17 Jun 2013

What we moms can do for each other

Mothering can be a lonely gig.

For all we spend it surrounded by many tiny humans. And their big, gaping demands. And their tugging, tireless hands.

DSC_0019-640x426

DSC_0009-640x426

We can tend to retreat, to hole up, to recede from life and each other because, let’s face it, just managing our own homes is more than enough crazy for a lifetime. This might work for a season, a day, a week or two. But there is a danger of withering beneath the weight of the every day, 24 hours set on repeat over and over again with no off button if we keep at it alone.

There is something you can give. Something you can receive.

From your sisters. From the women you might never actually meet. From the neighbor who lives at the end of your quiet street, your mother-in-law, your church friend, school friend, PTA parent, baseball-bleachers-sitting sister.

There is this one thing we can do for one another. This one thing that is everything. And costs nothing.

Holding up the arms.

Rubbing the tired shoulders, folding the laundry, sharing the recipes, reminding each other about free donut days and birthdays and showering grace when we’re late to the preschool pick up.

Not comparing our kids. Celebrating the victories. Weeping the pain. Delivering the casseroles. Sharing more than just, “I’m fine.” Rocking the colicky babies, offering the girls nights out, teaching the best teething gels, powders, rings.

Admitting the temper tantrums.

DSC_0106-640x426

DSC_0755-640x461

Sending the cards, loaning the good boots, complimenting the jeans. Sharing the best books, driving the car pool, ignoring the squabbling kids, making time for the catching up. Coming when she calls when her man’s out of town. Showing up with the Starbucks and sticky buns. Telling her, she can. Especially on the days when she’s still wearing her pajamas. Telling her to be kind to herself, and that comfy clothes are always the right choice.

Not comparing.

Not comparing houses or laundry piles or kids’ behavior.

Cheering.

Cheering for each others’ dreams, kids, work, art, new hair cut.

Crying alongside. Holding on. Hoping. Passing the tissues. Buying the chocolate. Holding the hands. Opening arms to the grief. Patiently walking the valleys, flash light packed, stop watch left at home.

Believing the best, giving the benefit of the doubt, calling. Complimenting.

Spending time in each others’ kitchens, laundry rooms, living rooms, cars. Meeting up for breakfasts, sending notes just because. Praying. Cracking knees to the mat and praying for her story, her life, her rabid fear of parenting.

Sharing the mess ups, the upside downs, the glimpses into your chaos, the dog days of motherhood when you want your money back. Not cleaning up before she comes over. Being OK with being seen just as you really are.

Welcoming her.

Welcoming her into your real life. So she can exhale.

And you can be encouraged.

This. This we can do.

 

Comments

{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Being a grandmother is not any different from being a mother. Your children are beautiful. They are truly blessed blessed blessed to have a mum like you.

  2. 2

    I love this. I’m so blessed to have friends who have this figured out! The most recent example being a friend, Mama of 11!, who dropped off flowers and a bottle of wine after a particularly rough day here in the trenches. It touched my heart and gave me the strength I needed to finish strong. We Mamas can bless in amazing ways, right where we are. Thanks for a great post!

  3. 3

    Thank you for this wonderful message. I try to live this way and am so grateful to have found a group of moms who are the same since we moved a year ago. It took me years to build that kind of community where we used to live and I was scared to start over. Petrified. These women have been lifesavers for me.

  4. 4

    Once again, you write straight to my heart. I needed this so much as I was JUST about to write about it on my blog. In addition to the regular loneliness that can accompany motherhood, I have a 4 year old that doesn’t know how to keep his hands to himself. I have two boys. One is very compassionate, tender-hearted, and gentle. The other has a zest for life that I’ve never seen in any other child. He’s outgoing, funny, and unfortunately, hits, scratches and pinches his way around. I’ve left the park, birthday parties and playdates on more than one occasion in tears over his behavior and the perceived looks from other moms. Those times are when I feel most lonely, and that no one else on earth understands. How do you connect with another mom when your child is the one hurting theirs?

    I so needed this post this morning, and well, pretty much every post I’ve read from you over the past several months. Thank you for being a willing vessel.

    • 5

      Chandra, I have a three yr old (almost four) who is the same. Our consequence is to leave too. He loves being social but has major issues keeping his hands to himself. Thankfully I have wonderfully understanding friends who “get it” and forgive these actions and even are able to see his cues that he is about to react poorly! Keep chugging on girl! I’m I these trenches too!!!

