I’m very new in the U.S. I came here last year from the Philippines to be with and marry the love of my life. We’d been in a long-distance relationship for a year, and it was tough; we’d have to work through our busy schedules to see each other again, and work with different time zones to talk to each other. While we made it work, it was really difficult.
So, I moved to the U.S. My feelings about moving here were very mixed. I’d never been away from my family and friends for long periods of time, and these are people I grew up and spent my whole life with. But, being with my best friend, my husband, and creating more memories with him makes up for the occasional feeling of homesickness.
So, everything is new to me – weather, culture; everything.
One time, we were in Home Depot and my son started to get really fussy. I tried to cradle him, but to no avail. My husband was in the midst of putting the things we bought in our Jeep. I was standing near the exit area, trying to look composed, even when I was already feeling helpless. There was this mom nearby who kept on staring at me. Then gave me unhelpful, unsolicited advice on what to do. “You should take him out of the car seat” -which I already did. “You should do what I’m doing” -basically walking the baby back and forth – which is something I’d already done. And she didn’t stop. She kept coming back, telling me what to do, even though I already tried everything she had suggested. I felt so embarrassed. I was a new mom and in that moment, I felt like I was doing a horrible job.
Another mom saw what was happening… and she just gave me these simple words:
It will get better.
I don’t know why, but at that moment, the smile and those kind words comforted me. It felt like a warm embrace. As a new mom in a foreign country, there are times when I feel like I’m not capable enough. Like everything’s very new to me. Back in my home country, we usually have a ‘team’ to help you get through the transition – mom, aunts, female cousins, etc. It’s like a whole village raising a kid. My husband does a really good job in helping me out, but I think on the initial stages, I felt so lost without the guidance of my female family members.
Since then, I promised myself that, if I ever came across a struggling mom, I wouldn’t tell her what to do; I would offer simple, kind words instead. Being a mom is challenging, and, at times, when we feel like we’re not being the best for our kid, all we need to hear are comforting, reassuring words.
It will get better.
I’m still adjusting to how people communicate here, so it can be tricky knowing how to approach people. I try to be really nice to the moms I meet, especially when they express concerns to their kids’ development. For example, I met a mother in the park. Her child was close to my son’s age. She asked me if my son is already teething and I said yes. She expressed her concern of her daughter not having a tooth yet. I put myself in her shoes- what would be the most comforting words to hear at this point? I just told her with a smile that every kid develops certain skills at different paces. Something I had learned while attending nursing school.
This seemingly small act of kindness just goes to show that every good deed has a profound effect. To the woman who gave me hope and encouragement:
Hi there! Too bad I didn’t get your name, but want you to know that your comforting words and smile that day made a big difference. Thank you!