Being a mom is hard work, isn’t it? There are so many responsibilities, choices, and expectations. Something that has really hit home with me over the past few years is the importance of having friends who are encouraging, uplifting, and supportive — and being that friend in return.
As moms, we need to see each other as colleagues and as allies in parenthood. If we operate on little islands and don’t stop to help each other, we are missing out. Motherhood is a common bond we share, and it’s something to take seriously. Here are 10 things to consider when it comes to encouraging other moms — and guarding ourselves against discouragement.
None of us really know what we’re doing. Motherhood isn’t something we learn the first time around and then practice perfectly from then on. We are all trying our best, we all love our kids, and we all have different strengths. Just because someone looks like they have it all together does not mean that they actually do. Don’t worry if another mom seems like she knows exactly what she’s doing — she may actually be looking at you and feeling the same insecurity about her own self.
1)Do not compare yourself to another mom. Be the best mom you can be with your children, and strive for your own personal best. It’s perfectly reasonable to get ideas and advice from other moms, but do not compare yourself to anyone else. Just because they rented a moon bounce and hosted a huge birthday party for their daughter doesn’t mean you’re “not as good of a mom” because you simply had pizza with the grandparents.
2) If things are going well for you but another mom is struggling, don’t flaunt it. Some kids are late walkers, late talkers, or have behavioral issues. If you happen to be a mom who is having an easy time at the moment, just consider who you share your success stories with. If your two year old is saying her ABC’s and your friend is struggling because her two year old is barely talking, save your good news for the grandparents.
3) Don’t try to impress other moms. Waking up early to make homemade muffins and clean your house from top to bottom isn’t going to do anyone any favors. Sure, tidy up and set out a snack, but consider what you are doing and why you are doing it. Be the best mom you can to your children, but don’t worry about looking like the best mom to your friends.
4) When you see another mom who needs help, HELP THEM. There is always that one mom in the grocery store who is having a hard time. Offer to help her put her groceries on the conveyor belt or into her trunk if she has a crying baby or is having a hard time with a toddler. Treat another mom like you would if you saw your friend at the grocery store, and offer to lend a hand. Even if they say no thanks, your offer may have made a difference in their day.
5) Don’t judge other moms. Fight the urge to say in your mind (“I would never let my kid scream like that!). Instead, try a few encouraging words. Even stopping to say, “Oh, hang in there — toddlers are tough! I have one at home,” will make a difference to her.