Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Moms Need Friends

One of the greatest things about having children is the grandchildren that eventually bless your life. Many of you who read my blog are young mothers and have never had the time to process this joy that is yet to come. While raising my kids,I never even thought about it. I can promise you one thing...it comes fast! Lets even go for two promises in this first paragraph. On your most difficult days as a mom, I can promise you will be rewarded for the effort you have put into your parenting in the form of grandchildren. Oh, the joy grandkids bring! I cannot even describe it. It is one of those things you have to experience.

My daughter Stacie just gave birth to her first baby. I was lucky enough to be invited to see little Ozzie born. At the moment this little guy made its way into this world, I was overwhelmed. Standing on the sidelines as Grandma, assisting with the birth, gave me an entirely new perspective. When I was giving birth, I was the one on the table watching as doctors and nurses scurried around. I know this is crazy, but I sometimes think it is easier to be the one on the table because you have such trust and faith in the doctors. As a mother watching her daughter bring this soul to us, I was a nervous wreck. I pride myself on staying calm. But I was ready to pounce on any doctor who messed it up! It was such a relief to see all the right parts in all the right places. Now it is over, I must thank the medical professionals for paying attention in class during med school and spending all those years honing their craft. They did an excellent job.

Birth is like death. I believe it brings the best out in people. My daughter and her husband live far away from ‘gammy’. As hard as that is on us, my kids are lucky because their friends are there for them. While I was there, these friends took the time to let me know they would be taking care of my kids and this new grandbaby. It is from these thoughtful gestures that I decided I needed to blog about friendships and how as parents we need the help of friends.

Whatever the crisis, we all get by with a little help from our friends. But we may need to lean a little harder on them when we have kids. True friends are hard to come by. We all have a variety of friends that meet our needs at different times and in different ways. When I talk about a true friend, I mean someone who will tell you the truth. Someone who will be there when you are depleted. Someone who knows what you need before you ask. Someone who treats your kids as their own. Believe it or not, there are people out there like this. The key to finding them is to emulate all of these characteristics in yourself.

Here are just a few suggestions:

A Sympathetic Ear:Listen to your friend without judging. Give her your time
and your understanding. Don’t try to solve her problem. Focus
on what your friend is feeling and validate those feelings.

A Helping Hand: Offer to watch her kids. Fill her refrigerator with
goodies.Help with the house. Mow her lawn. Fold the laundry.
Whatever you can see needs to be done...do it.

Offer Emotional Support: Check in with a phone call, an email or a card. Make
play dates with the kids. Go on walks to the park together.
Shop together. Tend each others kids while you take turns at
the gym.

One of the greatest gifts we can give each other is the opportunity to lend a hand. Chances are good that your friend will return the favor to you or someone else down the road. Don’t try to do it alone. Try to help or allow yourself to be helped through friends.