Real Life

Encouraging the Lonely Mom

lonelyMom

 

I watch her as she struggles with her stroller and a crying baby and a wandering toddler while she desperately tries to pick fresh corn at the market.  She’s sweating in the sun.

“I’ll take 10…”  she shouts it at the vendor and she’s slightly frantic.  I remember that feeling.  The feeling that everyone is staring and you’re ruining everyone’s day with your noisy children.

My three are around me too, helping me shuck.  I wonder, “When did I go from the crazy lady with the crying babies and screaming toddlers to the Mama with three big kids, shucking and paying for corn?”  Somewhere along the way, they grew.  It got easier.  A lot easier.

I watch her and try to flash her a smile, as if that would help in some way.  I ignore the promptings to actually put down my own golden cobs and do something constructive.  Help her, rock the stroller, help her pick the corn, give her your corn, do something, Cass…  I hear the voice loud and clear, but I hesitate.

It’s always in the hesitation that we miss the chance to embrace the lonely. 

And that Mama struggling with her crying baby and running toddler – she’s lonely.

She is very, very, lonely. I know her well, because I was there.  I had three under three and I know the feeling of that frantic stop at the market.  She feels isolated, stared at, judged, and terribly alone.  She needs someone, ANYone to care.  To care enough to bend down and engage with her toddler while she quickly pays the market vendor.  She needs someone to help her bag her groceries.  She needs someone to intentionally walk over, put a hand on her shoulder, and whisper encouragement in her aching ear.

She doesn’t need judgment, and she doesn’t need to be ignored.

The Mamas who have babies know it’s true.

The Mamas who’ve had babies know it’s true.

So why don’t we do this for our sisters?  Why don’t we step out of our little comfort bubbles and take a chance?  Take a chance on that lonely Mama who needs a helping hand.  Who needs just a moment of embrace, of warmth, in the midst of her hard, stressful moments.

Maybe it’s fear and maybe it’s selfishness and maybe it’s that we forget what it’s like to feel alone and lonely in the heat of raising very young ones.  But our sisters need us, Friends.  The lonely Mamas need us to break through the norm and step out in love.  We need each other.

I missed my chance that day at the market.  Before I knew it, that Mama grabbed her corn, collected her toddler, and pushed the stroller with the screaming baby away.  I stood there, disappointed in myself.  But I learned something that day.

Don’t hesitate to step out in love.

I’m challenging myself to be deeply aware of those around me.  To seek out the lonely, having-a-hard-time Moms.  To allow myself to be interrupted long enough to help someone out.  To show my older children that we can make a small difference in the life of someone else.   Even if it’s in the smallest, seemingly most insignificant way.

Because it’s not insignificant.  I remember what it felt like on the (very) rare occasion when someone helped me.  I was lonely and stressed and overwhelmed, and an older lady went out of her way to engage with my child so I could finish something.  I don’t even remember where I was or what I was doing.  I simply remembered the warm feeling of someone stepping out in love.  It stayed in my mind and in my heart.  It was like a deep, sweet breath of fresh air in a room that felt suffocating.

We’ve all been lonely; we all have moments when we feel lonely; we all need each other.  Let’s look around us, wide-eyed, always seeking a lonely sister who needs a smile, a touch, a hand, some love, some light.

Don’t miss that chance; don’t ignore that voice.  The opportunity to embrace that lonely Mom passes far too quickly… and you never know what a difference the smallest act of kindness could make.

About the author

Cassandra

Cassandra is humbled daily by the love of Christ Jesus and her need for His grace and guidance. She has been married for ten years to her best friend, Wesley. They have been homeschooling their three {awesome} children since the start. Their family is passionate about the simple life - finding beauty in God's creation, embracing quiet afternoons in wide open spaces, and playing around with their funny pet chickens.

4 Comments

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  • Beautifully written and nearly brought me to tears. Having also had three children under three years old, including a set of twins, I was often the frazzled momma at the store. I would get into the car afterwards and cry because I was exhausted, humiliated and heard “you sure have your hands full” more times than I can count. Alone. That’s exactly how I felt.

    Thank you for this reminder to be the one who steps out and helps that sweet momma of littles. Now that my children are a little bit older it’s actually possible for us to be helpful, even in just a small way, to the mom who desperately needs it.

    • Amen! Yes. So glad this touched your heart!~ I agree… I’m *still* the frazzled Mom some days (and mine are now 10, 8, 7). But, we can still find ways to reach out, you’re absolutely right. (hug)

  • I love this post! Thank you! I will try to keep my eyes open for mothers who need help…although at times, that may be me! With four children and one on the way, I may be the one looking for help, feeling lonely. 😉

    • Absolutely… and sometimes, I think that’s what life is about – it’s about walking through both roles – the helper and the helped. After we’ve walked through needing help, we are so much more empathetic to others, so it is a gift in the long run… 🙂 We’ll try to remember that, eh?

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