A Mother’s Badge of Honor

A Mother’s Badge of Honor

This morning at the supermarket, as I headed over to take a shopping cart, I noticed another woman heading ahead of me into the supermarket.

She was taller than me, but at least ten years younger in a long flowing skirt and headscarf. My wild guess? She lives on a yishuv outside of Jerusalem and is a nursery-school teacher. Wednesday is her day off, and she came into Jerusalem to stock up at a discount supermarket and get a head start on Shabbat cooking.

And then I noticed it…

A smiley sticker stuck on the back of her skirt, close to the bottom.

I smiled back at the sticker.

I caught up with the woman and told her she had a sticker on the back of her skirt. Would she like me to take it off for her?

“Yes, thank you…” she responded.

After I peeled off the sticker and showed it to her, I said, “You can see that you are a mother! Your children are not here, but you can still tell!”

We both laughed, and continued shopping. Enjoying a few hours of quiet and focused productivity before pick-up time.

And my mind wandered to badges of honor…

For the general public, a badge of honor looks like this:

badge 2

Or this

badge 3

Or this

badge 4

Or this

badge1

But for a mom, a badge of honor looks different.

It can look like a stroller which is past its prime.

Or a shirt sleeve splattered with dried on spaghetti sauce from lunch.

Or a trail of burped-up spit up running down your back

And sometimes, like this morning, a mother’s badge of honor looks like this:

badge smile

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8 comments

  1. When I nurse my 2 month old and am interrupted on my bed by my jumping energetic son, and hear “Mommy! Mommy” from downstairs.. from my window is this view of an advertisement and it says “Nonstop Dedication”. I’m not sure what it’s advertising (it’s on a billboard) but I love it! It’s my badge of honor, it reminds me where I stand even when I’m feeling pulled in all directions.

  2. That reminded me of me going back to work after meternity leave and finding in my jacket’s pocket a pacifier – to all my collegues’ amusement…

  3. Reminds me of the time I appeared at an event in the evening and someone asked me why I had a smiley sticker on my shirt. I hadn’t realized I’d left it there, but I told her the honest reason: I was a “giborah” today and refrained from yelling at my kid, so I gave myself a sticker 🙂

  4. We all deserve to ‘pat ourselves on the back’ for all our mental victories over the Yetzer Hara, and when we respond patiently to our kids.

  5. Loved this post! Though my badge of honor is usually more like a smudge on my shirt, or chocolate stains on my skirt:)

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