  5. 6

    My favorite thing you’ve ever written. (That is, until your next post when I’ll probably say this all over again.)

    Cheering you on, good mama!

    • 7

      I was thinking that same thing! Your words bless me so…praying for more #inrl in my own life..a connection like you describe, and the courage to reach out first. xoxo

  6. 8

    Amen, amen!
    My mothering years have passed, but the memories of exhaustion and loneliness still mark my soul. Even when we moved to the other side of the city, I held on to some precious friends. Twenty years later we still meet up for dinner or a sleepover in a hotel. Sharing our lives in a community based on the Father and the Son.

  7. 9

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this. Thank you, Lisa-Jo.

    My favorite line is: Not cleaning up before she comes over. Because that is one of the reasons I sometimes hesitate to do playdates – my house usually looks like a tornado swept through it. Thank you for reminding me that I shouldn’t use this as an excuse to not be there for my friends. xoxo

    • 10

      That was my favorite line, too!
      So much grace we can give to one another just by being real.

      Thanks for writing it all out, Lisa-Jo!

    • 11

      I loved this line as well. I thought more about how it would make your friend feel better to see your house in less than perfect condition. :) To make them not feel like they have to clean up when you come over.

  8. 12

    This. This is how we were designed to live – by doing life together. My heart’s cry. No matter where I am.
    Yes and Amen and thank you.

  9. 13

    Beautiful!
    I’ve benefited from both folding a friends laundry and having a friend help watch my children while I went to the hospital in labor at 5am!

  10. 14
    Stephanie says:

    Thank you for this! I’ve been feeling like I’m the only one doing this all wrong-everyone else seems to be doing this whole “mom/wife/living” thing wonderfully and enjoying every minute, even when dealing with lemons, they are making lemonade, and for some reason I can only seem to get the lemon juice in my eyes. Thanks again.

  11. 15

    Love this so much, Lisa-Jo.

  12. 16

    Thank you Lisa-Jo. I really need this in my life. I feel so alone and scared at times. Sometimes I just need someone to give me a hug and tell me that I’m doing just fine!

  13. 17

    LOVE these posts, my dear friend! These are the ones I forward to my 2 daughters who are smack dab in the same parenting trenches … and I thank you for being that bit of a guide and encouraging cheerleader that they and all mamas so desperately need …

    Gosh – where WERE you 30 years ago when I needed you?

    ;-}

  14. 18

    This is a great piece! Just what I needed to read this morning and again this afternoon. As a stay at home Mom I find myself retreating quite a bit. I get caught up in our library, gym, playdate, naptime schedule. The venues are riddled with bragging Mom’s and judgement. I’m not saying I’m innocent. Lol

    Thank you!

  15. 19

    Love.This. It can be lonely & isolating for sure. I think something that you mentioned that always shows me I’ve made a real connection w/someone is when I don’t clean up before their visit even if she just called & is on her way for a drop by:).
    One of the best things I’ve ever done is put myself out there & join a Mops group. Have found amazing friendships, breaks & a hot breakfast that is a cup of coffee to be enjoyed w/out having to microwave it 60,000 times in one morning:). Thank you.

  16. 20

    And when you buy the chocolate, buy it Fair Trade. And help another momma out. :-D Just pluggin’.
    Love,
    Rita

  17. 21

    I love this one, Lisa-Jo. I’m so thankful for all of the ways you remind us that we can ACTIVELY love on those around us. And I’ve found in this year- this hard first year of mama-hood- it is often in those times when I show up and spend time with another mama to climb out of my dark little hole that I see how badly she needed a friend too. We have to stick together and we have to remember that we’re not alone! Thanks for all of the tangible suggestions and reminders of how we can be there for each other.

  18. 22

    Lisa – I love your words today. I pray that we would be able to stop them comparing not only when our kids are young but also as they grow. When our kids become older teens/young 20’s they may make unpopular decisions and as parents we need support as we pray for them. Judgement and comparing does not help.

  19. 23
    Xochitl Elizondo says:

    Thank you for reminding me why I have friends.

  20. 24

    I wish I lived near you, I would plant flowers under the windows of your new house and welcome you home!

  21. 25

    Lisa Jo – wonderful writing and encouragement! I have been reading and enjoying. Any feedback you have on my blog that I just started ( http://keeponpath.wordpress.com/ ) would be deeply appreciated. Thanks! Karen

  22. 26

    Thank you for this post. It brought me to joy filled tears this am as I strolled down memory lane, thinking of he amazing “village” of women I am blessed to know! Mothering is a journey, meant to be travelled with the “village”.

