There is this thing happening in the world. It is destroying our relationships. It is hurting how we view ourselves. It is affecting our children. What is this destructive power?
Let me explain. Ever been in one of these situations?
Friend A: I’m having such a tough time lately with my daughter. She is so stubborn and I’m just not sure how to stay strong.
Friend B: Well, at least she doesn’t have cancer.
Friend A: I just dropped my son off for college.
Friend B: Just wait until he gets married; it gets harder.
Friend A: I have such a hard time worrying about my toddler. She is so accident prone and I’m always thinking of the worst things that could happen to her.
Friend B: You don’t know worry until you have teenagers.
Do you see what happens there in every single one of these scenarios? Friend B is worried much more with the stage they are currently in that they aren’t taking the time to pause and listen and hear their friend. Yikes, we’ve all been here I bet. Either as friend A or friend B.
Every season of motherhood has its unique challenges, frustrations and pain. Equally, every aspect of motherhood has immense joy and success and wonder.
We need to stop minimizing each other’s struggles and stories. Instead, we need to learn to listen and love each other well. Just because something may be harder down the road, or someone may be struggling with something different, it doesn’t mean expressing where we are now is a negative thing nor is seeking understanding from those around you.
Let’s level the playfield and all just agree we are in this thing together. I yearn to learn from mothers of teenagers so I am more prepared when I get there. Moms, we need to unite, not separate ourselves, not look down on one another. We each have a story to share. And, I think, if we can become better at hearing each other’s stories then grace will abound and judgement will diminish. Your story and the phase you are in isn’t better or worse than mine.
To start, let’s ban the following:
“Just wait until…”
“it only gets harder when…”
“You have no idea…”
“At least your kid doesn’t/isn’t/won’t….”
Instead let’s use the following:
“It sounds like you are going through a tough time. Can we pray about it?”
“I remember those days. They are tough. Hang in there momma.”
“I hear you. I understand.”
“I was there. But, I’m living proof you can do this hard thing. Stay strong.”
Starting now. Let’s listen well to each other’s stories and struggles. Let’s build each other up rather than tear each other down. Let’s stop criticizing and instead find ways to spread hope and encouragement.
It’s not easy to stop yourself from turning a conversation around and making it about yourself. I do it all the time; I’m guessing you do too. But, let’s band together and make the self-focus stop. Next time you have a friend sharing life with you – LISTEN. Don’t interrupt their story with your own. Instead, walk alongside them, holding them up when needed, being a shoulder to cry on, an ear to talk to, a friend. We will all go through things at different times, some of us will have a much harder journey than others. We need each other at every single turn.
We can do this hard thing, mommas. I know we can.