Moms Need Mommy Friends In The Same Phase Of Life
This is PART III 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 and I discuss the importance of mentor moms in Part II HERE.
The second important relationship is that MOMS NEED OTHER MOMS who are in their exact same phase of life.
It is inevitable, that at some point, a mentor mom will say to you “Enjoy this moment – they grow up so fast” But when you are exhausted and dealing with a moody threenager throwing a fit in Publix or when your teenager has just crashed the family car — the last thing you need is someone to tell you to enjoy THAT moment. You need to be able to vent to other moms who are exactly where you are in life and completely get your frustration.
And that is why MOMS NEED OTHER MOMS who are in their phase of life. Nowadays we call this The Birth Club. Whether you actually meet in person at the hospital birthing class, or simple at the park or your child’s school… moms need to be a part of a Birth Club with mom’s whose children are about the same age. We do – it is a need. We are drawn together by this primal instinct of pack survival. It is good for the kids, and it is great for the moms. Play dates are easier – and the conversation can be open and honest.
Both my mother and mother in law have friendships that began when they were young mothers, with young children. And now, decades later, they are still friends whom they rely on to talk through the joys of grandkids, worrying about their grown children, or fussing over their husbands. They’ve grow up together, shared the best and worst of life together. Those female friendships are precious.
I also look to the many military mom’s I’ve met here as a great example of the importance of this mommy support network. Military wives do an amazing job of caring for each other. They are uniquely positioned to understand each other’s lives, the way civilian women can’t. They form friendships that, like a birth club, help moms survive each day by being a friend who understand exactly where they are.
The Bible also talks about the importance of having a Birth Club. Its true! I’ve never gone to seminary, but I was raised in the Catholic church, and growing up we learned a lot about Mary. My favorite story is called The Visitation.
In the Gospel of Luke, we learn that immediately after the Angel brings the good news to Mary that she is pregnant with the Son of God, Mary travels to visit her older cousin Elizabeth, who had been thought to have been barren but the Angel told Mary she too is pregnant. Many scholars believe that Mary stayed with Elizabeth through the birth of her son, John the Baptist.
But here is what I love about this story – this isn’t just two cousins who are both pregnant helping to care for each other. This is a Birth Club of women in very scary situations. Both women are unexpectedly pregnant – Mary not yet married and Elizabeth much older. Both women have partners who doubt the circumstances of the pregnancies. An angel actually appeared to Elizabeth’s husband and because he voiced doubts the angel command he shall be mute the entire pregnancy! And at this point in the Gospel, the angel has not yet appeared to Joseph, so many scholars think perhaps he was not with Mary during this time. That He stayed back in Nazareth.
So both women are confident of the miracle and blessing of their pregnancies, but their husbands doubt, and they have ample reason to fear what outsiders might think. The Gospel of Luke actually says Elizabeth was secluded for 5 months.
In my head I just imagine the tears, fear, joy and the unique bond these two women shared. God could have picked any woman to be John the Baptist’s mother, but in choosing Mary’s cousin they were able to be there for each other from the very beginning. They were a Birth Club. And while the relationship isn’t described in the Gospels further, I imagine they remained close as they watched with pride as their sons grew to be preachers, and eventually even shared in the grief of their deaths.
The down side of this very primal need of moms to seek out other moms is the comparison game. This can be a downward spiral into a very un healthy relationship. Too often, mothers want to compare rather than support each other.
As we saw in the video at the beginning, judging other mothers really just distracts us from our calling to care for our own children.
And can you imagine if Mary and Elizabeth got into a comparison game? What if rather than joy, Elizabeth felt jealousy… why is her baby going to be the Son of God? Why not mine? Of course that is not at all what she said. Upon hearing Mary’s voice, the baby in her tummy leaped with Joy and Elizabeth proclaimed, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of they womb!”
Just as you need to be intentional about choosing your mentor Moms, you need to be intentional about choosing women for your birth club. Don’t get pulled into comparison games, or judgmental groups. Seek out mothers who want to journey with you, and be a friend to them and love their children.
The awesome diversity of our MOPS group has taught me that motherhood can be so beautiful when it unites us together, despite our differences and our children’s differences.