Have you ever thought it funny how traveling has a way of uniting complete strangers? Despite the so-called Mommy Wars waging across the nation, motherhood can have a unifying effect, too. Heidi Smith Luedtke, personality psychologist, writer and author of Detachment Parenting: 33 Ways to Keep Your Cool When Kids Melt Down, explores this phenomenon. Heidi is a sought-after freelance writer, well-travelled military spouse and mom of two, who inspires parents with her no-nonsense, sanity-saving parenting advice and techniques.
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And without further ado, here’s Heidi!
This Thanksgiving week I’ll be flying the friendly skies. And I’m not referring to the airline. Since I became a mom, I’ve come to see travel as an opportunity to be part of the Mom Community. But you won’t hear that on your morning news program.
If you watch (or read) the news, you’re more likely to hear there’s a Mommy War on. We don’t agree about breastfeeding, co-sleeping, working, daycare and discipline. And sometimes we judge each other. Journalists are quick to jump on these disagreements and (I think) paint a more desperate picture than they should.
You see, in my experience, our disagreements are small in comparison to the profound sense of connection we share with each other as moms. After all, when it comes to labor, delivery and the day-in/day-out trials of motherhood, we’ve all “been there and done that.” There are things we know that only other mothers can understand.
I’ve seen this motherly bond in action at playgrounds, amusement parks, and (yes!) in subway stations and airport terminals. In these places – where parents struggle to keep kids entertained, well-fed and reasonably rested – we Moms become one big, extended family.
I’ve shared hand sanitizer, snack foods, and Band-Aids for boo-boos. I’ve passed wet wipes to airsick toddlers and given diapers to parents who realized they ran out. I’ve offered reassuring smiles to moms pacing the airplane aisle with babies whose tiny ears just couldn’t cope with the altitude. And I’ve graciously accepted assistance from parents who offered to carry my double stroller, extra suitcase or Thomas the Tank Engine Carry-On up a flight of stairs or down the jet bridge.
I’m grateful for the opportunities I have to help other mothers and for the blessings I’ve received in return. Being part of a community brings out the best in all of us.
And so, as I head cross-country with two kids under 6, it’s a comfort to know the skies are friendly. Packed in the back of the plane – mostly in the middle seats – are a bunch of other mothers who’ll be happy to help me in any way they can. Because whether we breastfeed, co-sleep, homeschool or hire full-time nannies, we’re all in this together. And for that, I am truly grateful.