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Cat Belknap and Nat Telfer — known as Cat & Nat to their online parenting community — are reminding parents that when it comes to raising compassionate kids, it starts at home.
The comedic duo posted a meme to Instagram this week, encouraging parents to care more about whether their kid "sits with the lonely kid in the cafeteria," and less about their academic success. Along with the meme, the pair penned a heartfelt post about the importance of moms supporting one another.
"Remember it starts with us," the post reads. "To all the moms who are seasoned at dropping kids off and navigating the playground, remember there are whole bunch of new moms who don't have a clue. They'll walk in almost as nervous as their kids, they'll look around and see that almost everyone knows each other. They won't know the protocols of how it all works, they'll be looking around, unsure."
"Just remember to smile, say hi, introduce yourself, help her," the post continues. "Because we can preach out the wazoo to our children about every single nicety but showing them in real time is way more impactful."
Telfer, who has four kids of her own, told TODAY Parents she still remembers both the insecurities she felt as a new mom, and how support from more seasoned moms made her feel in her early parenting days.
"You really have no idea what you are doing and it feels like everyone knows better and is doing a better job than you," said Telfer. "We need to support each other and unite through that thing we have in common — motherhood. A simple smile, or a comment about how they are doing a good job can literally lift their spirits and turn a tough day into a good one."
Belknap, a mom-of-three, admits her "newbie mom" unease returns slightly at the start of each school year.
"It is really tough starting a new year, new school, new grade," said Belknap. "We know for us, there is so much uncertainty about what to do. There is no manual and you are eager for your kids to fit in."
"When a mom smiles at you and asks you a question, it just helps," the Canadian mom continued. "The school is a community on its own and sometimes breaking into that community isn't as easy as one would think. It really only takes one mom to put you a bit at ease and show you the ropes. We have been lucky that lots of moms do this for us so in return we continue to spread the smiles — it's that easy."
So what advice do these hilarious moms have for newbie mothers?
"It is a learning curve," said Belknap. "Ask questions and don't be afraid of not knowing. Remember it is a process and tons of people are new. And smile at people, it truly goes a long way."
As for the more seasoned moms, Telfer offers this advice.
"Reach out to the new mom — invite her out with you and your mom friends or suggest a play date — even if it's at the dreaded park. Just remember how you felt the first time around and how a friendly gesture can brighten your day."