By Cindy Koch –
I’ve always had a hard time with other moms. I am a mom. I’ve known many moms throughout my life. But if you are familiar with friendship among women, you know what I mean. Inevitably, tension builds as moms get to know each other.
At first, of course, friendships blossom. We discover the peculiar things that connect us. We enjoy shared experiences walking next to each other, at least for a while. We talk, laugh, and count ourselves blessed to find a friend in the world full of strangers. Especially for a mother, in the beginning, this friend is a sweet relief. Another sister has groaned in pain alongside her. Another woman has lived through the peculiar moments of figuring out a beautiful little creature. Another mother shares the frustrations and joys of this journey called motherhood.
Yet, for terribly good reasons, a mother always on guard for the sake of her children. Even unknowingly, mom will defend her parenting to the end. And it’s not just for her own sake but also because she believes it was the best she could have done for her babies. But then there are sideway looks and judging eyes. “That’s not what I would do…” All at once, because of our passionate mothering, we are face to face with another mom, wondering, “Is this really my friend?”
It is here where we women forsake our fellow mothers. It is here where we hurt and fail our sisters. Even though we desperately search for a friend who will understand our own mothering choices, we too quickly hide away this compassion from another mother.
The mother who works full time is shamed by the stay-at-home mom. The mother who homeschools is laughed at by the private school mom. The mother who has family in town is scolded by the single mom. The mother who buys white Wonder Bread is rebuked by the gluten-free, organic mom. But in all of this, every single one of us is really just looking for one simple thing: a friend.
This friendship will have to go beyond our mothering preferences because there will always be that one more thing that we will not choose to see eye to eye. There will always be the bad experiences that separate us. There will always be a variable in our lives that will keep us from being friends. No, this friendship will have to be based on a deeper reality that binds us together: our identity in Christ.
Here we are not known as good or bad mothers. Together we are mothers who fail every single day. Here we do not burden each other with methods and advice. Together we are mothers who do not have all the answers, and we don’t pretend to. Here we do not shrink away from a mother who needs comfort from a friend. Together we trust that all mothers are forgiven on account of Christ.
And wow. What freedom this brings to our friendships. Instead of obsessing about the latest toddler diet trend, we are released to confide in a friend about things that really matter. No longer do we gossip and disapprove of a mother’s career path. We are liberated to forgive and encourage each other no matter where we have ended up. It’s not about our mothering choices and paths anymore. We are set free to endure this passing age together.
Moms, forgive me for forgetting who we are to each other. In Christ, we are ever and always friends.