20 Mar You’re doing a good job
by Brittany Gilbert
An old high school friend posted on Facebook how raising tiny humans was the most exhausting job she ever had. While I absolutely agree, I had a feeling she had more to say, so I went to the comments before I attempted to post anything encouraging.
She admitted that social media tends to make her feel “less than” in comparison to other moms. This is where I had to reach out to her and make her feel less alone. It turns out she didn’t think that she had anyone to talk to on bad days. I had to remind her that it’s simply not true. I think the same encouragement can be given to a lot of moms, dads and grandparents.
It’s so true that comparison is a thief of joy. Oftentimes, people post their best moments on social media. I know I do. Very rarely do I post the hard times, but that doesn’t mean I never have them. I felt bad to hear this friend of mine tell me that my posts made me seem like some kind of supermom because I know that some days I feel like I’m hanging by a thread as well.
When you stop comparing, it’s easier to celebrate our friends’ wins and be genuinely excited for the good things they experience in their path. God gave us each different lives, and the sooner we embrace the path He gave us to walk, the sooner we can get excited for the promotions and favor our friends are experiencing. Trust that God has something different but equally awesome for your family. Their success is not your failure.
Be open and honest with family and friends
This friend of mine admitted that she finally opened up to her husband about how overwhelming things were getting for her as a mom. She was afraid that he would think she wasn’t a good mom.
I can relate to this fear because most of the time, we want to be moms so bad and then we put expectations on ourselves that because we desire to have kids, we will never have bad days. It’s simply not true and is a lie that we believe and set ourselves up to be disappointed.
The best thing you can do is be honest with your spouse. Most men want to fix problems, so it may be something you have to say upfront — that you don’t want them to try to fix anything. You’re just looking for someone to talk to and get a break every now and then. Sometimes when my husband comes home from work, I will get out for a few minutes, even if it’s just to grab something we need for dinner.
Get out of the house
I can’t emphasize how important friendships are for moms, especially if you are a stay-at-home mom or work in a fast-paced job where you don’t get to build relationships. I know that whenever I start to get overwhelmed, I need to set up a play date or lunch date with a friend. It’s amazing how an hour with another adult can help you feel better.
Even if we don’t talk about the things that are overwhelming us as parents, there’s something about community and friendship that feeds your soul and gives relief to your troubles. Never underestimate good friendships and the ability of friends to understand without judgment.
Encouragement doesn’t always mean advice
I can’t stress this enough. If a friend comes to you with their problems, they aren’t necessarily seeking your advice or for you to fix their issue. When my kids are acting up and I’m having a really bad couple of days, I’m also not looking for someone to say things like “they’re only little once” or “soak it up because one day the house won’t be messy anymore because they’ll be grown.” You know the phrases that are really sweet in theory but tend to make you feel bad for being stressed. It’s one thing to admit it to yourself that the days are long and the years are short, but it’s another to feel like you’re being told to not have bad days because one day your kids will be too big. One of the best things I’ve learned to do for my friends is to pray for them and simply be a listening ear.
Mexican food, Starbucks and trips to Target cure a lot of stress for me. A lot of times, moms just need a break. Offer to babysit so your friends can go on a date, or invite your friend to lunch.
You never know how truly helpful your simple offers can be.
Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. She and her husband, Levi, have two sons and a daughter and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.