While you may feel lonely and isolated on your motherhood journey, it’s a good idea to find a friend to mentor you. Here’s why . . .

Go Back to Number Two >>>

It’s no exaggeration: Every mother gets stumped.

Every day.

You’re pretty normal if you don’t let anyone know though – it’s so much safer to make out that you have a perfect life! Then you can attempt to match what appears to be everyone else’s perfect life. From this perspective, it seems difficult to find a friend you can trust.

The problem is, you can feel very alone in it all.

True – you may have your partner, your mother or your best girlfriend. But when it comes down to it, you are the one battling with the toddler, you are the one getting up to fix the wet bed every night, and you are the one to handle your young teen’s latest attitude.

Looking at it from that angle, it explains why it is so normal to get worn down – physically, emotionally and spiritually. So it’s completely understandable why you can feel very lonely in it, even if you are surrounded by people!

Most mothers have very few, if any, women they are willing to expose this lack to.  But, the funny thing is that, really, you are NOT alone, because there are people around you! It’s so easy to be consumed by the busy-ness of life that you don’t see the paradox:

Lots of mothers | All on their own | Feeling alone

As Katherine Hill wrote in Huffington Post, “Isolation and loneliness are increasingly the hallmarks of our society.”

Thankfully there is an answer to the loneliness

Because of the changes in our Western culture in the last few decades, mothers are no longer surrounded by a large family/community who are geographically close, like your mother or grandmothers were. So, who can support you when things get tough? It’s in this context that it is good to find a friend – someone who is safe, who can mentor you.

The old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” is suggesting more than just having plenty of adults to make an impact on children. It’s also talking about support for mothers and dads.

This idea underlines another proverb, this time from the Bible:

Let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance

(Proverbs 1:5)

You want to be wise? Hey girl – find a friend!

So, what’s a girl to do?

Your best go-to person is a woman who is doing, or has done, motherhood well. This may be your own mother, your mother-in-law, another family member, or perhaps someone from your church or your child’s school. She needs to be someone who you feel secure with, and who will listen without judgement. Someone who will hear all your crap, will not pass any of the crap on, and will love you in spite of the crap! If you can find someone like that, you will find a friend!

Seek her out, and ask if she will be a sounding board, a shoulder to cry on, and someone who can tell you, “Hey – you really ARE doing OK”. Another mother will give you confidence in your own decisions. And she will give you a mother’s perspective on things. Because as the Bible says, two really ARE better than one!

This is What it Looks like to Find a Friend

I lost my mother when I was 16, so I was very aware of the lack of a trusted, older female friend. As a result, I intentionally found a few great friends at my church, and together, we shared our motherhood journeys.

But one woman in particular, Val, became a reliable source of unconditional love, ideas, and wisdom. Val is a few years ahead of me in her motherhood journey, and I began to trust her wisdom and instinct. So, one day I came to Val with an embarrassing problem.

I was struggling with “a gap” in my knowledge. After an emergency C-Section for my first baby, I was in the unusual position of expecting baby Number Two, but not knowing exactly what a normal delivery was like. It was all beyond the scope of my imagination. I’d not had the nerve to ask anyone about this during my first pregnancy, and I felt like I was in a black hole.

I decided to ask Val.

So that’s how it happened that one sunny afternoon, I sat on Val’s back porch, having a cup of tea, and red-faced I asked her, “What’s it like to go into the second stage of labour?”

She laughed a reassuring laugh and said, “with my three it was just like being constipated with a watermelon, and you had to push it out!” She smiled without a trace of embarrassment whatsoever. “The whole thing!”

That’s the sort of honesty we mothers all like to hear: something learned, with hard-won experience, said in a way you can understand.

That’s the sort of honesty we mothers all like to hear: something learned, with hard-won experience, said in a way you can understand.

The Things You Find Out

Val is amazing. She opened her door for several women like me, who needed a guiding word now and again, and lots of encouraging chats!

