Moms Need Mentor Moms
This is PART II of my recent remarks for a Mother’s Day Brunch, where I talked about why Moms need other Moms. you can read the beginning HERE.
The first important relationship that plays an essential role in our own experience and success as mothers is that with Mentor Moms.
A mentor mom is any experienced mother who inspires, teaches or motivates us. They are the women we turn to for parenting advice big and small. From what bouncer to register for to what preschool to attend. For advice on adjusting to life as an empty-nester or advice on dealing with a grown adult child who has moved back home. No matter what stage of parenting you are in, you will need a Mentor Mom or two on speed dial.
Many of us are lucky enough to call our own mother’s Mentor Moms. Personally, I count myself as one of the very lucky ones, because both my mother and mother-in-law are tremendous resources for me, and have supported me through every step of my journey. If I can be half the mom they are, I will be doing ok!
The mother daughter relationship is so special, because we were once a part of her, and she is forever a part of us. But this relationship is really divided into two parts. The first half is when one is a mother and the other is just a daughter. This part is special and wonderful, but it is also known to be a difficult relationship at times. Particularly around the teenage years.
I was the youngest of five and my mother was, as they say, of “Advanced Maternal Age” when I was born. This meant that when I was entering my dreaded preteen years, she was beginning menopause. The result was a perfect storm of female hormones, that my poor father had to navigate through very carefully.
But like magic, there is a clarity of understanding when the daughter matures and becomes a mother herself. They then enter the second half of the Mother-Daughter Relationships, when they are joined in the Sisterhood of Motherhood. For most women, when the going really gets tough, there is only person they want to turn to, and that is their mom.
Of course not all women consider their mother a Mentor— sometimes women are “inspired” to do things differently.
And of course not all of what mentor moms teach us is a formal conversation or lesson, but rather knowledge that we gain simply by observing them. Values and traditions we then try to embody and hope will carry on with our own children.
There are many women whom I consider a mentor mom who probably don’t even know they fulfill that role for me…. neighbors, other MOPS mommas, and women I’ve met in my career or in the community who inspire me.
In MOPS we really value Mentor Moms who join our groups and help provide our young momma’s, who are deep in the trenches of toddler warfare, a compassionate ear, sound advice and even a shoulder to cry on. Perhaps most importantly, they provide knowledge that only comes from experience.
We need to surround ourselves with Mentor Moms that inspire us to be better moms, and so we need to be intentional about these relationships. If you can have the perspective that “I am not the first momma to go through this” your next thought instantly can be, “who can I turn to for guidance on this mommy crisis?”
Sometimes Google, WebMD and Mommy blogs or Facebook groups provide quick and easy answers, but they are not always the best idea…. you can get sucked into debates, or fed faulty knowledge too easy. Be intentional AND discerning in your choice of who you learn from.
That is not to say online forums are not legit sources of information… they can be a wonderful resource. Especially in the middle of the night when you really don’t want to call your own mother. But there is something to be said for speaking with your mother, or sister or neighbor or friend, and having a conversation. So much of mothering is not just about the issue we face with our child, but how we are handling it as well.
There is no textbook for how to be a good mom, but there is a long, rich oral history that we share generation to generation, and mom to mom, that when heeded can build on your natural instincts and personal beliefs to make you a better mom.