My phone lights up. Someone has posted to GroupMe again. They are talking about who knows what, but I need to know who is talking about what! The app is simple. You take a group of people you want to talk to, but would rather not text or email, and everyone signs up, and voila, you have an easy and convenient way to connect with your friends. (I say connect, but we all know its a little tiny deserted island with my friends where we can huddle around our phones and say pretty much anything while using emoticons to really add umph!)
They are my community. This group of ten women on this little app on my little phone has offered more advice and prayer and laughter than any other group I have been a part of. Granted, we were a Bible study group that morphed into ten BFF’s over the last five years and GroupMe is just a way for us to stay connected, like every day, like, every minute, ahem. Moving on.
Friendship with other parents is one of the best things you could do for your parenting adventure. If you don’t have a crazy group of people who post things about recipes and their latest hair catastrophe, then find a group of like-minded people that you can do life with and talk about parenting. Talk about the challenges and the joys. Talk about what works in your family and what works in someone else’s. Explore how one family might discipline or reward their kids. Uncover ways to encourage your kids that you never thought about before. Look for gifts in other parents that can translate into your home.
What I have discovered in this group of women is that their story can help me write mine. Their struggles with their four year old or their teenager might give me the wisdom and ideas I need for mine. Their ideas about how to make a family enjoy a night together has given me many ideas of how to do the same. Their tears have been my tears. Their joys, my joys.
Parenting is hard, and it’s almost impossible to do alone. I know for most parents, the fear of failing our kids is at the top of “What I Hope I Don’t Do” list. We can’t ever believe we will never fail our kids. But, what we can believe, is that the more resources we have, the more people who have gone before us talking to us about these years, and the more Godly wisdom we can swallow, we might find that list of failures is not as terrible as we thought it might be.
For example, I almost flipped when a young man asked my oldest to the Homecoming dance. (For your information, we homeschool, so this is way out of our box.) Thankfully, he asked my husband before he asked her (bonus points for that young man). The first thing I did was talk to my group of friends about it before I made a fool of myself with my sixteen year old. Within minutes, they had talked me off the ledge and had their own stories about who asked who out and what they did or didn’t do. Crisis averted. I happily and joyfully listened to her tell me about how he asked.
That’s a simple story and we have most certainly dealt with more difficult topics as a group. The point is, I have a group. I have a safe group of moms who love Jesus and their families and we work together to make sure we can do the best we can do without the guilt of what we didn’t do. It’s a beautiful mess of honesty, tears, laughter, wisdom, Scripture, pain, guilt, encouragement, and a little drama. I would not be the woman, or mom, I am today without them.
What about you?
Do you have a safe group of parents you can talk to about raising your kids?