Moms Helping Moms

Last week I learned an acquaintance - a bright eyed, warmly smiling mother of two children under 5 - committed suicide. It's almost all I've been able to think about. Not only do I mourn for Mary*, her two small children, her husband, her family, and her close friends, but I wonder: Is there anything I could have done to stop this tragedy? Being a mom is difficult. More difficult, I believe, than it once was. A hundred years ago, women lived near relatives who knew it was their duty to help. If relatives were unavailable, neighbors with older children took it upon themselves to help. It was expected, because women keenly understood that mothering without help from others is impossible.

One could even argue being a mom is even more difficult than it once was. Today, it's often not considered enough to be a stay-at-home mom and housewife. No, people expect you to travel, to participate in events, to do some kind of "real" work - to be a super hero. In Mary's case, her marriage was near divorce. Her family was out of state. She didn't have a regular shoulder to lean on, an understanding friend to watch the kids when things got rough, or a neighbor who warmly offered a hand. Why don't women reach out to help each other any more? This is what I ponder as I realize I'm as guilty of this as anybody. Images of Mary flash through my brain: The glow she had when her husband complimented her performance in a local theater production. Her laugh as she told me how much she loved being a mommy. Her smile as she talked about getting together for a play date. A play date that never happened. I never followed through. She never followed through. But today as I think about the difficulties of motherhood, I vow to be a better woman. I vow to lift my head from my consuming role as mother to two small children and notice other moms like me. Moms who need encouraging. Moms who need to talk. Moms who need someone to pray with. Moms who need help. Please, help another mom today - and every day. * Not her real name.
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  1. ok... this is a really tough subject. I am from Brazil and I have felt the coldness here in America. I speak fluent English; I have a college degree; I am an educated person. I lived in California for 2.5 years 20 +++ years ago. (this only to say that there was no language or cultural barrier). I live in the South of the US - most people think it's one of the places where people are the friendliest.

    I have 4 children under 7y.o., I go to a church. I live in a subdivision, went to a gym for a while, volunteered with a rehabilitation program for women. I am a social person, not shy. I usually introduce myself to people and make conversation.

    I have lived here for almost 10 years. I have 2 people in town who I can call in case of an emergency: my pastor and a divorced women with 2 children. My children do not have a babysitter. The only time my husband and I get to go on a date is when my parents come to visit - once or twice a year.

    I have no family here, my husband has no family (they have all passed away. He has one sister that is too busy). For the past year, we have homeschooled.

    I tried many times to make friends. Invited women over with their children, tried to set play dates at the park, but to no avail. People are too busy. The women that have children in school are too busy with their schedules and all the after school activities. Most women have outside jobs so they are busy with their careers.

    The other thing I noticed is that most people here have family around, so they don't NEED friends. They have family to help them with their children.

    I praise God that I have my husband. He is my best friend and he has always been very understanding of postpartum hormones fluctuations. I have always been able to cry on his shoulders for no reason without fearing reprehension. He has always been ready to help me with household chores without me having to ask or nag. He has been my rock.

    I have breastfed all my children, which I believe helps a lot with the hormonal changes after baby is born.

    But for those women out there that do not have that kind of husbands, or family, or friends, I fear for them. Motherhood is the toughest job on earth. You can't clock out. You can't quit. You can't just leave.

    Don't misunderstand me . I love it! I wouldn't trade being at home with my kids for anything else. I used to be a career woman before I got married and had children but I do not miss it.

    I do miss a support system. Mostly families that would be friends with my family. I have tried to reach out to other homeschooling families but the ones I have met they are not interested.

    I think all this is not just due to cultural differences but a sign of the ages. People are colder. The Bible talks about the love of many would become cold.

    I praise Jesus that I got HIM and He has been my strength. He will never leave me or forsake me even when I mess up. And I do, a lot. :)

    So yes, I know the fate of lonely motherhood and I want to be ready to reach out to those that need a friend. We need to be less busy. At the end of your life what will have mattered??

    thanks for this post. :)

  2. You made some really good points; thanks for sharing. I agree people do tend to busy themselves with...stuff. Stuff that often doesn't really matter. I think it's an excellent idea for every Christian to now and then take a hard look at their lives to make sure their priorities are biblical.

  3. I'm hoping to get involved with a MOPS group with my church this fall (need to talk to hubby about this still) because I *do* get isolated, and very rarely depressed. Even though I enjoy my solitary times, I have a split personality type where I need the contact with others. While the internet can fill that void, there's nothing quite the same as having someone you can hug and cry with in person, or get together for coffee.

    I have some friends now that I can call on if I need to, and I have a few regular babysitters so hubby and I can get out. And my husband is usually pretty understanding and helpful, especially since we went through a round of marriage counseling earlier this year. Thankfully, too, I do have some family close by, though I hesitate to call on some of them.

    Still, with my outside activities, including being a mom and wife, I have to make sure I balance everything. And while I realize sometimes those activities will take more of my time than at other times, I have to remember to do my best to keep a healthy balance or I'll get too overwhelmed.