As moms, we hear a lot about supporting each other as women. And being good friends. But sometimes, I think we forget the importance of supporting each other as mothers and seeking to see the best in each other’s children.
My son came home from school the other day and told me a story about a boy in his class. The boy had done something that had really hurt my son’s feelings, and my instinct was to go all mama bear on this boy and assume the worst.
I had to resist telling my son all the mean thoughts swirling in my head, “Well, he is just selfish. And I’m not sure I want you to be friends with him. And maybe his mom has never taught him how to be kind. And maybe he’s just a bully!”
But in the midst of all these thoughts, I suddenly felt like God said to me, Or maybe he is just nine. And maybe his mom has talked to him about this 10 times. And maybe your son did something too. And maybe you need to show some grace.
And I was stopped in the middle of my mama bear tracks.
So instead of going all rage monster in front of my son, I stopped and hugged him and said this instead, “I’m so sorry that happened. Let’s think about how we can show kindness to him if he does that again. Maybe more is going on than we know. And sometimes, we just need to give our kids space.”
I said this because I know that parenting is hard. As mothers, we know this firsthand. And as mothers, we also know that we can often work with our children on a certain issue time and time again only for them to show no sign of progress in their lives. And that doesn’t make them a bad kid or us a bad mom, but instead, it makes them a growing kid and us a growing mom.
I’ll never forget the day I sat down and talked to my boys about sharing and how important it is and how much I wanted them to share with one another. I even had them practice sharing a toy and had them make a vow to show kindness the rest of the day . . . only for one of them to get up and refuse to share a toy with their brother. And I just had to laugh so I wouldn’t cry. Because I knew how hard I was trying to parent well with no proof of my efforts.
So as we consider this, here are a few tips to keep in mind as we seek to support other mamas and their kids.
Every child is born with different struggles.
You may think you know someone’s whole story, but you likely only know a fraction of it. And you may think you know what it is like to raise children, but you really only know what it is like to raise your child. These concepts are important to remember because every child is born with different strengths and weaknesses and our goal is to raise our children in the best way we can and assume other mamas are doing their very best with the personalities they have been given.
Our children have struggles, too.
While it’s easy to see our children in the best light, we have to remember our children are not perfect either. And while we want to protect them from harm, we often are not seeing the whole picture of their life experiences especially at school and with peers. So, when challenging circumstances arise, love and protect your child as every mama should while also remembering there can always be more to the story than you know. Let that truth fill your heart with grace as you seek to teach and guide them.
We have no idea what parenting is happening that we don’t see.
We can often see a bad behavior in a child and assume their parent isn’t doing what it takes to parent and intervene, and this can be true. But we also might not know that their parent is up at night stressed about this child’s behavior and is doing everything they can to work with their child and teach them to succeed too. We are often better support to other mamas when we assume they are doing everything they can to parent their child well. Because no one is trying to raise kids with issues. That isn’t fun for anyone.
So the next time we find ourselves frustrated with a child or parent, let’s remind ourselves that we help raise kind humans by not only parenting our own children but by supporting other moms and seeing the best in their children as they seek to raise kind humans too.