How To Love A Mom


28 Posted in (in)courage

Remember when I almost got deported from Scotland because I had visited Czech Republic? I was visiting my friends Jake and Melissa.

Melissa is a mom. I have lots of mom friends even though I, in fact, am not a mom. Friendship between moms and singles can be hard to maneuver, but I love Melissa’s perspective. [I'll share my thoughts tomorrow....] I also love that Melissa cares enough to have this conversation. I’m excited to let you in.

So here is what Melissa has to say.

. . . . .

Mel and kiddos

Beyond Babysitting: How to Love A Mom

I annoy people.

I complain about being tired.

I cause people to look away when they realize they’ve seen me in the same pair of yoga pants three days in a row.

I talk about my kids. A lot.

I’m in the dregs I have three urchins, [5, 3 and 4 months]. The rubber has met the road, and life. is. hard right now.

Living in Europe was supposed to mean long romantic days of carefree exploration. Nooks, crannies and cobblestones. I’m not complaining. I can see a castle from my bedroom window. I hear Sound of Music-style church bells every day at noon.

But for me, one of the hardest things about this season is fighting my own covetous heart. The carefree abandon of European romance hasn’t really met me here.

Instead, my days are structured around naps, snacks, and wash cycles. It can be very lonely, and I realize that I’m often mourning time spent with friends that doesn’t have to be scheduled three months in advance.

Sometimes I have the privilege of leaving everyone at home and going out for a night with the girls. Sometimes a sweet friend offers to babysit so that Jake & I can go out without taking out a loan to pay a sitter. But a lot of times, I have to stay the course, and I would love for my single friends, to enter my world. NOT take over so that I can escape my world, but enter it, be here, with me.

What does this look like? A few ideas:

Come Over Early—my day is divided into two parts (pre-nap, post-nap), and, on many days, it starts at 5:30. Once everyone’s fed, dressed & corralled (around 8), I’m looking for something, anything, to do. Be willing to hang out early.

Hitch a Ride!– I love it when my friends come along for afternoon school pickup. If we need to chat, it’s a good time to talk through ideas without having to schedule a whole separate time for coffee, babysitter, etc.

OR…

Join Us!– 99% of the people in my neighborhood don’t speak English. Often that makes outings feel really lonely. Yes, I know that the playground is a great opportunity to practice my Czech, but sometimes the weariness is overwhelming, though I still long for adult conversation. Your presence at the pool, the playground or the zoo can turn another lonely afternoon into one that feels life-giving and refreshing.

Be patient– When we’re together, realize that my mind is on an infinite balance beam. I’m doing my best to really engage with what you’re saying, but I’ve also got an ear on what’s happening in the backseat. It’s true, my kids are not allowed to interrupt, and they must wait patiently when two adults are talking, but I’m also having to listen for real, legitimate questions and needs that arise. If your story is non-stop, I’m going focus my attention on finding a chance to interrupt you to check on everyone’s status, rather than being able to relax and hear what you’re saying.

Spend the Night!– We’re privileged to have a guest room, and many nights it’s free & ready for anyone who wants to drop by. The best part of slumber parties is that quality time can happen after the kids’ bedtime AND go into the next morning (see #1).

BUT…

Watch that Clock– if you’re at my house and it’s after 10:30, you should know that I’m hurting. I’ve been up since 5:30 (again, see #1), and no matter what time we go to bed, I’ll be up at 5:30 again tomorrow. Every additional minute that goes by is like a chisel slowly chip-chip-chipping away at my chance of functioning well in the day ahead.

Use Me!– Ten years ago I got married, and a bunch of my mom’s friends gave me a bunch of great stuff. Need a spring form pan? I‘ve got one. Need 8 more sets of silverware for your big crowd? Use mine. If I can’t help you throw the fun party with hanging lanterns and stick mustaches and photo booths, I can live vicariously through you if I know my forks will be there. And that’s fun, too.

So come visit— I’d love to walk with you over the 700-year-old bridge or introduce you to my ‘secret’ entrance to the castle a mile from my house [it’s true—Annie’s seen it!].

