Lately, I have really struggled with how “busy” life has become.
Not just because of what it takes away from our family life and what it adds to my stress levels but what it does to the relationships with the people I love.
Especially my friends.
I am so exhausted at the end of the day, I barely have enough energy to stay awake let alone meet up with a mom friend for that glass of wine we keep saying we “should” get.
I am so focused on, and buried by, my personal stresses and struggles of “doing all of the things”… that I am lacking the vision to see a friend going through a struggle of her own.
And THAT is the part that gets me because I am blessed with some of the most incredible women in my tribe. People who love me and relentlessly fight for my happiness. People who think of me when they have every reason to be thinking of themselves.
And I want to be that kind of friend in return. But I haven’t been. And that needs to change.
We have GOT to slow down and SEE each other. And HEAR each other. And SUPPORT each other. Especially moms. And these are seven easy ways that we can step up and take care of each other in simple, yet meaningful ways.
1.) Double your spaghetti recipe
Or your taco night recipe. Or the number of hamburgers you throw on the grill. Or the number of casseroles you put in the oven. And take it to a Mom. ANY Mom. Taking meals to brand new moms isn’t anything new, but what about the been-there-and-still-doing-it moms? Many of them will tell you that getting dinner on the table in the midst of working, taxiing, diaper-changing and all-of-the-other-things-ing… can be a challenge. Give her the relief of having something taken off her plate, by providing the food that will go on it instead.
2.) Buy a set of cards to have at your house. Mail out one per week.
Just as sure as your Mom friend is probably on a first name basis with the Amazon Prime delivery guy, she also probably experiences having negative thoughts about herself and her abilities as Mom. Whether you’re writing to tell her how awesome she is as a parent, to lift her up through a tough time or to simply tell her how she inspires you… be that handwritten address on an envelope that delivers words inside that will be the ones that will break her mundane, and rebuild her soul.
3.) Tell her what days you are available to take her kids for a couple of hours.
A lot of moms have a hard time asking for help. Even though family and friends may be telling her they will help her with the kids, she doesn’t want to be a bother. She knows that they have enough stuff going on too. But give her days and times you’re available? She will start imagining what she can do with those hours. Her guilt will start to shed knowing that you’ve already thought about the time that you are willing to be available to her. Give a girl a chance to go to Target solo. To finally hit up the yoga class. To simply sit in her house on her couch without being asked to microwave or wipe something.
4.) Meet for coffee with the intention of giving her the floor.
The best friendships in my life are the ones where we have ping pong conversation. Sometimes the ping pong game is in a single setting… she gets to talk about her life, I get to talk about mine. She shares a story about one of her kids, I share one about mine. But sometimes it’s about letting the other one keep the ball on her side the entire time to set free the fears, the stresses, the hopes and the dreams.
5.) She bailed on coffee? Give her a pass.
Not just on this, but anything that she has to back out on. Life happens. Schedules mix up. Kids run fevers. Moms have bad days on which that they can’t imagine pulling themselves together to adult. She already feels guilty… don’t add on to it. Take it away. You’ll probably need her pass one day too. She will appreciate (and remember) your grace.
6.) She didn’t bail? While you’re giving her the floor, ask her REAL questions.
While days can be chaotic, they can also feel hamster wheel-ish. We’ve all been asked “How are the kids?” – “How are you?” – “What are you doing this weekend?” over and over. Dare to dig deeper. Ask her about the things she thinks about but never talks about. Give her a platform to use the side of her brain that often gets put in the shadows when diaper-changing, share-fight refereeing and onesie folding. She’ll thank you for it, and your friendship will grow from it.
7.) Be her safe space.
It’s hard to navigate a day where we don’t feel the gavel of judgement on us… but when we find that space where we can be free to be authentic, we want to cement ourselves into its ground. TRUE safe spaces are hard to find. The ones you know won’t repeat your important words. The ones you know won’t fade off when you really start to struggle. The ones who ask you again if you’re ok when you respond that you’re fine because she knows you need to talk. Be the one.
Let’s all be the one. Let’s be better.
Let’s reach out our arms to the women we love and remind them that the “takes a village” concept doesn’t just apply to raising kids… but to supporting each other through modern-day motherhood.