I had the pleasure of meeting with a few mommies the other night who had children three years old and under. I wanted to hear from them about the kind of challenges they were facing and how I could write to encourage them. Boy, hearing from them brought back soooooo many memories. So many feelings.
They told me how they were struggling in some of their friendships as they chose to parent differently. One major challenge they faced was that so many ladies they knew were choosing to go back to work, and their decision to stay home caused conflict in their friendship. Sometimes their other “new mommy” friends wanted to go back to work…some of them had no choice. But this was causing friction and I remember experiencing that so well! It was tough to work through that with some of my friends.
Other things like scheduling, disciplining, and just having a different set of standards than their friends as mothers were all concerns they had in common.
And then I remembered a valuable nugget.
When Daly Kay, Ryli and Bliss were 3, 2, and 1, I was very much in the same boat. Of the few friends I did have, by the time Daly Kay was three, many of them had gone back to work or had such a different outlook in parenting, that there was this period of real loneliness.
To make matters worse, when they did disagree with different decisions I made, it wasn’t like I was some parenting expert with a 35 year old successful adult child I could point to and say, “See, I have done this before and it worked!” Jeez, at the time I was only 24 with a husband who was just trying to figure this out like I was– and three rascally little girls, born inside of 35 months from each other! How did I know what I was doing was gonna really stick? How did I know what we were doing would really work?
So these “friends” and their opinions were barbs that stuck in my heart. They brought about fear and pain as one by one many of my friends went their own way and I was left to wonder many nights if David and I were crazy.
But now, my oldest is 20. And she is AWESOME. And Ryli is 18, and she is a ROCK STAR. And Bliss is 17…and just a KNOCKOUT…inside and out. And yes, they are still young and not perfect, but those decisions I made early on that may have cost us some friendships were well worth the price. The painful separations that happened and made me lonely only caused me to cling tighter to my Savior who was so faithful to give us wisdom. And I can stand here and confidently say to all you mommas out there struggling over tenuous friendships because of the difficult choices you are making – STAND FIRM. Stand firm in your purpose and in His wisdom that He will graciously lavish upon you. Believe With Me that He wants to do something great in the lives of your children and that will require you to make hard calls, tough decisions, and stand out in a world that minimizes this incredible high calling of motherhood. Use the pain these difficult challenges bring you to draw you nearer to a Redeemer who desires a more intimate friendship with you than any of those woman could ever give you anyhow. Above all, rest that the outcome is sure, even if these “friendships” are not. You’re gonna do great. I mean, if God can use ME, He can surely use anyone to raise up some amazing kids. And for certain, He wants to use YOU.
[bctt tweet=”Stand firm in your purpose and in His wisdom that He will graciously lavish upon you. “]
It’ll all be worth it.
It can just take a couple of decades to see the fruit. 😉
*****And I would also add it is valuable to consistently work through some of these issues with your friends and see if your different outlooks can be respected and admired without being considered wrong or bad. There will be times when a friendship does become irreconcilable, but many times I wonder if through better communication, some of these challenges can just be appreciated as differences. I look back now and see that while I may have personally chosen to stay home with my children, my girlfriends desire to go back to work did not necessarily mean that she was right and I was wrong– or vice-versa. It meant we had two different outlooks, not one wrong way and one right way to do things.