Well, I am back to a blank page. Do you ever type out 500 words then stop and take a deep breath and hit the delete button – on all of it? That’s what I just did.
I wish I could sit down with each of you and share this with you in person. We could have some coffee at my favorite local coffee shop. We could sit on my deck while our kids play on the trampoline (with soap and sprinkler – a summertime bath). We could have dinner with our husbands and talk while the kids are playing arcade or Legos. We could chat while sitting in lounge chairs sipping something cold on the beach with our feet in the sand.
Friendship is crucial to motherhood. Seriously. And my friendships since getting married and having kids have been one of the hardest challenges for me. I never struggled with friendships until I got married. They are just different when you are a wife and a mom. Can I get an “Amen”?
I think it is easiest for us to have friendships with women who are the same age and in the same stage of life that we are in. I mean we have Life Groups with adults that are all about the same age as us (or our kids are the same age). The people we work with are usually around the same age. We do neighborhood activities with people who are probably the same age as us. It’s easy.
But I want to encourage you to consider this: find moms who are parenting in different life stages than you. Those friendships can be life-giving, and that is the thing I’ve learned the most these past couple of years.
I need to know that parenting will continue to be hard (and good). My boys are about to hit double digits. And our American way of thinking is that we don’t like to do hard things. We want things to be easy. Motherhood is not easy. You are living with other people who are sinners just like you – and it’s just hard. Before I got married I don’t think any of my friends told me that motherhood was hard. They didn’t want to seem like they were ungrateful or complaining. But, when I had kids and it was hard – it rocked my world. I thought I was a complete failure, because no one else thought it was hard. And every stage is like that. You feel like you are failing at this thing called #momlife. You aren’t.
I think it’s helpful to find a few friends who have kids that are older than yours, friends who will share hardships with you. They will be able to share choices they are facing, discussions they are having, and Scripture that is helping. I have three friends who are in this camp for me.
I speak to one of these ladies several times a week on Marco Polo. She shares with me the hardships of having teenagers and adult children—and the joys and celebrations. She has encouraged me much over the last 2 years. Through my time with her I have come to realize I am not responsible for my child’s choices. Their choices do not make me a better or a worse mom.
Another mom I spend time with is a relatively newer friend. We have met for coffee and shared a lot via Voxer. She has older teenagers. She loves to disciple her kids, run her home, love her husband, and disciple other women through writing and teaching the Word. The best piece of wisdom I’ve gained from her is that once again, I am not responsible for my child’s choices. (Notice a theme here?)
Another one I’m learning from is a local mom of adult children. We meet monthly over a meal. It is life-giving to me to sit, chat, eat, and share life—the good, the bad, the hard, and the choices. And we encourage each other to keep walking in obedience where we are in life.
Just to give you a quick example: I was so discouraged the other day by a social media post I read by a friend with kids similar-age as mine. She posted a photo of her kids. I could tell from that picture that their summer was going a lot smoother than mine. Everyone was getting along and no one was using technology. I felt like the worst mom in the world—all because I didn’t measure up to what I saw on a little screen on my phone.
In response, I was grateful to hear from older moms that my kids are going to turn out ok, even if they play arcade together. They will turn out ok, because I am a mom who cares about them and shares Jesus with them and keeps them fed (whether with a home cooked meal or takeout for the 4th time that week). The reality is, they need me to love on them, be in their life, and talk with them. These ladies reminded me that my kids will love me and turn out ok—and that there will be bigger battles to fight as they get older.
Motherhood is a long-distance marathon. There will be many times when you are climbing a steep hill with no breaks, but being a mom is a God-given task and we can only do it by the Spirit. One of the graces that He graciously gives us is friendship.
Go get some good friends. Find moms in a different life stage than you, ones that will point you to Jesus no matter if you are celebrating or struggling (I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength). Celebration and struggle will happen almost daily in motherhood, and you need people to walk with you who have “been there and done that” and lived to tell about it!