As a mother you naturally tend to spend a lot of time around other mothers. They are ‘one of your kind’ and being a mother is the thread that connects you. Within this ‘mother’s club,’ you sometimes see mothers struggling with the constant and challenging demands that everyday family life can produce. We have all gone through days and weeks when things seem to feel hopeless but sadly instead of support we are harshly criticised by other mothers. Instead of a being embraced and supported by our peers, we are left to flounder in a hostile environment. Hearing a group of mothers with nothing better to do than criticise another mother is a really disheartening experience. Especially when in a majority of cases the gossip has been manufactured by a person whose sole purpose is to make themselves feel better at the expense of another mother. Also from experience I have found that most gossip is exaggerated, false and utterly unoriginal. So why do we actively or passively partake in these discussions which shamelessly undermine another mother?
We may not contribute to the gossip but we are participating in undermining another mother by listening to it.
I enjoy it when you meet a mother who as been the target of the ‘the gossip group’ and discover that she is a lovely person. More often than not, chances are that if you take the time to speak to the ‘outcasted’ mother you will find her to be a ‘nice person’. Everyone has a story and gossip is a waste of time that just poisons the mind. It may be idealistic but I believe that instead of judging we should try acts of kindness that help and support our fellow mothers. Walk away from the gossip mill and try out some of the ideas below.
It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture as a small act of kindness goes a long way.
Be a good listener!
There are times when you need someone to just listen to your experiences. An active listener is a person who fully focusses on what you have to say without feeling the compulsion to give you advice with the expressions: ‘If I were you…’ or ‘You should…’ When one wants advice they usually ask for it and unwanted advice can be deflating. Also being a good listener involves not feeling the need to recount your own experiences immediately after a person has divulged their feelings. Despite the offenders well-meaning intentions, this can minimise a vulnerable persons feelings. Being an attentive listener can often be the best support.
We can’t solve other people’s problems but a simple gesture like a homemade gift can raise a person’s spirit. It shows that you acknowledge their struggle and are thinking of them. My thing is caramel fudge. It’s one of the few sweet treats I can make with minimal fuss and is loved by most women. Simply giving a bag of this can make a stress person feel a little bit better. I also know a mother who makes cheese cake and she often gifts these to others when she sees that they are not in a positive place. Tasty!!
Make a Date!
Organising a coffee date or even a playdate may give a person an outlet to express their concerns or simply a time for them to focus on something other than their issues. Even when a person doesn’t feel like expressing their feelings, being in the company of others can be a good distraction. Listening to others talk about their struggles can make a person feel less ‘alone’ even if they aren’t open about their personal issues.
Take the Kids!
One of the best ways to show support is to give someone a break. The lack of alone time as a mother can really deflate your spirits and contribute to a loss of identity. Giving a mother some alone time is invaluable. We all need time to take stock in order to gain our strength and perhaps a new perspective on our situation.
The easiest way to encourage or support a person is to say a kind word. We often forget to give compliments and are unfortunately quick to criticise. It’s amazing how much power words can have and a generous comment can raise a persons confidence. When you’re down a compliment can help you get through the day with a smile.
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