Hey, Mom sitting in the WIC office waiting for your quarterly allotment of food checks,
You don’t know me, and I don’t know you, but I want you to know, you’re a good mom.
Your baby, your toddler–they’re proof of that.
I know some people would say differently.
I’m sure you’ve received your share of judgmental looks and stares, and heard people in the grocery line behind you express their impatience.
I feel it, see it and hear it, too.
And it’s possible I’ve been one of those people.
Okay, it’s more than possible.
When I was first eligible for WIC, I wanted to set myself apart as a mom. I sat in the waiting area, dressed in clothes that I hoped would communicate that I wasn’t poor like you. I bribed my kids to behave well. I hoped beyond hope that they would answer the questions the “right” way so the nutritionists wouldn’t think I let my kids eat junk food. (Confession: Sometimes I do let them.)
I wanted to convince myself I didn’t belong there, but since we qualified for it, we would accept the help.
And then one day, I realized that we did belong there. We were and are poor. We need help. And like you, I’d do what it takes to help my kids.
So, when you call the office because you missed your appointment, I understand. Transportation isn’t always a given. The weather and illness can change your plans. Work schedules can be unpredictable.
When you let your kid climb all over the chairs as you text, it’s okay. Motherhood is hard when you have a support system. And if you don’t have one, I don’t know how you do it.
Choosing to have a baby takes courage. Married, in a relationship or single, however you became pregnant, it takes guts to bring a child into the world and raise him or her.
So I applaud you.It doesn’t matter to me how it happened or whether you planned it. Life has a way of altering the best-laid plans.
Our time with WIC is coming to an end soon, and you have helped me understand so much.
That moms of all kinds are doing the best they can with what they have to do what they can for their kids.
I won’t forget the lessons.
And I will stand up for you when I hear criticism against you.
I will wait patiently in line behind you while you spend your checks.
And someday I hope I can slip an extra bag of apples or vegetables into your cart because I know how quickly the money is spent.
Keep going. Keep doing the next right thing. For you. And your kids.
You have opened my eyes.
And I pray they’ll never again close to your needs.
another mom waiting in the WIC office