Picture this scenario: you are at church and you see a child hit another child or throw a fit. “Oh my. That child’s parents must not know how to discipline.” “Is that mom a single mom because if there was a father around this would not happen.” “My child would never do that.” “What kind of stuff are they letting their toddler watch?” You look down on that mom (or dad) and begin judging. I’ve judged other moms before. We all have. It is a trap that can be easy to fall into.
One day I was at the store with my kids and I let E, my 4 year old, pick out a toy from the dollar section. We were in the self checkout area and he wanted to go to another station and check it out himself. I told him no and to wait until I was ready to ring it up. As I continued to take care of the items in my cart, E went over to the other checkout station and “beeped” his item. When I heard the beep, I called him over to me. I told him that because he disobeyed and did not wait like I told him to, he was not going to get that toy now. I had him give the toy to me so that I could give it back to the associate working there. This did not sit well with him and he threw a fit right there in the store. He had never done this before so it took me by surprise. I told him that that is not how we act and we would be talking about this more when we got home. He still continued with his fit. As I rushed to finish checking out I could feel the eyes of the other people in the checkout area on me and my son. I got us out of there as fast as I could and dealt with his behavior when we got home.
“TRAIN UP A CHILD”
I’m sure most – if not all – of us have had our kids act in some way that makes us look like a “bad parent”. But guess what? You are not a bad parent. Babies will be babies, toddlers will be toddlers, kids will be kids. They are not born knowing right from wrong. We have to teach them.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Things can look messy while we are teaching, training, and disciplining our children. Every child is different. Some are more shy than others, some are more physical, some are just plain happy. Your training and discipline may not look the same for each of your children because of that. We need to keep these things in mind when we see other moms and their kids. Parenting can be hard. We are not helping each other as moms when we look down our noses at each other. So what are some ways we can be an encouragement to each other as moms?
BE AN ENCOURAGEMENT
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…..” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Lend a listening ear – “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19
Sometimes all we need as moms is a friend that we can tell our problems and concerns to. I find that “talking it out” can be a tremendous help at times. But I need someone who is willing to listen and put away being judgmental.
Offer support – “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17
Whether the issue your friend is having to work through with her child is big or small, offer your support to her. A hug, smile, or even making her laugh can be a way to show her you care and support her instead of judging her.
Offer advice when asked – “The godly give good advice to their friends….” Proverbs 12:26
Before you offer advice, make sure they want to hear it. If it is not wanted, it may fall on deaf ears.
Pray for and with each other – “Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.” Ephesians 1:15-17
Your prayers do not have to be long or extravagant. Pray that God would give each of you wisdom and know that He will because he gives wisdom generously. (James 1:5)
Start a Mom Bible study –
This doesn’t have to be a big group – unless you want it to be. Ask your closest friends if they want to meet together to study the Word. Another option would be to offer a Bible study at church. There is nothing like being able to meet with a small group of other moms. It is a great place to discuss the Bible, help each other, pray, laugh, and get encouraged.
Be kind – “Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12
Treat that mom the way you would want her to treat you if your child misbehaved. We all – including our kids – have bad days. Offer her love, grace, kindness, and a smile. Choose not to judge her and her parenting based on her child’s “off” day.
Share your own struggles and victories –
We can learn from each other. Share things that have worked for you and things that haven’t. Listen as your friend shares as well. Know that not everything will work for everyone – but who knows? You both might find answers to your current parenting questions.
Don’t be judgmental – “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” Luke 6:31
When another mom is in the midst of training her child we should come support her without a condemning eye. You may or may not know what is going on with the child or mom that day. They may be having a bad day. Maybe their child had a terrible night’s sleep and is acting out because of it. Or it could be that they are just a toddler and need to be taught right from wrong.
MAKE A CHOICE
I think this verse sums it all up: “Encourage one another and build each other up.” Next time, when tempted to judge fellow moms, choose to encourage and build them up instead.