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Where Are The REAL Moms?

Do you ever feel afraid to be REAL with other moms, when you are talking about  your baby, or your kids? How often do you hesitate to share some of your struggles or questions with other moms, fearing that you are the only mom who struggles with that problem? Perhaps you fear that you will be judged if you are “real as a mom”, and honestly share what is going on with you. It is easy to look around and wonder where the REAL moms are!

The truth is that ALL moms struggle with questions and doubts. This is true whether it’s your FIRST child, or in my case, the EIGHTH CHILD!

Praying Biblical Virtues 30 Day

I have had times where I wasn’t sure how to handle things with the kids at various ages; there were times when I felt guilty for handling them “wrong”. Other times I felt certain that I was a failure as a mom, because all the other moms had it so together, and I was falling apart!

My kids are older now, but yesterday I was reminded of the importance of being REAL as moms – not hiding our struggles, and also not judging others for how they parent.

My daughter Ruth, first time mom to little seven-month old Tori, spent the afternoon yesterday visiting with another new Mom, and her little one. Afterwards, she posted this on her Facebook page:

 Thankful for a good play date today, a.k.a. time for the mommies. It is always great to spend time with an encouraging, like minded friend. I love it that I can be real with her. We need more people like this.

 

HOW DO WE “KEEP IT REAL”?

 1. Be honest.

It has always been very refreshing to me to have a mom open up to me about some of her struggles, and be honest. I remember the time one mom, who seemed to always be calm and collected, admitted that she got mad at her kids at times! I was SO shocked, because I just didn’t think that SHE ever got mad at her kids, or got impatient with them.

Her honesty encouraged me. It let me know that it’s okay to sometimes mess up, and that it happens to the “best” of moms.

2. Find a friend who you feel free to be “real”with.

Tell your friend when you are struggling and discouraged, whether it be from fatigue or feeling like your child is driving you crazy. Friendships will get you through those hard days!

I was blessed with a dear friend when we both had young ones, and were still having babies. We frequently called each other on rough days, and “compared notes”. If she was having a good day, she’d encourage me. If she was having a bad day when I was, we would encourage each other.

Just knowing we weren’t alone in our struggles was encouraging.

 3. Don’t come across as though you have it all together.

I don’t think that moms intentionally give that signal, but sometimes without meaning to we can come across that way. For example, if another mom is expressing something going on with one of her kids, it’s probably not real helpful to respond with, “Really? None of my kids EVER did that!”

If another mom mentions how they feel they can’t keep up with the laundry and housework, let them know you have had the same struggle! Sometimes it’s just hard to keep up with everything when you have a new little one, or several little ones.

Even if you may be doing better at keeping up on things at this point in your life, let other moms know that IS something you have often struggled with.

4. Admit that sometimes (often?) you really don’t know what you are doing in your parenting!

If you’re honest, you will admit that parenting is something that kind of catches you unaware. It looks easier than it is! There are times when you do not know what to do. My philosophy is: when in doubt, fake it!

The good thing about not knowing what you’re doing, is that it keeps you depending on the Lord!

5. Don’t focus totally on the negatives and the struggles.

I think it’s good and helpful to talk to other moms about the hard things that you are dealing with. But stay positive, even when it’s hard.

For example, when you are looking forward to an outing with no kids,it’s fine and normal to be excited. However, don’t let yourself get to thinking how much you just need to get away from these kids, how they are annoying you, etc.

You don’t want to focus on how hard it is, or how you will NEVER catch up on you sleep, etc. But it’s okay to sometimes say you’re having a hard time with it. Then move on to some ideas to help, and some positive talk.

6. Don’t have the attitude that YOUR way is the best way.

So many moms are timid about admitting that they don’t breastfeed, they started their baby on food at 3 months, their baby sleeps with them, etc. Just because YOU haven’t chosen that way, doesn’t mean their way is wrong.

Each child and each family is different, so you have to choose what is best for YOUR family.

