This blog is a tribute to a man I spoke to once. It is a tribute to a man that I actually labeled as “stranger danger” when I spotted him at the park. Thank you to this stranger, for encouraging this mama in ways I desperately needed. I hope by sharing this story it will motivate us to support one another and encourage mamas during our day. We all need it.
I am a whole 7 weeks postpartum with our twin boys. It felt like my family had exploded from a sweet and simple party of 3 to an out of control, chaotic party of 5. My three-year-old daughter has been begging for me to take her to the park for weeks. Today was the day that I said “yes” and refused to give her another excuse.
Navigating all of my littles at the park is complicated. I brought a sandwich for myself, because… well, breastfeeding twins is no joke. I also needed to watch the clock because… well, breastfeeding newborn twins leaves little free time. All obstacles and anxiety aside, we made it. I pushed the stroller around and checked on the babies. I pushed my three-year-old on the swing and tried to take bites of my sandwich in between.
That is when I noticed him.
A man sitting alone at a nearby picnic table, watching me. It set off all the “stranger danger” alarms. I noticed a lanyard around his neck and thought perhaps he was on lunch break but took note to keep a close eye. I put him in the back of my mind and we continued playing. My daughter was climbing on the gym equipment when I noticed him approach me. I put my sandwich away, and immediately prepared a mental exit plan. I had three to protect now. This mama is so outnumbered. Cue the armpit sweat.
It became clear he was walking directly to me, so I switched from avoid mode, to “look him in the face” and be prepared to fight mode. Then I heard him say, “I just wanted to come over here to tell you that you are doing an awesome job.”
I was completely shocked.
He said, “I just noticed how attentive you were with your daughter and I just wanted to come tell you that you are doing a great job.” Me? I was completely surprised. One word stood out to me: attentive. I got tears in my eyes. If any mama out there has welcomed a second child, or in my case second and third, you worry about not being attentive, or present with your first. His words validated all the work that went into that 20-minute park visit. He spoke directly to my biggest insecurity. He encouraged my mama heart in ways he didn’t understand.
The Takeaway: Speak Up & Encourage a Mama!
The interaction with this man at the park was so little but so powerful to my journey postpartum. I will remember that conversation at the park for my entire life. Why don’t we all take that extra 3 minutes to share a word of encouragement with a mama? I know I often talk myself out of speaking up because I think that the mom is too busy or will be annoyed. Well, let me say, I was ready to mama bear fight this man at the park, and I am so thankful for that interaction.
Saying something encouraging to a mama can go a long way. You won’t bother her. You are her.