A few weeks ago I found myself alone in my car driving out of town to a baby shower. I was tuned into a podcast where the women were talking about the importance of making mommy friends. One of the women had commented that the way she found most successful to make friends, was complimenting other women. I wholeheartedly agree with this idea but it really got me thinking about a challenge I’d set forth for myself this past year. It’s pretty simple: If I see beauty, speak it, PARTICULARLY when it comes to other women and mothers.
As moms we’re always pouring ourselves into other people. From the moment our eyes open to the second we drift off to sleep, we’re running through to-do lists, checklists, and plans for family members and the days ahead. It’s easy to forget about ourselves or put ourselves last. So when I see something as simple as a pretty-colored top on the cashier at the grocery store or a great diaper bag another mom at the library is carrying, I tell them.
As I was driving to this out-of-town baby shower I was reminded of this idea and its importance. An hour or so later I found myself on the patio of my girlfriend’s home visiting with some old friends as well as meeting some new women. A gal I hadn’t ever met came out and joined our little group. She was a very pretty young mom wearing a long patterned sundress that I immediately thought how much I liked. When there was a pause in conversation I looked at her and told her how much I loved her dress. The moment I paid her that compliment, she paused, looked at me, and LIT UP. She absolutely lit up and thanked me profusely.
Then she said, “Can I tell you something kind of funny?”
At this point she had the attention of all the women gathered there.
She continued, “I’ve never worn this dress before. I’ve had it for a while but never actually worn it. Obviously I’m not the thinnest girl in the world and I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. Well, today when I got dressed, my husband asked me if this was what I was going to wear, and I told him ‘Yes, and we’re already running late so if you’re going to say something not nice about it, just DON’T. Because I haven’t got time to change.’ “
“‘Okay,’ he said. ‘But you should know it makes you look really wide from the back!’”
All the women standing there’s eye got wide and everyone let out a howls of laughter. “He said WHAT?” All the ladies erupted into laughs about what an awful remark for him to make, but everyone also started reassuring her how great she looked. And she did. She looked great in that dress.
She looked at me, her expression softened further and she thanked me: “Thank you so much for saying that. You seriously made my day. You have no idea.”
This whole ‘If you see beauty, speak it’ thing has been fun, but it’s also made for some slightly awkward situations. I’ve found myself complimenting another women’s toenail polish, one woman’s teeth, someone else’s infectious laughter, even the way one momma diffused a situation with her ornery melting-down toddler. It’s certainly made interesting conversations. But I’ll tell you what: I have never once regretted paying someone a compliment, no matter how mainstream or offbeat the compliment. Not once have I walked away and thought: “Boy, I sure wish I’d kept my mouth shut and not told her I admired XYZ about her!”
So let’s be Yay Girls. Hooray Girls. Girls who see beauty & say it girls. A tribe of women who compliment and praise one another. Let’s see the beauty in other mommas and go the extra mile to tell them about it. I promise it’ll make their day better, and probably your own, as well.