The Strong Like Mom campaign has gained traction with Target’s shirts for kids that quote “Strong Like Mom.”This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our disclosure statement.
I fell in love with these shirts the moment I laid eyes on them. I immediately rushed to my local Target and they were gone in the sizes I needed! Luckily I can still get them online.
But I love the message. I want my children to see me as a strong, confident woman who is willing to fight for what she believes in.
Then again, it’s my generation. I am a millennial and I’m okay with it. Sure we’re a generation of laziness (I work in my pajamas … at very early morning hours so I can get everything done and not work while my kids are awake and at home) but we are also a strong generation.
Recently a mother figure to me decided to call out all of my flaws. Yes, it was a very long 30-45 minute lecture about how many faults I have. It was attacking and I had no idea it was coming. Sadly, it all started out with an eye roll. You read it right. An eye roll. And it wasn’t even me who rolled my eyes!
She rolled her eyes at me in front of my kids and husband in my home and when I see someone do something blatantly rude like that, yes, I’m going to call them out on it. Plus she did it in front of my kids, directed at what I had said, and I didn’t appreciate the attitude in my home. She, however, didn’t like that I said something in front of my family about the eye roll. She didn’t like that I stood up for myself.
So here’s the thing. I was born in the 1980s. Unlike what she must think, I was not born decades ago when women were expected to be quiet and submissive. I was born at a time when change was happening and we are ready for more change, especially when it comes to women’s roles in society. No longer are we expected to stay home with the kids, have dinner ready on the table, and a clean house for when the husband walks in the door from work, ready to heed his every need. I mean, sure, I’d like to be that good but it’s just not as possible.
My husband would never walk in the door after work and ask me where dinner is if it’s not sitting on the table and would never expect me to keep the kids away from him while he rested from work. Yet this is the era that I feel like this mother figure thought we still lived in.
She mentioned to me that I shouldn’t say everything that comes to my head (which I don’t, if I did, she would have heard a lot more backlash from me) and that I need to hint more.
That’s right. I need to HINT more. Instead of saying what I want, I should dance around the subject and then hope that I get what I want. So instead of asking my kids to do their homework, I guess I should say something like, “How was school? Did anything happen at school? Did you bring anything home from school?” Is that indirect enough?!
She said that I should never bring up something that is between two people in front of other people or talk to them about it. Wait, so when my child gets bullied in school, they should just work it out, right? No need to bring in anyone else into the conversation. (And by the way, she totally talked to other people about the situation yet I was to keep my mouth shut?!)
She said I’m not respectful and then went on and on about all of these specific times in the last few months that I haven’t been respectful, like the times I included her as part of the family/kids and asked her to abide by our house rules as she was living in our home.
I try my best not to treat my kids any different than I would treat any other friend or family member of mine because they are not that different. They deserve respect. I may have to tell them things multiple times and be that parent figure, but when it comes to respect, everyone is treated the same. But she wanted to be treated above that because for some reason she thinks she’s above my own children.
She said I was disrespectful because I responded to some things like I would my children. For example, we have a no shoe policy in our house, yet she would ask if she could walk through our house with her shoes on to grab something real quick. My response? “If you think that’s a good idea, I guess you should do it.” The same response I would have for my children. If after this long of knowing the rules and you still have to ask, then I guess you better just decide for yourself because you know our rules. I was also disrespectful because I included her with my family to make sure everyone washed their hands before eating because when I get sick, I get really sick and it lingers for weeks. So yes, I am going to ask you to wash your hands in my home before we eat and I am going to make sure you have washed your hands. (Funny enough, she was sick the day this all happened and guess who was sick a day later. Me. And guess who is still sick after almost 2 weeks. Me. So sick I don’t even sleep well at night.)
The whole conversation was a nightmare. No one should have to listen to all of their “flaws” which were determined by one person. No one should ever have to feel like they need to defend their every move and thought, especially when you invited this person to live with you in your home. No one should ever have to feel as degraded and shamed because of the way they are. No one should ever have to leave a conversation feeling as they are left with no self esteem and feel like they need to question who they are.
Okay, obviously I could go on and on about all of these things I do wrong and the conversation but when it comes down to it, the bottom line is that I have to be strong for my children. I have to be strong so I can set that good example for them so they can grow up strong.
(If you’re curious though, I didn’t fight back with ugly words to her about everything she does wrong. I also refused to let her continue living in my home.)
She called me unkind, uncivil, and went on and on about how I’m disrespectful. I want my children to know that is never okay to do that to someone, especially someone you care about. Calling people names is a bully thing to do and I will not raise bullies.
It is never okay to be submissive to bullying. It is never okay to be walked on because there’s nothing else you can do about it.
It is never okay to let people try to demean you and ruin your self esteem. That should never, ever happen, especially in your own home.
You should never have to defend who you are to someone, especially someone who wants to pick a part everything you do wrong.
Your home should be a safe place. The people you surround yourself should always be uplifting. If this is not happening, something is wrong.
I want my children to know that they can speak up and say what they believe. I want my children to know that they should never have to hint to get what they want in life – if they want it, go for it! I want my children to know that in their house, they can set their own rules and expect people to live to that high standard. And most importantly, I want my children to know that they should be able to speak up and talk to people about things that need to be talked about without either side putting the other one down.
I want my children to see that I am strong. I want my children to know that I am willing to stand up for myself. I want my children to understand that I will not allow someone in my life to bully me into thinking I am less because of who I am.
I want my children to know that I am proud of who I am. I want my children to know that I only say things I mean and I mean everything I say. I want my children to see a strong, confident woman and not just see me as one but know that I am one. I want my children to know that no one could ever pull me down to their level. I want my children to know that they are respected and that everyone should treat them as such.
Most importantly, I want my children to know that they are strong. They can move mountains. They can cross seas. All they have to do is believe in themselves and not let anyone else persuade them otherwise.