I remember BC, that is Before Children. We were in college in California and there was always a story somewhere about a child. Baby in the road, escaped through sliding glass doors… And while shopping at the local food markets, there is always the mom that just yells out rudeness to her children.
I confess; many times my thoughts were not so good of this Mom who obviously DID NOT take her role as a Mom seriously. And embarrassingly, sometimes the thought would cross my mind that this person should NOT have children.
Well, that confession is out! But the worse part of the story is when I became a parent. Don’t misunderstand; I love being a parent immensely! But everything I judged people on in my blissful BC years, became real as I had children. My 4 year old escaped out the dead-bolted door, through the garage, and about to cross the street at 5am to go to a Congregation! So thankful that I woke up and found him! When I had my 3rd child, this firm voice began to come out of my mouth around dinner prep time! …still working on this. And in the grocery store, people are so unkind with comments made in passing about birth control or overpopulation; I actually expect it. Especially when we began to foster and adopt. This added 1-2 children to the crew and people just felt the need to share the condemnation towards Moms with more than 1.4 children.
It’s super funny and it makes me giggle. Because as I juggle all the responsibilities of being a Mom, my memory is intact. I remember how I expected Moms to be perfect before I had children! Now I am more careful with my thoughts and work diligently to uplift others. Rather than judge a mom for the faults we all have, aspire to help a Mom with encouragement. Which leads to the answer to this most sought out question in the world (HA!):
How can I help A Mom? Encourage a Mom.
- Everyday is not the perfect day. And when you happen to be in the path of a Mom in “Frustration Mode”, give her a SMILE, and an ATTA GIRL!
- Give encouragements when you see a Mom being great. For example, “Your children are so well behaved”. I love this one when I get it!
- Take a healthy snack dish over to a neighbor with children (flowers and/or a bottle of wine is nice too.)
- Give a few minutes to listen, when a Mom wants to say something.
- If you are a Grandmom, I love getting encouraging wisdoms from this generally-kind group of women.
- If you are a trusted family member or neighbor friend, offer to play with the children, while Mom runs errands for a couple of hours. I had the best neighbor before we moved. She was a Grandmom with a super sweet spirit.Every month or so, she would call and ask if I wanted to go run errands. I arranged it around their nap times and it was such a sweet gift.
Here is a real life example from Shanti and Life Made Full that will more than inspire you!
I was at Target this morning and there was a young mom in the bathroom with two young children. She was changing a diaper, and her daughter (about 4 years old) was screaming throwing a tantrum and wouldn’t come out of the stall. Another woman, probably in her 60s, glared at the young mom and said sternly, “Do you need help? I can tell you right now, my children would never have tried something like that on me! You should reach your hand under the door and drag her out and SWAT her butt!”
The poor young mom looked as though someone had just completely deflated her. Her face turned red and she replied, “I’m so sorry!”
I turned to the younger woman and said, “Don’t worry! I had 5 kids under the age of 5 at one time. I feel your pain, but it DOES get better!” She smiled a bit and got back to changing the diaper, screaming child in the background.
The older woman left, I left and went to the Starbucks in the store, bought a Mocha Frappuccino and brought it back to the bathroom where the mom was still pleading with her daughter to come out. I handed her the coffee and said, “Here. Take this. I’ll climb under and unlock the stall.”
She looked at me kind of stunned while I crawled under the door. The little girl immediately stopped crying and I said, “Hi! You know, your mom is pretty stressed out out there with your little brother. Do you think you can come out and help her?”
She came out of the stall and ran to her mom (probably terrified of the scary lady).
The mom gave me a huge hug and said , “thank you! You just made my day!”
Moral of the story: taking a moment to help someone in need not only helps meet their immediate need, but fills your own heart to overflowing!
Just these few tips to help encourage a Mom could make our environments a little nicer. The phrase I’ve heard a few times about “it takes a village to raise a child”…this is what I imagine we can do to help our village. We each are entitled to our own style without judgement, but certainly encouragement and love will go a long way to a most important job!
Now, I’m headed out and hopefully will have the opportunity to go help a Mom….I have a lot of “making up” to do while I raise my crew!