3 Ways to Better Serve Moms in the Trenches with Young Children
It had been one of those mornings already. I’d been up 2-3 times at night with my newborn, my two-year-old was in one of her moods resisting my authority on just about everything, and my four-year-old had to get out the door for preschool. We were running late and my husband had already been at work for two hours. I still had the whole day ahead of me.
I felt like I was going to have a panic attack from all the responsibilities on my shoulders, not to mention the laundry piled up, snacks all over the floor, and constant noise and screaming echoing from the hard wood floors. It was all I could do to get my own clothes on.
To my surprise later that day, my new friend AnnElise from my Mother’s of Preschoolers Group asked if she could pop in with her kids to say hello. I was excited for her company. At the doorstep, her arms were filled with flowers, an entire meal of homemade enchiladas, rice, beans, made from scratch cupcakes, toys for the kids, nutrition bars, and more.
My draw dropped and I almost cried. AnnElise had no idea what my morning looked like, but she knew I had a newborn and two young kids to care for. She was in the same boat as me. Her acts of kindness helped me in my pit of despair and were a tangible reminder of God’s love and how he saw me in my desperation and weakness.
All moms of young children face unique challenges: sleep deprivation, constant demands for attention, discipline challenges, depression, anxiety, fears, a sense of losing control, a difficult spouse, and loneliness just to mention a few. They need a helping hand, but are often unsure how to ask for it or may feel like a burden to others—even though they’re not.
So how can we better encourage and love other moms with young children who need to know we see them and care? The truth is that we’re all in this together. Here are just a few ways.
1.) Give date night money or gift cards.
There’s a special couple in our church that gives my husband and I babysitting money each month so we can prioritize our marriage. I can’t even tell you how this has encouraged us as parents. We know they’re cheering us on and care about our relationship so they decided to meet a tangible financial need in our budget for childcare. Every time I open their envelope, it feels like God is giving me a big hug. It also reminds me how our marriage must come first and I better schedule our date night for the week!
Gift cards, cash, or any kind of financial help is huge for parents raising young kids. Your financial help can go toward a nice meal out, unexpected expense, a trip as a family, and more. A simple $20 gift card to Starbucks, Chick-fil-a, or Subway can go a long way for a mom. It can also help her escape cabin fever from being inside the home too long with napping babies.
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…” – Romans 12:10
2.) Offer to watch her children in exchange for sanity.
No matter who you are, a break for solitude in the mundane of life is like balm to the soul. Offering to watch her children for a few hours can help her get the much needed time away to be a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend. Sometimes all it takes is just a few hours to herself to remember she’s more than just “Mom… mom… mom!?” She has real gifts, passions, and needs too.
Encourage her to use that time to spoil herself, get her nails done, hair highlighted, or simply get exercise alone. Consider swapping kids with her for a few hours at a future date.
Anytime someone has asked me as a mom of four what I need most, I will always say, “quiet time!”
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2
3.) Bring her a meal.
I know hospitality isn’t everyone’s gift. Fears can loom from the thought of making lasagna or meatloaf or anything for that matter. I know because I’m not really gifted in helps. But let me tell you, providing a meal for an exhausted mom is HUGE. Okay, it’s not just huge, it’s MASSIVE. And it doesn’t have to be extravagant, just kid-friendly. The internet is your best friend for finding easy, good meals that kids will eat.
Bringing her a meal also means you’re giving her a break from the kitchen and the time required to prepare food while little ones constantly tug on her legs. When you’re making your family’s meal, double the recipe and give the remaining to a mom in need. Add a few sides and a dessert and you’re good to go. Providing a meal is perhaps one of the best tangible ways to feed their bellies and their souls. You’re meeting their most basic needs.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” – Galatians 5:22
There are many other ways to love on and serve the moms in your life who need to know how much you care (feel free to comment with your own ideas). Hopefully these will provide some inspiration for you to extend out your arms a little wider. Don’t wait for someone else to fill the need, but be the first one to meet it. Not only will they benefit from your love and service, but you’ll be encouraged and fulfilled in your own life and faith, too.
And if you need to like my friend AnnElise, just show up at the front door.
Blessings to you,