|Back in those early days of motherhood... hard to believe now he was ever that little!|
1. You look beautiful today.All women need to hear this periodically, but especially stay at home moms that have young children. I mean, makeup? What's that? An actual hair style? Who are you kidding? Most days, it's the standard braid or ponytail... whatever gets your hair out of your face/your baby's chubby, moist grasp. But deep down, you don't want to be Frump Mom, you want someone to believe that you're still beautiful, even if you don't have the time (or let's face it - energy) to beautify. This is especially important for husbands to say to their wives. She NEEDS to know that even though she feels drained, even though she has crazy hair and may or may not have had time to shower today, even though she has stretch marks and a few extra pounds of baby weight still hanging on, you still think she's beautiful. Tell her!
2. How are you? And actually take time to listen to the response.It's so easy to let children become the focal point of every conversation. When you see a friend (or even acquaintance), we often fall into the trap of asking about the kids only and neglect to ask, "How are YOU". Trust me, she needs to know that she's still a valuable person, not just "Mom".
And probably the most important part... actually listen to her response. How many times have you asked someone, "How are you", but didn't really want to hear an answer other than "Fine"? It's programmed in us as part of "being polite" to ask "How are you?", but think about it - do you really WANT to know how she's doing? New Moms (especially the stay at home variety) are often discouraged, lonely, overwhelmed and need someone to truly listen and validate their feelings. You have the opportunity to be a blessing to this precious momma. Don't pass it up!
3. What do you think of .... ?Before she was "Mom", she was a person... an individual, with thoughts, opinions, and talents. She had dreams, plans, interests. Guess what? She still does. Ask her opinion. It will make her feel important.
4. Don't worry if you can't make it to...Moms of young children often miss out on group activities that they would really like to be a part of, for one reason or another. Sometimes, it's because they're too tired to go, or sometimes, they can't be away from their child for that length of time (such as a mom who nurses her baby, so she can't be away from her for more than a few hours).
She still wants to be "in the loop" and would really appreciate it if you took notes at that conference for her, or called her to fill her in on what was discussed at a group meeting, or recorded a video of that special event for her to watch later, or Skype your book discussion group so she can take part from home. Don't assume that she didn't WANT to attend an event or activity just because she didn't go. Take the time to make her feel like a part of the group!
5. Want to meet up for coffee?It may or may not be feasible for her to leave the kids for a few hours, but at the very least, she would appreciate the invitation to connect with another person. Although she may not be able to "girls night out" like she used to, every mom still needs her girl friends! Make it happen! Sister needs to know she's got friends.
6. You're unique and special and I'm glad to have you in my life.God created this woman to fulfill a unique role in His plan. No one else can be the person she is, with the unique gifts, talents, and personality she has. Think about what she means to you and what she's contributed to your life. Then, tell her.
7. You're a great mom.I don't care if you're 18 or 80. Every mom second guesses herself at one time or another. Every mom deals with guilt... she wonders, "Did I do that right?" or "What if...?" or "I hope that was the right decision." She might have screwed up. You may not agree with her choices all the time or her parenting style, but regardless, as a mom she is doing the best she can. That's all any of us can do. Reassure her that she's a great mom.
8. I love you.Every woman needs to know she's loved, but this is especially true for moms. She spends all her waking hours juggling demands, teething, tantrums, kissing boo boos and solving world problems (ok, so maybe it just seems like it at the time) and at the end of the day, she's WORN OUT! Her love tank is just on empty. Fill it up!
Let her know she's loved in every way you can. Tell her. Text her. E-mail her. Write her a mushy love note or a silly love poem. Buy her a small gift. Send her flowers. Give her a foot rub. Make her dinner. LOVE on her.
9. It's OK.She might be feeling overwhelmed, or guilty. (See #7.) The pressure to be a perfect mom is everywhere and it's easy for a mom to think she's falling short. Let her know it's OK.
- It's OK to leave the dishes undone. Spending time with the kids or the hubby is more important.
- It's OK not to finish everything on the To Do list. There's only so many hours in the day.
- It's OK to cry. She doesn't have to be the strong all the time.
- It's OK to mess up sometimes. God grants us grace for our mistakes.
- It's OK to be less than "Wonder Mom". No one is perfect.