Or maybe we could just jump on the trampoline and push the swings together.

. . . . .

Moms out there, do you agree? How do we love each other well? I think this is a super important conversation to have… so no matter where you fall on the mom spectrum – not one, almost one, one of many, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  1. Pam Alligood says:
    January 28, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Thank you for your focus Annie. Melissa is awesome.

    Reply

    • Annie says:
      January 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      Agreed. :)

      Reply

  2. Russanna Cook says:
    January 28, 2013 at 8:32 am

    As a mom, I love this list! I am so blessed with three dear single friends who have just made themselves right at home among our family. For my son’s first birthday, one of them even gave my husband and me a gift card to a restaurant and offered to babysit – date night on her! Thanks for sharing this perspective.

    Reply

    • Annie says:
      January 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      That’s a great idea! What sweet friends.

      Reply

  3. Dave Kulp says:
    January 28, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Wonderful mother and great article. Looking forward to coming over early, not staying too late, jumping on trampolines and enjoying your kids with you. I will jump on the trampolines, and yes…you must show me the secret door.

    Reply

    • Annie says:
      January 28, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      Agreed on all fronts, Dave. :)

      Reply

  4. January 28, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Thank you, Annie & Mellisa for sharing these wonderful ideas & your friendship!
    These suggestions are great for all of us no matter where we are in life!
    My kids are grown and often I do some of these things with my friends who have younger children or have become a single parent. Being intentional and making those visits happen is something I strive towards and am always blessed by any amount of time we get to enjoy together!

    Reply

    • Annie says:
      January 28, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      Great point, Pinky. Intentionality is the best thing.

      Reply

  5. Merideth says:
    January 28, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I love this Annie and Melissa. Being a single gal still too I find it hard sometimes navigating things with my married/mom friends. I love Melissa’s suggestions and will definitely keep them in mind. Melissa, you make me want to go visit you and see that castle. Thanks for sharing this. Now you need to do the opposite post. Have someone single suggest how the married/mom friends can love on their single friends.

    Reply

    • Melissa says:
      January 28, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Yes– would LOVE to see the ‘opposite’ post!

      Reply

    • Annie says:
      January 28, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      Coming tomorrow! :)

      Reply

  6. Cassie says:
    January 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I absolutely love this post! Thank you, Annie & Melissa! As a married gal who doesn’t yet have kids, it’s hard to have perspective on what my mom friends are going through sometimes (and how their lives have changed from our carefree late nights filled with wine and chit chat!) Thank you for these great tips

    Reply

    • Annie says:
      January 28, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      I thought the same thing – I had literally never considered going over to hang out at 8am, but that makes tons of sense!

      Reply

  7. erin says:
    January 28, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I so appreciate this post. As a single gal, it seems another friend either is getting engaged, married, or having a baby every month. I totally delight in that — yet I know that with those things, the relationship changes. These tips are so practical and helpful for me to keep the friendship alive despite life changes. Thanks!

    Reply

  8. Kristen Chandler Toth says:
    January 28, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Great guest-blog, Annie and Melissa! Glad you can be that for Face, Annie. I’ve had some amazingly great single (or yet-childless) friends that helped fill that loneliness gap of being a stay-at-home mom with little ones. When I had a 4 year-old, 3 year-old, and twin babies my husband deployed and a friend came to my house regularly during “nap” time (when some of the 4 kids were asleep) and stayed for 30-45 minutes so I could go for a run. That friend is one of my favorite people. It meant so much to me.

    Reply

  9. Shay says:
    January 28, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I am not married. I agree with everything said in it! I am eager to hear Annie’s single point of view. I know that my married friends and I struggle because we both have to be willing to give to each other. I have to remind myself that I need to be the more flexible one because I do not have kids and a husband. But, it is hard when the married friends don’t meet in the middle.

    Reply

  10. Larissa says:
    January 28, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    I love this post. I am always trying to figure out how to navigate friendship with my married/mom friends! I love being able to babysit, and serve them in anyway possible, but I love being able to step into their world a little. I think it helps me put my life into perspective. I also think this is what community and the body of Christ is about, living life on life.

