Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mom Stuff

A few months ago, some moms from my church started getting together every couple of weeks to visit and to pray. Nothing formal really, just some much needed mom time. I thought about going, but came up with a million excuses why I shouldn't....my kids are older...I'd probaby be the oldest mom there...I have enough stuff on my plate right now...I like having a few mornings each week at home...etc, etc, etc. My friend, J, has been persistent in inviting me though, and I finally said "Okay, I'll come next time".

Yesterday was their get together, and I got up yesterday intending to go. John and I had a few minutes before the kids got up to talk over coffee/chai, and I confessed that I was already (in the span of a few minutes) feeling the pull to back out. I thought of about 6-8 things I could be doing at home, and I ran through my mental list of reasons NOT to go. Honestly, though, I don't like to break my word. If I say I'm going to do something, then I'm going to do it if it kills me. So, I told John I was going, because despite the self-talk, I knew that I needed to be around some other women.

I was so glad I went. There ended up being seven of us, and guess what? I wasn't even the oldest mom there! Most of them do have children much, much younger than mine, but as I sat and listened to them, I realized part of why I was supposed to be there yesterday.

When Abbey was a baby, I had quite a few friends who had children older than mine. We joined a small group shortly after we moved here, and the four other couples in our group had kids in high school and college while I was still toting a diaper bag filled with Cheerios and sippy cups everywhere I went! I can't tell you how many times they told me "it's just a season...it passes so quickly". I knew that in my head, but what I really needed was some empathy in the moment. I even had one friend who told me so many times to just "suck it up, Mer, you have a two year old...we've all been there, and we've all survived", and honestly, her lack of grace and compassion made me so angry that I finally stopped sharing anything with her. I needed a friend who could "hear" me, and who could be present with me in my state of exhaustion. Someone who would encourage me, but not belittle what I was feeling.

Even though I've moved past the infancy/toddler stage that most of those other moms are currently in, I'm not TOO far removed from it, and I realized that I can offer them my ear, my understanding, my empathy, and occasionally my help. I have a chance to offer to them what I desperately needed someone to offer to me in those difficult years with small children. Babies and toddlers are HARD work. So much of that season in my own life felt like mere survival. Only in the last couple of years have I really felt like I had somewhat of a handle on meals and laundry and housework and spiritual training.

I've been struggling a lot lately with some self-worth issues. God has been speaking into those areas and revealing some truth to me. He's calling me to believe what He says about me is true. I heard God tell me yesterday as I was driving to meet those other moms that I needed them, and that they needed me. Like I do all too often, I kinda shrugged it off because reallywhocouldpossiblyneed me? But isn't that a beautiful thing about the body of Christ? We all really do need each other.

17 comments:

Kellie said...

Awesome post mer. Sometimes I think you and i were cut from the same cloth!

Don't you find this time in motherhood to be very unique? We aren't needed as "physically" as we were in those toddler years, and the need for strong (and consistent) desire to be with other Mom's doesn't scream to be filled as much.

I had a group of gals that I raised my babies with. They are the girls with whom I have the strongest relationships with now. Only things are different now since we are scattered all over the nation!

However, I am also in this situation where I have mom's of toddlers who want my time, and I have to say that going to the park (and play dates) with constantly moving toddlers isn't high on my list of things to do. I have to remind myself that I DO desire a relationship with these young mom's and their sweet toddlers come with the package!

*carrie* said...

Mer,

Wish I could join that group! I appreciate what you said. I feel the way you did in my MOPS group. The other moms have at least one kid in school, and sometimes I wish I could talk to someone who's in the trenches of toddlerhood like me. I call my sister and sister-in-law a lot, because they definitely can relate!

I think you're wonderful!!

leigh said...

What a nice post. Being the mom of 3 preschoolers, I needed to hear that. Thanks.

Gretchen said...

Tears in my eyes because I could've written this post, too. Nearly word for word. Why is it that Christian moms are almost the worst offenders at pretending we have it all together? Because that's what it is. Pretending. Sometimes I think it's a blessing that I have anxiety and depressive tendencies and am open about them. Takes some of the pressure off of having to have it together. Of course there's also the mental illness stigma to deal with, so I'm not truly off the hook. ;) But, God is so faithful. He DID make us, and He DOES love us, and we ARE beautiful. And necessary. And worthwhile. I swear, this needs to be my mantra some days.

