I've been thinking about bravery since talking with a mom whose daughter is heading to daycare for the first time soon. Elisabeth will go to her own little school in the Fall. This mom and I talked about how hard it was to let the little ones go. Go, anywhere really. It doesn't matter the exact location but as we talked about it, I realized that letting them go, even if just for the morning, we were being brave.
But we're brave all the time, aren't we? Each moment we take a small risk, we are brave. It could be the risk of offering nuts to your baby for the first time or going to a new park. It could be preparing a snack that he's never had before, switching to a different kind of laundry detergent, weeding old toys to make room for new or deciding on a pediatrician. It could be calling the pediatrician. Every day in every risk, large and small, moms are being brave. And it gets tougher: with each risk we as moms take, there is a greater chance that someone will call us out on it, judge us, shame us or look away. But we just keep on exercising that bravery muscle and in doing so risk...well, everything, right? We risk failing, isolation, scorn. But we moms do it anyway.
Think about that.
And here's the thing about being brave: it's contagious. Our actions don't exist in a bubble. We moms live a public existence. Regardless of whether or not we work outside the home, we are the frequent grocery shoppers, doctors' appointment keepers, book buyers and Music Together singers. We are the swim lesson parents, the daycare sleuthers and the minivan drivers. The public, as well as our own children, notice when we do something brave. There's a ripple effect even if your brave action isn't verbally acknowledged. What you do is noticed and noted, even if subconsciously. Mom bravery spreads to others and inspires.
Reading about Dutchess Kate recently, the inevitable comparisons were drawn to mothering and the late Princess Diana. I was reminded of how much I had always loved Princess Diana: those amazing hate, her kindness to everyone and generosity to charitable causes. What I didn't realize was what a fierce advocate Diana was for herself as a mother and her children in ways that constantly bucked tradition. She was a brave risk taker! William was the first heir to be in a hospital, for example. Diana was also reportedly the first royal mother to breastfeed her children. She kept her children close and was a very hands-on mother, always hugging and kissing them. Instead of leaving William at home while she traveled, as had always been the norm, Diana brought him, at 9 months, on a trip to Australia. There are numerous examples like this, of Princess Diana's constant brave risk taking as mother. Diana's risk taking as a mom not only endeared her even more to the world but helped smooth the mothering road for future royal moms, like Kate. Yet one more gain that can happen when we are brave as a mom.
Okay, moms, what have you risked recently? What brave act have you committed? Brag a little. Your actions may be just what another mom needs to act brave too.