Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you choose to purchase through them, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
In my last blog post I wrote about the solid biblical truths we can use to encourage young mothers who are struggling or feel like they’re failing, instead of using “fluffy” encouragement like “you’re a good mum.”
Today I want to talk about some practical things we can do to encourage and build up the mothers in our community.
God tells us in James 2:14-26 that faith and deeds go together. As Christian women, we should be lifting each other up in speech, and also showing love to one another in our deeds.
“ If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” – James 2:15-16
Helping others when life is hard
If you’re barely managing in this season, the idea of helping other mums might sound overwhelming.
Let me tell you what others have told me – your time to help will come.
Right now is your season to receive help. Don’t feel ashamed because you don’t have any spare time or energy with which to help others right now.
Make sure you’re part of a good church, reach out for help and graciously receive it. And know that one day, you will (likely) have energy and time again. Then you will be able to practically encourage and love the mothers around you.
I’ve ordered the ideas in this list from the least time/energy commitment to the most. (I suppose that’s subjective, but it’s rated that way from my perspective, anyway!)
So, how can you practically encourage the mothers around you? Here are some ideas:
Pray for her
Is there a mother in your community who comes to mind? You can pray for her right now. It’s probably the easiest, but also the most powerful thing you can do for someone. I’ve written another blog post about praying for your friends from the Bible. But another way to encourage the mums you know is to ask them how you can pray, and then pray for that specific need. (And then follow up later to ask about the thing you prayed for.)
Send her an encouraging text message
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – you can say something simple like, “You just popped into my head this morning – how are you going?” Or you can encourage her in a specific way, like “I noticed you were so patient with your kids yesterday even though they were pressing all your buttons. Praise God for the work he’s doing in you!”
Listen to her
Sometimes as mums, we just need to download the data to another adult, y’know? Bless your mama friends by listening to them and taking an interest in what they’re saying. Remember that she might just really need to talk some things through out-loud to process them. Providing a listening ear is one way of showing that you care.
Send her a card
Who doesn’t love to get something in the mail? If you live in the same town, you don’t even have to pay for postage, just drop it in her letterbox. I think what makes a hand-written card so encouraging is knowing that someone else was thinking of you and made that little bit of effort to build you up. My friend, Sarah, makes some lovely hand-painted cards you can buy here.
Go for a walk together
Going for long-ish walks with friends has been such a blessing to me over the years. When all your kids fit in a pram and/or baby carrier, it’s even better! Walking together gets you both out in the fresh air, provides you with some decent exercise, and gives you a chance to talk about a range of things without (many) interruptions from little ones, as long as you remember to pack some snacks.
Be a “call me anytime” friend
If you’re anything like me, you might feel a *little* awkward establishing this kind of relationship with someone. But just try to take the natural cues. If there’s a mum you know who is going through a rough time with baby sleeping and feeding issues, maybe just let her know that she can call you anytime, even in the middle of the night, if she needs some support.
Take her a meal or some baked goods
We often think of taking meals to a family who have just had a baby or gone through a loss, but it can also be a lovely kindness to offer in the normal busyness of life. The easiest way to do this is to simply make a double serve of an easy dinner like pasta bake or stir fry with rice, then text your friend and tell her you have extra if she’d like it. Or make a double batch of baked goods and drop some off when you’re out running errands next. I’m convinced that food is a whole love language of its own.
Drop off a care package
Make a little care package to give her a pick-me-up and encourage her. A care package can be as simple as a chocolate and a tea bag, or you could fill a basket with things like, chocolates, candles, some nice bath salts and a good book. If you’re looking for a book to specifically encourage her in Christian motherhood, I highly recommend Fit to Burst*, by Rachel Jankovic, and Treasuring Christ when your Hands are Full*, by Gloria Furman. These books were both a tremendous blessing to my heart at a time when life was full with the work of mothering little kids.
Go and read the Bible out loud to her
When you’ve got little kids, it can be hard to find the time to read the Bible. Encourage the young mums you know by reading God’s word directly to them. If you’re not sure what to read, the Psalms are a great place to read from anytime. Or you could just pick up from where you’re currently reading. Read a chapter and then briefly discuss it together.
Go over and read to her kids
I had a friend who did this when my third child was a baby, and it was such a blessing. We had a lot of feeding issues, so things like reading to the kids or being creative often went out the window. So when my friend would sit with the kids and read to them, it felt like she was actively helping to carry part of my load. Not to mention, I could take a minute to breathe while she did!
Watch her kids at her house so she can nap
This one is similar to the idea above – go to her house and watch the kids for a while so she can have a nap. My kids are a little older now, so if I need to rest during the day I can just turn on the TV for them. But when you have toddlers and baby’s you really have to be switched on all the time, and that can be exhausting, especially if you have a baby who doesn’t nap anymore. So why not offer your friend to watch the kids so she can get some rest.
Go with her to the supermarket
When you have a baby and a toddler and other kids, doing the weekly grocery shopping can be a huge task. You have to balance feeding times, sleeping times, toilet trips and nappy changes, snacks, and those mid-shop tantrums that can catch you off guard. I so appreciated all the times I had a friend come to the shops with me when my kids were little. Having her company and just a set of extra hands (and eyes) made things so much smoother. Is there a mum in your circle who would love to have a little help with the weekly shop?
Helping where you can
Whatever stage of life you’re at, God has a purpose and a way for you to bring glory to Him. Maybe you’re at the stage where you need to ask for help and receive it. (This list could give you some ideas for what to say when someone asks you what you need help with…)
Maybe you’re at the stage where you’re able to help others more. That doesn’t mean it will be easy or come at no cost to yourself. Ask the Lord that he would open your eyes and your heart to see others the way He sees them.
*This is an affiliate link, which means if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
Great advice, Jess! I remember the years when I was always the one who needed help and advice. Now I’m finally entering a season where I can give back a little, although I’m still learning and growing so much!
Thanks for your comment, Sarah!
I feel the same way, I’m finally able to start giving back and it feels great. I’m especially thankful for all the women in my community who supported and encouraged me when I needed it – they set such a good example.