The other day, I was shopping out at our local grocery store. As I was picking out produce, six feet apart from other shoppers and slightly sweaty behind my mask, a t-shirt hanging off to the side caught my eye.
“I’m sorry for what I said during quarantine,” it read.
I chuckled, feeling a little guilty, because of course the saying hitting a little too close to home.
You see, in February, just before the pandemic hit, our third child was born. So, on top of the stress and changes resulting from the pandemic, we were learning to balance a new season of life without any family nearby. The combination of it all resulted in this somewhat precarious situation of “simply surviving.” Family would call to check in, and I’d repeat the same answer, “Yea, we’re just kinda hanging in there.”
The problem with this “survival” attitude was that it compounded when I hopped on social media to scroll through everyone’s latest updates. Viewing the lives of others through the lens of solely filters and highlights, I found myself quickly and repeatedly falling into the comparison game more than I had ever before.
I’d make assumptions that others had it “easier” to be quarantined, for any variety of reasons…a bigger home, living close to family, having all easy-going children with good-natured temperaments, etc…It looked like others were having it “easier” when in reality they probably didn’t. The truth is we all have different blessings and different struggles—even if we don’t “see” them on social media.
I’m admitting this, definitely more than a little ashamed (and acknowledging that this is clearly an area of myself I need to work more on). But also, partly because I’ve noticed, from having talked to a lot of moms, that this is a fairly common struggle. And much of what we read online doesn’t help. So much of it only encourages division, which then impacts how we treat each other.
Judgment and criticism has become the “norm,” making it nearly impossible to work together constructively. Instead of seeking solutions to problems in a united way, we finger point and write each other off for holding views that are different than ours —listening and trying to find common ground seems almost impossible
As a nation founded on Christian principles, I believe we are both capable of and responsible for doing better. And from a personal standpoint, I know I am too.
Now more than ever before, our society is in desperate need of one particular thing: an increase in charity. (And no, I’m not talking about the “donating type” of charity, although that’s great too!) I mean, literally, an increase in love—kindness, hospitality, civility, dignity, and forgiveness.
Maybe this sounds a bit cliche. But really, that’s the root of the issue here. If we were more grounded in charity—things like charitable discussion and concern for our neighbor’s well being would be primary (not secondary) concerns, and the narrative to our recent crises would likely sound much different.
But, as stressful as things are right now, it’s not all bad news.
Because times like these are often exactly the push we need to become stronger and better people ourselves. Difficult times force us to shift our priorities, and broaden our perspective. Without them, we won’t grow.
Pope Francis once said that, “Mothers are an antidote to the spread of a certain self-centeredness, a decline in openness, generosity and concern for others.” This is precisely why society needs us—as mothers, as the hearts of our families—now more than ever.
We want to dig into this topic and share how we can encourage charity in our homes — because we believe it’s essential to our world today, and that change in our world starts with us.
And so, as a community of everyday mamas, we are centering our content this fall on the topic of charity.
In August, September, and October, we’ll be exploring all of our content through the lens of charity. How can we, as mothers, encourage each other in our own growth in this area? How can we live this out within our own families? How can we advocate for our families, disagree with those we love, stand up for what is true and right, and do all of it in love?
Anna Liesemeyer, mother of 6, recently wrote:
“Right now, everyone is fighting a battle. Some more difficult than others. [But] It seems that we are losing the ability to disagree without projecting anger or hurt on others…right now, more than ever we need the ability to listen to each other. We don’t have to agree. There can be discussion and conversation without harsh judgement and pointing fingers. When someone thinks differently, it can be a challenge to put yourself in their shoes, but we should at least try! Without this, it will be impossible to grow as human beings, as a family, as a country, as a world.”
Making the world a better place is going to start with us. In our homes. In our day-to-day example. By shifting our perspective. And making the effort to work on the things that we need to work on (i.e. me, with the comparison game). Our little ones will learn from our example, little by little, day by day. It’s going to be through our daily efforts, in the quietness of our homes, that the world will become a better, more loving place.
We’d like to invite you to join us as we explore this topic of charity together in our Everyday Mamas content this fall. We’d love to hear your perspective on how you’re encouraging charity (kindness/hospitality/civility/dignity and forgiveness) to grow in your home, your relationships, conversations, parenting, interaction with society, and in your personal role as a mother. Please visit our write for us page for information on how to submit a story or musing that you’d like to share!