    Thanks for this post!

    Reply

  11. Laura says:
    January 28, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    It’s always tricky knowing how to best encourage and help my friends who are moms without making life more difficult for them. Thanks for the great tips!

    Reply

  12. January 28, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Melissa, girl, what a fantastic way to put all this in words. Incredible Post! I agree! I love the “be patient” and “watch the clock” ones especially!

    And also, “be patient” in that conversation because I need to listen to see if my boys are killing each other or outside on top of the roof or something!!!! They are good boys, but you just never know!

    Reply

  13. Megan says:
    January 29, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I’d like to add some points in the “moms whose children live on a different continent” category please. And most of them involve wine.

    Reply

  14. TRS says:
    January 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    come over at 8:00am? I’m single…. I have to work!! no sugar daddy at my house!

    And sorry, but if someone is still at your house at 10:30 pm they’re a dolt and you are well within your rights to tell/ask them to leave!
    I admit that I’m prone to overstaying my welcome – but my friends know this about me and that they’re supposed to kick me out.


    From the single woman — it wouldn’t kill you to acknowledge that I got gyped when it comes to not being able to have kids (at 42 and no husband in site) Don’t tell me to just accept God’s plan when we both know you would have pulled your hair out if you hadn’t met your husband prior to turning 30! Of course I accept God’s plan, but that doesn’t mean I’m not lonely sometimes and sad that I’ll never ever experience pregnancy or childbirth (never mind sex)
    The correct answer is, “You would have been a wonderful mother. It’s not fair that you didn’t get to have kids.”

    PLEASE don’t tell me I could still have kids. I’m not a millionaire and I’ll never do IVF.

    Reply

  15. Shireen says:
    January 30, 2013 at 11:06 am

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! Such a great and true representation of my life right now and how I still long and LOVE friendships. We work with college students and young adults right now and I miss hanging out and chatting about life…especially chats about things other than kids! So great Melissa! Thanks Annie for doing this!

    Reply

  16. sandi says:
    January 30, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    from a mom perspective this is a great article. i am glad to have single friends that bend and understand that i can’t just go at the drop of a hat. now that my older two are in school (the youngest only goes three 1/2 days) i enjoy meeting friends for breakfast before they go to work. or for a quick lunch before picking up the 1/2 day child. when we both are flexible things work much better. the other night i had a three hour conversation with a friend that just moved away… we talked about everything (make up, wrinkle creams :-), health stuff, her new job) until the last few minutes when she asked about the children. it was so much fun to not have a child centered conversation!
    what a great list!

    Reply

  17. Ashley - Embracing Beauty says:
    January 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Wow, I absolutely love this!!! I can relate in so many ways!

    Reply

  18. Kelli says:
    January 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    This is one of the best things I’ve read on this topic. I feel the same as Melissa, albeit in the great metropolis of Macon, GA. It’s lonely being home with three little kids 24/7, but I am learning that all of this life, no matter what stage you’re in, is a season. Each is relatively short, each is a blessing, and while God doesn’t always rescue us from hard and lonely times, He often rescues us through them. Thanks do much for your perspectives!

    Reply

  19. Sarah R says:
    January 31, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Love this! As a married mom, I can totally relate to some of what she’s saying.
    I would also love to see a follow up blog about how we, as married moms, can serve our single/non-mom friends. I know that sometimes we get caught up in our husbands, kids, school, pregnancy horrors, parenting struggles, etc…and forget that in order to have true fellowship, both parties must be engaged. Of course, these things aren’t banned from conversation…but just remembering to be sensitive to our single or non-mom friends and what THEIR lives are like and what THEY are going through is equally important. :)

    Reply

    • Sarah R says:
      January 31, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Oh and I just saw that Annie will be sharing her thoughts tomorrow from the single’s point of view! AWESOME! :) lol

      Reply

  20. February 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    [...] couple of weeks ago Melissa had a guest post on our friend Annie’s blog. Side note: our friend Annie is a real writer, and a good one. [...]

    Reply

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