As a constant source of wisdom and stories about her own kids, Val gave us a glimpse of another way, a fresh understanding, and a renewed sense of hope. She frequently talked about the antics her children got up to, and how she managed them. With each story I gleaned new thoughts, ideas, and scattered other information. And I made helpful decisions.

I learned so much from Val. Beyond second-stage-labour-watermelons; I found out about advocating for your children during parent-teacher interviews; supermarket shopping tactics; giving kids responsibility around the house; the next-day consequences of late-night outings; and even more important: what to do about those consequences!

And especially, I found out how important it is to find a mentor-friend. Because while it’s tempting to go it alone, we are all so much better together.

Find a Friend – 5 Pointers >>>

You know what? You don’t have to face it all alone!
With other women you can share your embarrassing questions, doubts and fears. Finding a trusted female friend is freeing, simply because she shares your burden.

1. First of all – The BEST friend FOR EV-ER

It would be remiss of me not to tell you that when I was 15, after several years of long, hard thinking and investigation, I made a very important decision. I decided to believe. I prayed and asked Jesus to be my friend. Quite honestly, it was the best thing I ever did. From the very next day I felt like I had a friend who stuck closer than a brother. It was an amazing feeling.

2. What sort of mentor-friend to find

  • Look for someone who manages a similar lifestyle to you – if you do it on your own, look for another single mother; if working in paid employment, find someone who is also working, or who did work, with young ones in the mix; perhaps you are a stay at home mother, so another stay at home woman is going to have similar challenges; same with home-schoolers.
  • This doesn’t mean you have to find someone like you – there may be other values which over-ride some of these family-types. Perhaps it’s not your normal way to go, but you could pray about it, and ask God to show you someone.
  • And if it doesn’t work out at first, that’s OK. There must be a better match for you

3. Where to find a friend, who is a little more experienced at this motherhood gig

While you may think you know no one who is a little older wiser and more experienced than you, there are many places to start looking for a friend like this:

  • Mother’s group
  • Your child’s School
  • At church, home group or Bible study – an older mother/grandmother
  • Family member such as your mother, aunt, mother-in-law or sister
  • A friendly neighbour
  • Workmate, or former workmate
  • Community group, or sporting club

4. What to say when you initiate this relationship

I never asked Val to be my friend. It sort of just happened. But sometimes you need to start the process. Here are a few suggestions of formal, or more informal, steps into this type of mentor-style friendship.

  • Hey, I need to someone to be a sounding board for me with the kids. Are you up for it?
  • You know, all I’m telling you is just between us, right? I just need a safe place to de-brief. And you are such a great listener!
  • I just need to let all this out – no questions asked – for the moment. Is that OK?
  • What do you do when your kids are like this?
  • Please can you pray with me? I’m not sure I can keep doing this motherhood thing on my own!
  • Make it more organic – as I found, sometimes these types of mentor relationships just grow. But usually, it’s intentional.

5. Words of warning

  • Be selective. You don’t want to bare your soul to just anyone. When you find a friend, look for someone who is stable, wise, and has runs on the board from a motherhood perspective.
  • Some girls offload to everyone. Don’t be that woman! Just one or two people at the very most are needed for this type of mentoring relationship. It means you can have freedom not to talk deeply about this sort of stuff with others. And that’s a relief!
  • Choose your time and place carefully. If you are constantly off-loading to one person in public, this can start to feel like an exclusive relationship. And that’s not what you want. Your friend is just to chat to every so often, not every five minutes! Ask her over for a coffee or have a playdate. Make it something that you can manage, behind closed doors.
  • Don’t choose this relationship to the detriment of other important people. Your partner needs to be in the loop with this too. Look to ensuring your female friend ultimately strengthens your primary relationship. Doing activities together as families is good for everyone.

To find a wise and older friend is a life-saver – especially for mothers! If you don’t already have someone you can talk to start thinking, and perhaps also praying, about it. She will make a lot of difference to your life. Guaranteed.

Do you have a special mentor-friend you can talk things through with?

Next in this series: 20 Ways to Rock at Being a Mother: Number Four – Another way to avoid isolation

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