A few weeks ago I wrote this post about looking up and not being so caught up in our own worlds. Too caught up in our own lives to look up and engage with the people we come into contact with.
The moment that brought me to this realisation was meeting a woman who was playing with her son next to mine at the aquarium. After reaching out to her, I learned she was from Kenya and was here visiting her husband who she had lived with in the United States for 13 years. We chatted for a few minutes and I asked her if she would be keen to meet up again. Something just felt easy about asking her to join me and the boys for a playdate.
And she called the following week to make a plan to meet up. And here’s what I learnt after spending the afternoon together while our kids played.
- Friends are all around us. People/Strangers who are and introduction away from being a friend.
- We are mothers from different corners of the globe but we are part of the same universal team of parents. It’s often after a mere 2 minutes that you feel connected through the mutual bond motherhood.
- We are all going through the same things and struggles. Nobody has it all together and there will always be challenges during the different seasons of raising kids.
- Putting yourself out there and talking to women who are not in the comfort of your own circle of mom friends feels good! I LOVE my mom friends and I miss them when I don’t see them as often as I would like, but making time to connect with people out side of that, is liberating and eye-opening. We learn so much about different cultures, ways of life and different ways of parenting and we can walk away feeling challenged. It also teaches our children to step out of our comfort zones and build trusting relationships. Of course we need to tach our kids to be careful about becoming friends with ANYBODY, but showing them thats its ok to engage and more importantly HOW to engage is quite significant. It makes them aware of things to look out for when engaging with new people and so they are able to trust people in a safe and controlled environment.
- We often have no idea of just how lonely some mothers are. We assume everyone has a support system and that their lives are easy. We forget that sometimes what we say in an instant can be just what someone needs. We don’t realise the impact a smile or word of encouragement can have.
You see, while talking to Irene we both agreed that we let moments pass us by and somehow we have stopped engaging so easily with other moms. Automatically we put our guards up instead of being open to making new friends and connections. And we both agreed how tragic that was.
So I urge you all. The next time you are at the shop checkout or at your local park or walking on the beach, say hello to the mom next you. You never know what that hello may lead to or how much you reaching out may mean. When you see another mom dealing with a tantruming toddler or looking like she is about to lose the plot, reach out and tell her she’s doing a great job, better yet ask if you can help. We have nothing to lose, and so much to gain.