Are You A Good Friend? 7 Ways You Can Help Out a Fellow Mom
Kindness. It never goes out of style.
Especially when it comes to our friends who are moms, who may be too shy to ask for help, or fear that they will be a burden if they do ask for help. But here are 7 very simple, easy and awesome ways you can help out a fellow mother and be the best mommy friend possible, no matter how busy your own life is.
1) Make a care package.
A couple of weeks ago, I called my friend who sounded like she’d been run over by a truck…and then another truck. She had a bad cold, was coughing, her throat hurt, and her sinuses ached. She told me she could barely move. And she had two children to worry about. I felt terrible for her, since every mother knows that being sick and parenting sucks. I asked her if I could bring her anything, or if there was anything I could do. Of course, like most mothers, we don’t like asking for help. I was on my way to the store anyway, so I stocked up on nose sprays, cold and flu medication, and a handful of tabloid magazines. I dropped them off at her house, along with some homemade chicken soup, and left the bag on her doorstep. Then I ran back to my car – I love her, but I wasn’t chancing getting sick and she was clearly contagious – and texted her to open her front door. She was practically in tears, simply because I picked her up some medicine, soup and gossip magazines to keep her busy while she rested. She actually said, “I think this is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.” (I’m certain that’s not true.) Still, it didn’t take me more than 15 minutes to buy my fellow mother friend some medication and soup and drop it off at her house.
2) Take them to an appointment.
I have a friend who is terrified of mammograms, yet she has to get them two or three times a year. I ALWAYS offer to take her, and while many mothers may not want you to see them in a hospital gown, I knew that she’d be less anxious if I drove her to her appointments, so we could at least have a coffee together before, and she could have someone to talk to in the waiting room to keep her mind off her appointment. Whenever she tells me she has a mammogram appointment, I tell her I’m taking her and put it in my calendar. It’s now a given. I’m known as her Mammogram Friend. If a friend is terrified or anxious about any type of specialized appointment, don’t just ask if they want you to come, tell them you’re coming! Likewise, when I had a small heart procedure a couple years ago, and my parents were out of town, I asked one of my best friends to come with me. It was a day procedure, but I was in the hospital for about 12 hours. My friend, not only brought her laptop and worked from the hospital so she could be with me, but she also spent the night on my couch…just in case. (Even though I didn’t think I needed it.) How lucky am I to have a friend like that? I will never forget her going out of her way, spending the entire day with me, even though I was unconscious for most of it, and then sleeping over, especially since she is a working mother herself.
3) Entertain the parents.
Many mothers, who don’t have family close by will often get visits from their parents. But let’s be honest. For most mothers, especially if they are exhausted and cranky, they have their limits on just how much time they can spend with their parents, without reverting back to child-like behaviour themselves. These mothers often need a break if their parents are visiting, and after a few days, all they feel is annoyance. I once took my friend’s mom to a movie so my friend could get some work done and get a break from her mother. I have taken another friend’s mother to a yoga class and have taken another friend’s father for a long walk. Sure, our mommy friends love their family, but perhaps not 24/7 for an entire week or two. So offer to take their parents off their hands for a few hours, by offering to take them to a movie or a class or for coffee….anything that will give your mommy friend a break from overstaying parents of their own.
4) Take them grocery shopping.
I have a handful of single mother friends and many of them, who live downtown, don’t have cars. Sure it’s easy for them to Uber to and from a grocery store, but if I know I’m heading to a grocery store on the weekend, I usually ask my single mother friends if they want to come. Not only does it make grocery shopping more fun (for both parties) but my single mother friends are so grateful to get this chore done, saving money on taking taxies or Ubers. Since I’m going shopping anyway, why not ask them if they want to come or tell them that this Saturday you’re going to Loblaws and can you pick them up to come shopping with you. Trust me, my friends are over the moon, especially when I say I’m going to a Walmart (a 20 to 30 minute drive) but it makes shopping more fun for me too. Help your mommy friend stock up so they don’t have to worry about not have staples or having to go grocery shopping two or three times a week.
5) Hail to the hand-me-downs.
Keep your hand-me-downs and actually hand them down. My friends have saved me thousands of dollars by saving clothes that don’t fit their sons anymore, to pass on to mine. I truly didn’t think I’d like having hand-me-downs (I didn’t ever take any for my first born, my daughter.) But when it comes to my son, I realized that yes, I could use that winter jacket, those old skates, those pyjamas. I’m on a great schedule with one of my friends. She has two daughters, younger than mine, so I make sure to save all my daughter’s clothes she’s outgrown. My friend and I are BOTH saving each other a ton of money. If you think you have clothes, or toys, or even an old pair of rain boots, ask your friends who have children if they want it. You just never know. My son is THRILLED when he sees a bag of hand-me-downs for him, as are my friend’s daughters who love getting my daughter’s hand-me-downs. This is an easy way to help a fellow mother save some dough, without having to do much, but fill that garbage bag!
6) Be proud of your friend’s children accomplishments.
I have so many mother friends who have such talented children, and who want to boast about their offspring’s latest music video they made for Youtube, or other moms who proudly show off their 4-year-olds on the bar in competitive gymnastics, or their test scores on social, or share how their offspring has some level of greatness, way beyond their years. Although you may think, ‘Oh, my child is just average,’ and you may feel a little, like, ‘What’s wrong with my kid that they can’t dance as well as kids 5 years younger than them?’ it’s really important to tell your mom friends how proud you are of their kids. I am, truthfully, incredibly happy for my friend’s children’s successes. Your mommy friend may not want to gloat about their kids accomplishments, or fear that you’ll think they’re bragging too much about their child, so make sure you ask a lot of questions. I show my daughter every time one of my friends share their talented singing daughters on social, because I’m truly proud of my friend’s kids, therefore truly proud of my mom friends. I show my support by letting my mom friends gloat and brag, and why shouldn’t they? I also show my support by telling my mom friend’s children, for example, how well they played hockey tonight, or that I loved their latest video, and I subscribe to their Youtube channels and ‘love’ their social postings. Remember – and I tell this to my daughter as well – “Someone’s else’s success is not your failure.” – So be happy for your friends when their kids do, or accomplish, something spectacular. Be as happy for them as you would be if it were your own child and, yes, let your friends know how proud you are of them, and their children!
7) Keep in contact.
Even if your mommy friend can’t be good friends to you right now, busy with their young children, and overwhelmed by all their children’s activities, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check in with them even if they suck at being a friend to you right now. This could be a text message (“Hey…I know you’re super busy, but I’m just letting you know I’m thinking about you. Call when you can!” Or, “Hey, just calling to say ‘Hi.’ Nothing urgent. Just wanted to see how you are!”) Don’t get upset about them not returning your call or text, because we know how chaotic being a parent can be. But, still, let them know you’re thinking about them and that just because you both may have children, that’s not going to get in the way of your friendship. It takes four seconds to make a call. And two seconds to write a text. Do it. And, if you can, make plans, even if it’s a date three weeks into the future. No matter how tired you (both) are, make a plan, drag yourself and your friend out, even if it’s for an early dinner. Sometimes your mom friend may just need to get out and be around other adults.
What else would you suggest, or have done, to help a fellow mother out?