Today I spent my morning hanging out with a few friends and our broods of children. We have set every-other Wednesday aside to chat, drink coffee, laugh, drink coffee, let our kiddos play together and drink coffee. This time together is designed to be a place where we, as stay-at-home moms, can get together to bond by sharing the ups and downs of parenting, life and our faith. It’s also a “mommy wars” free zone and, when the kiddos‘ yells and playful shrieks momentarily die down, it’s a place where we can be honest and encouraging.
Sound wonderful? I won’t lie or down play it – it is. And I believe it’s necessary to staying mentally and emotionally healthy. Because let’s just be honest, being a mom is hard. I repeat: hard.
As much fun as the chit-chat is, there isn’t one Wednesday that passes without someone revealing that they are having an extra hard time at the moment. Life hasn’t really changed during these tough times, it’s just that constantly caring for little ones, lack of sleep, and a cycle of the same daily chores can wear us down. That’s when we need some encouragement from another mom.
Husbands are wonderful and supportive, but there is something about another mom telling you you’re doing a good job that is super encouraging. So many of us have a constant voice in our heads pushing us to work harder or to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves with others. Sometimes it’s an encouraging comment from a friend, walking the tightrope of parenting alongside us, that can speak the most to us.
Someone to acknowledge that you’re a great mom for the million times you’ve sung “Old MacDonald” or read Goodnight Moon. Or staying up late to help with a school project. Or staying up late trying to calm your colicky baby even though you’ve been up the last three nights. Someone to acknowledge that when you’re tired of cleaning up mounds of poop, vomit and quieting tantrums that it’s okay to be tired of it. Cause hey, being a mom is hard.
After a friend reminds you that you’re a great mom, your perspective gets a little clearer and the responsibility a little lighter. You’re able to see that your kids are growing up strong and healthy from all the countless meals and vitamins you’ve given them. That you have a blast finger painting with your toddlers and you’re so impressed with how witty your 4th grader has become. Then you realize that all your hard work does pay off and brings so much joy.
And if you don’t have the kinds of girlfriends that will encourage you when you’re not the perfect ‘pinterest mom,’ then be the kind of friend you want to someone else. Because don’t we all deserve a bit of understanding and encouragement?