What’s one of the kindest resolutions you could make this year? Why not promise to show more support to those who add richness to your life — your friendship circle?
If you have pals who parent, you know they face unique challenges that the child-free set might not always empathize with as much as they could. Here are eight ways to support your mom-friends this year and always.
If you know someone struggling financially right now, the fact that they aren’t alone probably provides cold comfort. Times are tough when food banks report 60% increases in demand. If you’re doing better than most financially and can afford to help them out, why not put some of that stimulus money to the kindest cause imaginable — you know the cash isn’t going to pad a charity executive’s salary.
Financial crises aren’t the only reason moms struggle. Parents of special needs children often rely on teachers trained in individualizing education and providing behavioral coaching, but those professionals can’t be there 24/7. Ask your friend what interventions work best, and step up to the plate when her tyke darts off while she’s got an armful of groceries.
If you don’t have children yourself, you might not relate to the mom-experience. However, that shouldn’t stop you from being a supportive friend.
Practice active listening by not interrupting and refraining from judging and jumping to conclusions. Saying, “Oh, I know,” when they kvetch about 3 a.m. diaper duty when they know you avoid all things toddler is a surefire way to let them know your mind is on your upcoming date, not your time spent with them.
Sometimes, your mom-friends might shy away from invitations because they aren’t sure whether they can bring their little ones or not. Please don’t burden them with having to ask.
Instead, the next time you invite them to a get-together, let them know whether or not little ones are welcome. If you want to see them more often, it’s best to make events like barbecues toddler-friendly. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with an adult girls’ night, but you should also cue them in that little ones aren’t allowed — lest things get uncomfortable when your crew decides to bar-hop.
It’s challenging for parents to find a babysitter whom they can trust. They have to pay for background check services, and some go so far as to drug-test applicants.
However, as a friend, they probably trust you. If you don’t mind working with little ones and have some experience, offer to babysit. It’s helpful to brush up on skills like infant and child CPR to ease their minds further.
Did you get into the gardening craze during the lockdown? If you did and plan to return to the dirt this spring, why not swap treats with a mom-friend and neighbor?
You can put your collective heads together and avoid ever shopping the produce section if you’re clever. Even if you don’t have a community garden space, one of you can agree to grow peppers and beans while another tackles leafy greens and tomatoes. You’ll both save considerable cash.
Food prep can save you considerable time and money, but working mothers often should themselves into doing it when all their body craves is a nap. Parenting, after all, is a full-time job, and tacking on another outside of that can quickly grow overwhelming.
If you make similar dishes, why not ask your friend if you can chop up their carrots or mince their hard salad veggies for the week? If you have a handy-dandy gadget, and they rely on their hands, you could save them an hour or more of time.
You probably think nothing of hitting the store when you realize you’re out of sugar. However, moms need to do more than slide on a pair of shoes. They have to get their tykes ready, and that can take some time in the winter cold.
Show your friend how much you care in seconds by texting, “Stopping at X store — need anything” next time you hit the warehouse or big box. Even if they aren’t fresh out of black pepper, they’ll appreciate the thought.
Parenthood changes everything, including friendships. While 69% of women felt satisfied with their circle before giving birth, only 54% felt similarly afterward.
Oftentimes, new moms feel left out of activities they previously enjoyed. Go ahead and invite them to happy hour even when you know they have to pick up the kids at soccer practice. It lets them know they are still a valued part of your tribe.
If you have mom friends, please consider supporting them in these eight ways this year. After the chaos that was 2020, we can all use extra TLC — especially exhausted parents.