t have mamas of their own to guide them through this journey and impart wisdom to them. There are single mamas out there who are stretched thinner than pantyhose. Some women have a husband that doesn’t lift a finger to help. Let me say it again, they don’t need your criticism. The don’t need your sanctimony and condemnation. They need your support.

After the birth of my second son, I was in a very dark place. Like, I was contemplating suicide. My postpartum depression was growing worse everyday. During that time I had a falling out with a good friend. Even after knowing I was suicidal, this “friend” chose to shame and berate me for every perceived wrong I had ever done to her. Her condemnation sent me spiraling out of control. Quite frankly, it pushed me over the edge and almost made me despair. (Don’t worry, we’ve since apologized to each other) We never know what someone is going through behind closed doors. Our harsh criticism, our judgement or condemnation may be the very thing that destroys someone. Let’s extend mercy and grace instead. Give people permission to be human.

If You Must Say It, Say It With Love

A few weeks back, a new mom posted in a local Facebook group for moms with what should have been an innocent question: “When do I stop rear facing my child in the car?” The post had more than 200 responses. Women of all ages and experience chimed in with varied answers.

Now I also believe children should stay rear-facing as long as possible. But the nastiness I saw was just appauling. Several older, experienced moms, suggested turning them around once their legs were too long and scrunched up (by about age three). That was the trigger that made women viciously attack!

There was lots of name-calling. One wrote, “Lies! It doesn’t matter how long their legs are. Your advice could get someone’s kid killed!” Other women piled on, “better broken legs that a dead child! Your advice is ignorant and outdated.” Another woman wrote, “it’s people you like you that are killing children with their ignorance. Stop spreading misinformation.” Now, really. Was that necessary? The same thing could have been said nicely. “I thought that too. You may not have seen, but doctors and safety experts are now recommending to keep your kids rear-facing as long as possible, even if their legs appear to be too long. Here is an article that changed my mind.”

If you feel you must speak up about something, fine. But we don’t need to be nasty to someone because they haven’t learned something yet or because they have arrived at a different conclusion. The rudeness is getting hard to stomach.

Final Thoughts

Life is tough enough for all of us. The world has enough cynics and critics. Be someone’s light in a dark world. I guarantee you that encouragement is far more productive than sanctimony. You can persuade others without badgering them. If you have to choose between being “right” and being kind, choose kindness. You’ll never regret being kind. Golden rule, y’all. It still applies today. That mom in the trench needs your help, not your criticism.


Before you go, be sure to find me on Facebook and share this post with a mama who needs this. Also, are you a mom who is feeling burnt out? Try the 30 Day Wellness Challenge.

How to Make a Restaurant Busy Bag

Has going out to dinner become a nightmare? Here is how to make a restaurant busy bag to tame your toddler while they wait for food.

how to make a restaurant busy bag

I remember when our oldest son was around one. Something changed. Going out to dinner started to get difficult. He knew being at a table meant yummy food was coming. By the time he was 18 months he was really getting cranky at restaurants. So, I came up with something that ended up being a life saver! A restaurant busy bag!

Its a bag filled with the necessary things like bibs, utensils, placemats, etc. Plus it had things to keep my little boys busy while we wait for food. I even kept a couple of snacks in there so in case they were inconsolable, I had something to keep their hunger at bay. Hey, mamas gotta do what mamas gotta do!

The Bag

All you need is carry style bag that has some compartments. A hanging cosmetic bag actually works really well for this purpose. See my examples below.

Items to Add

Here is a list of some of the things I put in our busy bag. You certainly don’t have to copy me. These are just ideas for you.

  • Mini slinky
  • Crayons
  • Coloring book
  • Card Game
  • Little People / Toy Figures
  • Hot Wheels
  • Small dinosaurs
  • Board book
  • Mess Free Color Kits
  • Travel games
  • Bib
  • Disposable Placemats
  • Clorox Wipes / Wet Ones
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Kid Utensils
  • Stain treatment
  • Snacks

I always keep some disposable placemats and bibs in the busy bag. I never understood why some restaurants bought hot plates to the kids. Also if you are like me and you don’t trust the rags they wipe down tables with…then this is for you! I also kept some kids utensils since my little ones struggled with adult sized ones. In addition, I kept some Clorox wipes or Wet Ones to wipe their hands or surfaces. I even kept a couple of stain remover wipes because accidents happen!

The rest is for them to keep their little hands busy. Really as long as it fits, you can bring it with you in the bag.

I always kept this in our car so it was ready to go. It was so nice when my boys no longer whined and fussed at restaurants. Now they have a distraction. Over time, kids will learn how to sit still and patiently wait at a restaurant. But until then, I hope this idea helps you like it helped us.

Thanks for Reading

Don’t forget to PIN this post for later and please subscribe to my blog before you leave! Looking for other things to do with your kids? Take a look at Usborne Magic Painting Christmas Cards and Fun Holidays to Celebrate With Your Kids.