What are some ways that you can be more real, and be an encouragement to a mom who may be struggling and needs to know she’s not alone? Share some of your thoughts in the comments![magicactionbox]

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20 Responses

  1. God bless you Jill for investing in the life of your sweet grandbaby!

  2. I’m a gramma raising a 4 yr old that I’ve had since birth. And none of my friends are raising their grandkids so I’m totally alone. I have my days of frustration too. Hang in there ladies!! We’re all in this together even if some of us are doing it the second time around.

  3. Lucy, it’s sad that the first friend said that to you. Taking time to refresh and renew your spirit isn’t selfish! The 2nd friend nailed it. 🙂

  4. Some fabulous tips there.
    I am sometimes guilty of trying to be the perfect mum, and wanting people to think I am doing a good job.
    After I had had my first child (now 4), I said to a friend that I was looking forward to visiting my mum because she was having Lily through the night and I was so tired. her response was to call me selfish and tell me to look after my own baby. That left me feeling awful, and afraid to share my parenting journey again.
    However recently, a friend I hadn’t seen in a while came round for a surprise visit, to my messy house (we were in the middle of a crafting experiment), when I apologised for the mess and said I was normally much tidier she gave me a hug and said she came to see me and the girls not my house, and besides it looked like we were having fun. that made me feel brilliant, and not judges.
    I think it is important to remember to be yourself and not worry about the people who want to judge, but instead focus on the people who give you support, encouragement, and inspiration.

  5. What a great friend! She didn’t make you feel like a bad mom, but rather let you know that could relate! So true that we have more in common with each other than we all usually think, as moms! Thanks for stopping in. 🙂

  6. I have a friend who after I lost my patience with my kids in front of her told me she “loved me”. It’s funny to think about how many moms I thought had it all together and then when you see them raise their voice or lose their patience, you realize that most of the time we have a lot more in common than that you originally thought. Stopping by from Homemaking Linkup Have a great end to the week!

  7. Marina, so glad you have that small group where you can be real! It’s hard enough being a mom – much better when you can be real and don’t have to fake perfect!

  8. I have a small group of friends where we all can be real moms.. but with most of other people, it can be really judgmental.. Everyone is trying to look perfect.

  9. Sara, thanks for your encouraging words!

  10. Great post! Being authentic is so important; I think it is hard to find that middle ground of being real about what is going on, but not complaining about it all the time. I think we too often fall into the trap of believing that we are being authentic in our relationships if we just complain about how we aren’t happy. To me, that just feels like we are ignoring all of the blessings we really have and it just as damaging because it isn’t actually isn’t real either. We have to be real in order to really lift each other up- love your thoughts!
    -Sara, uncommongrace.net

  11. Julie, thanks for stopping in from the link up! So glad you found that friend! It’s not something that you can just set out to do – it’s just something that happens when God brings someone like-minded into your life.

  12. Robin, thanks for stopping in! I don’t know why we try to fake it – I think it’s just that we think other moms do things better than we do, so we don’t want to admit when there are struggles.

  13. Yes, listening is very important! New moms love to talk about their baby, and also what they aren’t sure about in their parenting. They need someone to just listen and encourage them.

  14. #2 is a big one for me. I finally have that friend. We have kids that are 20 days apart that are best friends. So we have formed a close friendship as well. I love that I can real with her, right down to showing up on her doorstep in yoga pants when I haven’t showered in 3 days. 😉

    (visiting from the Mom 2 Mom Monday link-up)

  15. Love this! So true why do we have to try to fake it? We all struggle why not share it with each other and help each other out. I really have to work on listening more to others, because I can sometimes be a know it all. Thanks so much for sharing such great insight and great reminders to be more real with other mothers.

  16. I think a big thing to help out new mothers is just to listen. I like your tip to not say that “my kids never did that!” Speaking as a mother, it doesn’t help when someone else says that when you are trying to open up. I have a church group of moms that have children about the same age as my toddler and baby that I like to bounce ideas off of. Thanks for the post Kathie!

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