Friday, August 13, 2010

Momma Encouragement Challenge

I don't know about you, but I think being a momma is tough! There is only so much you can do to prepare yourself for something that can only be learned through experience. You can never really know the amount of love, tears, sacrifice, selflessness, joy, disappointment and satisfaction that comes from being a momma - until you've actually become a momma.

Before I had Benjamin, I was quick to judge other moms. I would often consider the way I would have handle that situation or how I would have disciplined my toddler for doing that. I would look down on a mom who seems frazzled or who couldn't seem to get it together. How awful of me, but it's rooted in pride and selfishness. I certainly thought that being a mom was just not that hard. God is so kind in showing me differently :)

Since becoming a mom, I've felt such a discontentment with the circles of moms I've ran into (not all, mind you). There is such criticism and discouragement. I feel like there are so many moms out there who support the "misery loves company" way of life. I'm not saying there isn't room for honesty and authenticity in motherhood. I'm simply trying to say that there has to be a stronger, more loving, more supportive community for moms!

I've run into a few situations over the last 16 months where another woman has scolded me, condemned me or simply made me feel like a terrible mother. You know what? I bet she had bad days, too. She simply thought whatever she was saying was just what I needed to hear. Oh, how these women were wrong. All I needed in these interactions was a pat on the back, or even a "there will be better days". Isn't that what we all need - moms or those without children? Isn't that what all women want to hear?

So, I'm offering you a challenge for the next week. The Momma Encouragement Challenge, if you will :) I'm calling on all women, with or without children (because someday you may have babies of your own and you'll remember what a sweet gift it was to give encouragement). I'm asking you to smile at other moms. Instead of judging, offer grace. If it's been awhile since you've had little babes, take a step back and think of what you would have wanted to hear.

Find a mom, wherever you may be, and speak kindness to her. If she has an armful, lend a hand or say, "You're doing great, momma!". Maybe the mom you run into has everything under control. She still needs encouragement. Offer her a few sweet words, "I think you're a great mom. Hope you're having a awesome day!" You get the picture.

You'll probably get a few odd looks, but just keep going. Everyday. For a week. Maybe, even more! I'll post my experiences everyday, just to keep myself accountable and to share what good comes from a positive attitude and a little encouragement. You never know how God may use you!

Who's with me!? Feel free to post in the comments how you were able to encourage, bless or love on a momma today. Let's change the face of motherhood and let others see what a privilege, joy and struggle it is to raise children!!!

7 comments:

Meghan Foulk said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS! SIGN ME UP!

mama cindy said...

Who are those people???? I'll kick their butts!!! :) I'm up to the challenge, but I'm not sure how many momma's I'll see in a week. Unless they come to me......

Cynthia said...

Wonderful idea Ashley! I know I used to judge myself, but there is so much grace now! In the stores I always talk to other mothers. You never know what kind of day they are having. I find they are always more than happy to chat a bit.

Are you signed up for MOPS this fall? If not, you would absolutely love it. So right up your alley. It's all about encouraging us as moms and wives and not being alone. I love it!

Morgan said...

Yes, great idea! I have been in much need of encouragement this past week especially!

Erin said...

I love this Ashley! And may I add something? I also get disappointed sometimes with the amount of conversations which center on how difficult our kids are. How hard everything is and how we get no help. How bout a challenge to speak just as much of how great our kids are and save the bad for when we need honest encouragement and/or advice/help, y'know? Not that we pretend our kids are perfect, but...
Anyway... Let me add, too, that you, Ashley, are a terrific mom! You strive to truly know and love your boy - not just for who you want him to be but who he is and is becoming. I love what you said the other day about not asking him about it b/c it was "boy stuff"! Awesome! You keep at it, girl! God is going to bless you and B b/c of your faithfulness!

Baby Hancock said...

One of the best things anyone has ever said to me was from Lorrie: "You know, it's so easy to compare and be critical of other women/moms. Why don't a few of us form an accountability group and encourage one another instead? We need to support each other." That was about five years ago, and my life would NOT be the same without those five women...We've learned to love and respect our differences in parenting, marrriage, everything...Oh, How precious God has been to me to give me amazing women in the absence of my mother!! Praise God alone! We do a study on our own, then meet every other Thursday night and discuss and do prayer requests. I dearly love these women now..I cannot express it! I will try to focus on encouraging other moms specifically this week- it's invaluable.

Kristin said...

Ashley, this is wonderful. I am going to post your blog on my FB if that is ok... I hate the judgement that comes with parenting. AMEN!