You know when you’re in traffic and it’s really busy and you need to move over a lane and you aren’t sure how you are going to get into the lane? And then some kind soul waves you over and you slide in where you need to be and life just gets easier? You give a wave under the rear view to say thank you and carry on with your day. Having someone usher you into traffic makes a stressful situation easier. It’s not something they have to do, it’s just a nice thing to do to help your fellow victim of traffic. It’s a lot like the mom nod. 

You’re in a crowded supermarket and your toddler melts down. You’re at a restaurant and your sleeping baby wakes fussy. Your child does something embarrassing in public and you are pretty sure onlookers are judging you. You feel that pink rising in your cheeks and you’re getting warm and you look around to see if people are watching. You are trying to talk your little human off the ledge. Scolding. Negotiating. Begging. Leaning in and whispering trying to be scary enough for them to stop doing whatever they are doing but not so scary that they need therapy. 

Your eyes meet those of another mom and she gives you the nod. It’s like “mom-aste.” The experienced-been-there-not-judging-you mom in me sees the exasperated-gonna-lose-her-shit mom in you, and it’s going to be okay. And you can just rest in that understanding and take a deep breath because in that moment, you’re not alone. 

There’s something powerful about being truly seen in a moment of vulnerability and being acknowledged with support in the sisterhood of motherhood. There’s validation that comes when you’re completely mortified and wishing you were invisible and someone stops to let you know they see you and this, too, shall pass. 

I met the gaze of an older mom in a crowd while my child was doing something ridiculous; I was feeling like a crappy mom, feeling like if I had only done X maybe my kid wouldn’t do Y. She smiled and nodded and mimed a deep breathing yoga pose and we just took a breath together and we laughed. Mom-aste.

The mom nod. It’s the wave in traffic in the gridlock of raising little people, when you’re in a crowd and trying to avoid disaster. That gesture means everything. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a mom nod to make a meltdown just a little bit less humiliating. 

Has a mom nod made your day better? 


  1. I love this–and I love the mom nod. In a world full of judgment and mom-shaming, it’s always such a relief to encounter another mom who understands.

  2. You brought up a great topic, I love the Mom nod! It gives us a little reminder that we’re not alone when, we might lose it lol.