I'll pray for you. Not that this is here nor there, but "knowing you" has enriched my life considerably. God must've known I needed someone who was real. And awesome.

xxxooogretchen

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Thank you for remembering being with preschoolers & toddlers all day every day is exhausting. I've had moms of older kids and teenagers tell me that now's the easy time and it just gets harder when they get older. Not the most encouraging thing to hear! Some days you just want someone to acknowledge that this stage is hard and exhausting without offering any "advice." Thanks for doing that today. = )

Deidre said...

I love this post. You have no idea how apprehensive I am to attending any 'mom group'. I have such a fear of being compared to other Moms.

I'm so glad you went because yes, Meredith, we Moms of little ones do need you. We need the encouragment and the compassion. I know you were a blessing to those other Moms.

Barb said...

It's been 24 years since I had a two year old child of my own. I'm not counting my two year old Cameron because he's my grandchild and that's different.

But to this day, I'd never ever tell the mother of a two year old to suck it up. Mothering a two year old isn't something you EVER forget, for petes sake and anyone currently doing it needs encouragement and empathy.

This group sounds great and I'd imagine every mom there who has children younger than yours will be very thankful for your input.

Heck! The fact that you're even there at all is encouraging - proof positive that we do survive our two year olds. LOL

Julie said...

Mer,
That is SO cool how God used you!

You DO have SO much to offer!

I am glad you pushed forward!

Love ya,
Julie

Jennifer said...

I hear ya sista! I, too, am often thinking of why I am really 'here'. I do all the stuff that mom's 'do' and then it seems like that's it. I used to work outside the home with my two boys (12 and 9) and now with my daughter (4), I have the privilage of staying home. It's a privilage but I will say I don't have any idea how I did it all before. I haven't mastered the day now. There are many times when it's 6 p.m. and I can't decide what to have for dinner b/c I'm too exhausted. Then there are days when I've whipped up dinner, dessert, and did 5 loads of laundry.

I think it's just that we are in His hands and He guides us. My most favorite saying is from Steel Magnolias..........what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger!

From one 'magnolia' to another!

Meredith said...

As a mom of a preschooler and a baby who has had a really hard time with them today, I want to tell you that this post is great to read. I wish I had someone like you to encourage me in "real" life. I know those mothers today were blessed by your presence in their meeting.

Diane said...

Hi - just found your blog a few days ago through Lysa's. Love reading what you write! And oh, how I just about died reading it - it's sort of what I feel like with a 3 1/2 year old. Everyone says "it's a phase, it'll pass" and I can never figure out why that irritates me until I read what you wrote - I too just wanted someone to care, sympathize, etc. instead of just brushing it off. Now I don't feel so alone! Thanks for just making my night!! :-)

Kelly said...

You have SOOOOO much to offer those moms - you have so much wisdom and are such a great mom - they could learn so much from you. And I believe with all my heart that God lets us walk through things so we can minister to others and this is how God wants to use you in this situation! I'm glad you were sensitive enough to recongize it!!!

His Girl said...

I can't even find words for how cool it is to 'know you'... i love your perspective and your gift of encouragement- those moms will benefit in big ways because from those qualities. AWESOME!

Jenn said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. God used you to encourage me this morning - thank you for letting Him speak through you.

I remember when my oldest was a baby, I had a few moms in my life who had been though this season. They were such an encouragement to me and would take the time to listen, pray with me and offer advice as needed. I was so thankful for these mentors and they still hold a special place in my heart. You are so right these ladies need you - thank you for listening to God's promoting and leading.

At times I am so ready to be out of this season of survival mode and want to have things all together like meals and laundry. But even though it is hard, I want to cherish these years because they are only small for such a short time.

I know these women will be blessed by you and return you will be blessed by them.

Megan said...

This was so encouraging. Both to hear someone else say how hard the toddler/preschool years are and to be reminded that God can and does use us even when we have an inferiority complex. Thanks for sharing your heart!

CrownLaidDown said...

Yes friend, I DO need you. You are a blessing that I am so thankful to count every day :)

I'm calling you tomorrow, OK?
Thanks for praying for us!!
Love,
holly

realworldmartha said...

I enjoyed finding your blog and thought this was such a wonderful post.
I too can remember comments like that. My boys are older now (7 and 11) so I am like you in that way. Isn't it a strange blessing that you learned from those experiences and will not make another mom feel that way?
Don't forget how much God loves you! We are all part of a watch and each part is needed to make it work. One piece may be bigger but in the end it takes all the pieces to make the watch work. Keep remembering the Love Christ has for you!
Blessings,
Debbie aka The Real World Martha(S)