Yesterday I was out for an early birthday lunch and while standing with my co-worker waiting for our food, I noticed a mom with two little boys. They were adorable and I felt a pang of guilt as I waited for my food, kid-free and not harried. I felt guilty that I wasn’t home with my own kids.
The oldest little boy was around 2 and somehow kicked off his Snoopy shoe. Without even thinking twice, I ran over to help him. His mom was carrying the other boy on her chest and I remember far too well how impossible it is to lean down to help your other child while wearing a baby. I told the little boy to sit down and then put his shoe back on. The mother thanked me and I went back to waiting for my food.
The whole thing took less than 30 seconds but my co-worker was surprised at my actions. “Is that some sort of mom code?” he asked. “I saw the little boy lose his shoe but it never would have dawned on me to help.”
And it never would have dawned on me not to.
I’ve never thought of it that way – that there’s a mom code and in helping each other, even strangers, we are acknowledging that we’re all in it together. It makes me wish there were other invisible signals we could send each other – to the depressed person, the grieving person, the anxious person, the nervous person – that would say “please help me today. I don’t know how to say it out loud, but I could really use a hand.”
Just like mom code, but for other things, too.
So if you’re reading this and need help today, I’m here. Send me a signal, whatever signal you’d like.