2016 was a pivotal year for me as a mom. When I first had my oldest a few years prior, to be honest, I was very nervous about being a mom. I really wanted to have children, but I often struggled with making decisions. I was not very confident in my mothering abilities and often took what others said – strangers, friends, or family – to heart. I may have had some positive comments along the way, but during that time, I just remember a lot of women sharing outdated expectations and giving my husband more support that me because I “should” be the one changing diapers and it was awesome that my husband knew how or that he “helped” me watch the kids. That all women can breastfeed and that I gave up to easy, just to name a few…
I gradually figured out who I wanted to be as a mom and became more comfortable in my mom skin.
I became more comfortable doing what was needed for my kids not because I should as a woman, but because I wanted to. One of the steps to my path to mommy self-confidence was joining a MOPs group. I met a group of ladies that uplifted my spirit, reminded me that I was doing a good job, and we would often have playdates and get-togethers. This group of ladies still hangs out together today. They refer to themselves as “the village.”
Most of them live in a different part of town and as our kids go to different schools and programs, I do not see them as often as I once did. However, I will never forget how my village made me feel. It was because of them, I realized that it is ok to be a mom and also take time out to be with friends and get away from the kiddos for a few hours. It was because of them that I became more confident taking all three of my kids out by myself. It was because of them, I was reminded that I am an awesome person, who is also an equally wonderful but not perfect mom.
Not everyone finds their village right off the bat. Not everyone has a schedule that can accommodate joining a local moms’ group. Now that my youngest is 2, can feed himself, walk, and at times, stay entertained with a toy or book, I feel like I have a tad bit more freedom. In the spirit of the village that helped me to become the mom that I am today, I am making it my New Year’s Resolution to uplift my village, the moms in my life that I am lucky enough to call friends and relatives.
If you would like to join me in this resolution, I have created several ideas to get you started on how you can uplift these wonderful women in your life. Maybe you are already doing some of these things (maybe all of them), but sometimes we get caught up in trying to keep our own home afloat and forget how nice it is to do these things for one another.
1. Bring a meal to a parent who I know is busy/overwhelmed/could use an excuse for a visitor. It’s so nice to not have to worry about cooking one night and if they already have a meal planned, they can freeze it.
2. Offer to take a picture of your friend with her family at a party/holiday/or special event. In my family, I am the one that takes all the pictures. If I want to be in the picture and not exclude my husband, it often has to be selfie-style, so it is always appreciated when a friend offers to take a picture.
3. When I see a parent struggling with their kiddo and looking for support, remind them of how awesome they are, that they are doing a great job, and see if you can help.
4. Offer to watch a friend’s kid(s) so they can go out of date and their kids can have a play date with your kiddos.
5. With friends with babies or young children, offer to get their kids’ food, give them a bottle, cut up their food, etc. so that they can get their own food or take care of their other child.
6. Bring coffee to a parent that you know did not get enough sleep the night before or you know that has a long day ahead of them. Get one for yourself, too, and visit.
7. Do a video chat with a friend that has been stuck at home. Maybe their little one has had a bug the last few days that has caused them to stay at home. I am sure that your friend would love to see someone before they get cabin fever.
8. Give your friend a compliment and mean it. They could really use it.
9. If you see a friend act a tad bit crazy, give them some grace and ask them what you can do to help.