Why do moms need friends? They have kids, right? And some of them have husbands or partners. In fact, all of society puts moms on a pedestal. Well…kind of. There are so many misconceptions about what it means to be a mom, and what it takes to be a parent at all. Although it may not seem like it, moms are still human, you know. We have feelings. We have needs. And every once in awhile, we need someone to be a friend to us. Are you up for the challenge? Here are some ways to be a friend to the moms in your life:
Check in on your mom friends.
Everyone knows that when you have a child, everything ceases to be about the parents. I get that, I do, but every once in a while, a mom needs to hear “How are you doing?” Call up your mom friend or send her an email — and don’t ask her about the kids. Ask her out for wine — not a playdate — or to a movie or play. Moms are people, too, and sometimes they need to be reminded of it.
Offer to help, and be specific.
It took me a long time to acknowledge that I would absolutely need help as a mom. There is no way I can do this thing alone. I’m fortunate to have a real support system to lean on, and I’ve learned how to ask for help when I need it. The challenge is, sometimes I don’t know what’s appropriate to ask. I want a date night with my husband. Is it okay to ask you to babysit my daughter, or are you only available in emergency type situations? If you are going to offer to help a mom, be specific so that she’s not left stressing out for hours about whether or not it’s okay to ask you for a favor.
Wait until she asks for advice before offering it.
I’ve been in a lot of situations where I want to offer some advice for a situation a mom is having with their child, and just about every single time I’m glad I didn’t. Often, I will discover additional information that would have made my advice incorrect or even harmful. Trust that most moms have things under control, even though it may not look like it. She knows her child’s unique circumstances that lead to her doing things a certain way. If she needs help, she’ll ask for it.
Let her know that she’s doing a great job.
It’s easier now more than ever to let a mom friend know she’s doing a great job. When she posts a picture of her child doing something awesome, remind her how fantastic she is to make a child who’s so great. Have a playdate that went exceptionally well? Let the mom know how polite and kind her child is, and thank her for doing a bang-up job raising them. Kids don’t just become amazing on their own. Remind the mom about the importance of the part she is playing.
Compliment her mom skills in the moment.
I will never forget my first time taking my daughter out in public. She was 2 weeks old, and we went to Target. Yes, I have heard that babies shouldn’t be taken out until they are a month old, but my doctor said it was fine, and I did it. The trip was super short because she started crying and wouldn’t stop because #newbornproblems, and another mom said to me, “It’ll get better. You’re doing fine.” It was exactly what I needed. If you see a toddler throwing a tantrum and their mother trying to control the situation, let her know that she’s doing a great job staying calm. If her teenager is being moody, let her know that she must be doing a great job if her teen feels comfortable enough with her to show her true feelings. There’s always a compliment. Find it and give it.
Don’t judge her.
Trust me, moms are judging themselves enough already. Not a day goes by that I don’t question a parenting decision that I’ve made. Instead of judging a mom on a situation that you don’t have all of the information on, pray for her, send positive vibes her way, or better yet, ask her what she needs and offer support.
Show her grace.
When I first became a mom, I had no idea how exhausted I would be. I was working full-time, then coming home to take care of my baby. Whenever I had a free moment, the last thing I wanted to do most nights was talk on the telephone or go out somewhere. Just because you might be able to rip and run and go all the time, understand that other moms might be different. If she isn’t able to talk when you call, or if she declines to attend your event, show her grace and understanding.