A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog titled “Team Motherhood: Partners in Parenting.” In this article, I shared a story of personal embarrassment when my son acted out in public, which led me to question: “Where is MY team?” I have been pondering this parenting problem quite often lately and questioning how to address the judgmental, competitive attitudes we have and encounter in parenting.
The only answer I have found is to REACH OUT.
The truth is none of us have this parenting thing figured out. None of us have perfect kids or perfect solutions. We all have struggles, and we all need our team to lift us up.
So, you’re probably thinking, “Okay, great! I’m all for ‘reaching out,’ but where do I start?” Well friend, here are three ways to reach out and love as a team player:
1. Encourage One Another. We need to love and encourage other fellow mommas. This means NO JUDGING. Ya’ll, we have such busy lives as mommies, and honestly, we do not have time for judging or condemning others! So, you cloth diaper? Great! You chose to breastfeed your baby until she was four? Awesome job, Momma! You’re a working mom that works long hours and cherishes those short nights with your littles? That’s so wonderful! God has called all of us to different purposes and different plans, and the cool thing is our child needs us just as we are. Rest in the peace of knowing that just because “that mommy’s plan” is not your ideal scenario, it is still good and right for her family. When you see a mom doing her best to parent littles in the grocery store, the mall, the play place, Chick-fil-a (because who doesn’t love CFA?), or a restaurant, offer an encouraging word of hope. Because honestly, sometimes those words of hope help to get us through those long days.
2. Share Your Stories of Successes AND Failures. Often times, we are so quick to share our success stories, but we shudder to tell the hard ones. We need to hear and laugh with each other about the struggles as much as we need to hear about the successes, if not more. So, your son peed all over the walls yesterday? Your daughter made a huge mess trying to “clean up” her poop in the bathroom? You lost your temper on a hard day, felt overwhelmed, yelled at your littles, and cried yourself to sleep? You’re behind on laundry and it is scattered everywhere around the house? You forgot to plan dinner and served sandwiches? We need these stories too because the reality is we have ALL been there! The more we share the hard stories, the more we will be encouraged that others have been/are there too–and know that we are not alone!
3. Do Life with Other Moms. This one is HUGE and often means stepping outside of your comfort zone. This means taking on each others’ burdens. We need to love our sisters with us on this journey. Go out of your way for other moms. Some practical ways to do this include:
- Make a meal to take a mom who is going through a hard time
- Pray with her when she has no hope
- Watch the overwhelmed new mom’s kid so she can get a much needed nap (or shower)
- Visit with the mom of a newborn and just listen
- Send an encouraging note or card
- Help a friend clean her house when her kids are sick, or heck, even when they aren’t
- Etc., etc., etc. This list is endless!
As busy moms, it is so important that we GIVE and receive encouragement and help to and from our TEAM because, at the end of the day, it really is the small things that matter the most.
When I first had my little girl, my very dear friend Amy stopped by. Since my house was a complete mess and I was still in my pjs, I tried to stand at the door to chat. But nope, she was not having that. She asked to come in, sat down, took my upset, colicky baby and rocked her to sleep, and just talked to me. She listened when I told her how sick my little one had been, and she really cared. She so blessed me that day, and I still cherish the friendship we have.
The thing is you don’t have to be Martha Stewart to help other moms. You just have to be willing and intentional.”
Like my friend Amy, I hope you will choose to be that mom that blesses others and reaches out to love. I can honestly say that I am striving to be more willing and intentional when others are in need, and I hope you’ll join me!