  23. 27
    Heather says:

    I find people WITHOUT kids to be the WORST. I don’t judge people for not having kids but that doesn’t then give you the right to judge others who DO have kids and are TRYING to make it work. My husband and I are fairly thick skinned and ignore really most “unsolicited advice” we are offered. Nobody else has my kids, their nature, their ages and the number of them so no I don’t want advice from someone with a quiet singleton.

  24. 28

    Beautifully said! Nothing compares to the real hug ofna real woman who really understands just how REAL these dog-days are. i wanted to add though that i think one of the great beauties of the Internet is that it gives stay at home moms a community of women to talk to/share with/ hear from during the long, lonely days when we dont see those cheering, real faces. People are more vulnerable online, sometimes, and we so crave others’ vulnerability so we can admit our weaknesses too. Glennon is a great example of this, and so are you Lisa-Jo. Thousands of women read and keep reading because we live in a mess and we need to hear that others are surviving and thriving and laughing even through the chaos. Thanks for continuing to be that voice.

  25. 29

    Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely! Real hugs and real coffee and real friendship takes a real person caring and sharing life’s moments. Oh, and those comparisons? They will drive us to distraction, if we let them – so just let go, right? Thanks for sharing this!
    Have a great day :)
    ~LuAnne

  26. 30

    Yes, Yes, and YES!! I have lived without this and now have been blessed to live this! My sons only have one mother but motherhood is not meant to be traveled alone. The commitment to NOT compare is such a hard one to keep! But to compare is to despair, but to accept and celebrate and pray over the difference, now that is what brings life!

    When I’m brave enough to have a new mommy friend over and NOT put on make up and throw all the laundry and toys into my door-shut room and frantically sweep the crushed Cheerios under the rug with my hand before she rings the doorbell, I always tell her that the dark circles under my eyes and crumbs on my floor are signs that I already consider her a real friend. It creates an instant bond, comfort, guard down foundation to a new relationship.

    Thank you for always keeping it real and being a real friend to each of us here. Hugs!

  27. 31

    O I love this! How many times do you just long for someone to notice you under all that baby?! My sister and I live an hour apart but are currently taking an online class together giving us something to talk about besides our families. We email each other all day long on and off just to stay connected. Sometimes it’s a simple email like “This is a bad day will you pray?” She works days and I’m a stay at home mommy but we share our days in this way.

  28. 32

    I miss this kind of friemdship so much. Iv prayed for nights to have this type of friend. Just one. Fb sometimes seems so unfair, when I see woman and mothrrs I know getting together or saying hoe great girls night out was.. secretly wondering.. why didnt they ask me… did they think of me.. whats wrong with me? I find myself achying for this sort of friendship more then I ever thought I would. We moved 2 years ago, and iv had such a hsrd time really connecting with anyone on this kind of level. Maybe Im trying to hard… but if anyone knows anybody who doesnt have friends, please invite her to your girls night out, call HER, invite her to coffee, act like you care just a smidgen, she may be desperately needing some girl time. Its really lonely being a stay at home mom, after 2 years I still feel new, and odd, and friendless. Iv invited people to my home, iv joined groups at my church, I reached out anyway I know how. Its a lonely road. I have my husband and he is wonderul, but ots still not the same as that bff!! Or the circle of friends. Of your lucky to uave those kinds of relationships with other moms or anyone really… cherish it like crazy. And thank god everyday for giving you that support system.

  29. 34
    Marinalva Sickler says:

    I appreciate your message and keep thinking about as a grandma raising my grandson if I am part of it. Yea! It’s all over me. How to take him to school when I have to go to work as a substitute teacher. The fear of not be at the school to pick him up from school. What about the homework? The toys to pick up from the yard to the bedroom. Why is he taking so long to play outside? Gee! I don’t meet moms. I meet single women or grandmothers.

Trackbacks

  1. […] built for friendship, yes. This is what moms and women can do for each other. We have community in our bones. And when we’re […]

  2. […] will always send you back because friendship is worth fighting for. Women need one another. And if we give up at girlhood, what chance do we have during the minivan driving […]

  3. […] when you’re empty, when you’re bone dry you wring out one more drop, one more bottle, one more soothing the […]

Hide me
Free eBook for Blog Subscribers!
Just enter your email & you'll receive a welcome email with a link to download the eBook. Easy Peasy!
Show me