“Encourage one another, and build each other up...” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). What words of advice. I sometimes wonder how much less I might say if I would consistently heed these words...and then again, how much more I could say as well! Recently I have been thinking about how this applies to those of us who are moms. Are we encouraging one another and building each other up specifically as moms? When was the last time you told a fellow mother, in all sincerity, “You are doing a great job”?
Sometimes we “encourage” other moms by giving unsolicited advice, and that may actually have the opposite effect and come across as if saying, “You aren’t doing the right thing.” Now, if another mom is sinning in something she is or isn’t doing, that is one thing, but more often it is a matter of personal preference or opinion that we are quick to give input about. What works for others may not work for us, and vice-versa. Consider a few popular heated topics:
- Sleeping through the night versus waking to nurse or take a bottle
- Breast-feeding versus bottle-feeding
Obviously, as a mom of young children I am thinking primarily of the younger years, but I know that with every stage come issues about which moms have strong opinions. How about asking each other, “Is that working for you?” instead of being too quick to offer that unsolicited advice. Or ask, “Would you like me to share with helped me with that?” If she doesn’t, determine not to be offended! People are more important than preferences.
As moms, there are many times when we question if we are doing the right thing, making the best decisions in raising our children. (At least I do!) If we are Christians, we are usually diligently praying for God’s wisdom and help for this most challenging task. Let’s strive to encourage one another along this journey of motherhood, which feels like a journey into the Twilight Zone from time to time. Here are some ideas to get you started thinking about how to encourage your mom-friends:
Encourage moms who feel frazzled with the baby stage that they have an important job, even when it feels like the only thing they can accomplish in a day is changing diapers, feeding baby, and hopefully getting a shower. It will be worth all their effort.
Encourage moms who are exhausted with toddlers to be consistent with disciplining those little children and a reminder that playing with them really is more important than cleaning the house. And keep a sense of humor!
Encourage moms busy with other children to cherish the days and moments with their kids (especially during those busy school years) and that God is faithful to those who ask Him for wisdom to handle the challenges that seem to come with every parenting “season.” Make memories that will last a lifetime -- for mom and kids.
Moms with children of every age -- from infancy to grown adults -- benefit from encouragement. There are moms who have children at every age and stage of life -- all at the same time! Be encouraging -- and then when a friend and fellow mom really does want some advice, she will probably come to you because she knows you are a safe place for her to share her struggles and concerns; someone who is right there with her, learning and growing as a mom after God’s own heart.