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10 Books to Read as a New Mom

Becoming a new mom can be overwhelming. There are so many questions to answer and problems to solve as you try to find your feet. Here are 10 Books to Read as a New Mom to get your through those tough first years.

This page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of the links I provide, I may receive a small purchase at no cost to you. This helps me offset the costs of this blog. I only recommend things I absolutely love or use myself.


Keeping little humans alive is no joke! Some days just keeping them alive is the best we can do – and that’s okay. So today, I’m sharing 10 Books to read as a new mom. These books brought me peace, answered tough questions and guided me through really difficult circumstances. They helped me understand my little one better and reassured me that I was on the right path. I truly hope they help you as much as they helped me.

1. What To Expect: The First Year

They say children don’t come with an instruction manual. I beg to differ. If ever there was such a thing, this is definitely it. This book was a lifesaver to me. It answered so many of my questions. From nursing, to introducing solids, to sleep regression and illnesses, this was my go-to book. It will save you lots of questions to your mom, doctors, and friends. It’s the best resource for a clueless mom, and girl, we’re all clueless at the beginning of motherhood!

2. The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Harvey Karp M.D. 

This was such a helpful book. Let’s just be real for a second – a crying baby can take a toll on you. If you have a sick, colicky, or reflux baby that cries even more than other babies, it can drive you to a point of frustration you didn’t even know existed. Dr. Karp explains the physiology of a crying baby and introduces 5 methods to soothe your little one. 

3. Baby-Led Weaning, by Gill Rapley

This is a must-have guide when introducing solids to your baby. Feeding baby purees is a relatively modern parenting technique. Before electric blenders, parents did exactly what Rapley suggests, giving your baby cooked, soft whole foods. They learn to have a healthy relationship with food right from the start. Babies also develop fine motor skills by grasping and pinching. This book will show you the no-fuss way of doing it so your baby can join you at the dinner table.

4. The Magic of Motherhood, Ashlee Gadd

Fellow mom blogger Ashlee Gadd from blog Coffee + Crumbs, shares how there is no singular right way to be a mom. In her book, she shares how to find your new identity and how to accept yourself as a mom, faults included. The book, full of both laughter and tears, are honest, vulnerable and I promise you’ll identify with it. Be sure to follow her blog too…you know after My Beautiful Mess, of course!

5. What to Expect: The Second Year

This book is very similar to the What to Expect: The First Year. This book, however, focuses on 12 to 24 month toddler development and it is extremely helpful! It covers everything from picky eaters, to sleeping issues, and how to correct behavioral issues like biting and hitting and of course the big one – potty training. The one thing I really found useful was the chapters dedicated to illness, pain, and allergies. As you know, mamas worry and this answered my “should I worry?” questions.

6. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, Dr. Laura Markham

Can we be honest for a second? As soon as you have to start repeating yourself over and over as a parent, you’ll be tempted to yell. It’s true. We all have moments where our patience is pushed to a point where yelling seems like the only option to make your point. This book, written by a clinical psychologist, gives insightful tips on how to reach your child without resorting to yelling and other bad parenting behavior. The key is to reach your child on an emotional level so there is lasting, not just temporary change. This book really helped our terrible twos! The threes have become a breeze because of this book.

7. The Five Love Languages for Children: The Secret to Loving Your Child Effectively, Gary Chapman

If you’ve ever read the 5 Love Languages which is dedicated to wedded couples, you’re in for a real treat. This book teaches you how to discover your child’s love language. Almost like a decoding manual, it helps you translate the subtle cues and hints that your child sends on how they desire to be loved. I found this book very insightful. It helped me become a more intuitive, gentler parent. Side note: this book is Christian themed, but still powerful in translating emotional behaviors

8. Parenting With Love & Logic, Foster Cline & Jim Fay

One thing I loved about this book is that it teaches you to embrace your mistakes as learning opportunities. The book is designed to foster a life long relationship with your child based on respect, love, empathy and appreciation. It teaches you how to develop a child that is morally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.

9. Latch: A Handbook for Breastfeeding With Confidence At Every Stage, Robin Kaplan

Breastfeeding can be a huge stressor when you first have a baby. It seems like the most natural things in the world, yet most nursing mothers will tell you it takes a while for both you and baby to get the hang of it. This no-judgement manual, is great to help you with nursing and nursing problems at every milestone. Written by an experienced lactation consultant, it’s like having her bedside all the time. A must read book for nursing moms!

10. Potty Training in 3 Days, Brandi Brucks

If you are struggling to potty train or simply have no idea where to start, I highly recommend this book. The book shares practical advice and steps on how to ditch diapers and get your little one interested in using the potty. The results speak for themselves. Many parents swear by the results and credit their success to this book.


I sincerely hope that this post, 10 Books to Read as a New Mom, helps you navigate those early years. Hang in there. You’re doing a great job mama. Remember, this is just advice. Ultimately, you’ll find your own way through motherhood. If you’re looking for other book lists, read the post 10 Books That Will Strengthen Your Marriage.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear about books that have changed your motherhood experience!