Grace & Growth: Fierce Support

By Sydney Dorr

Hey Mamas! Today we’re taking a break from mantras to talk about this month’s theme – Fierce Friendships.  If I had thought of a cool mantra for this theme I would have used it, but one did not obligingly spring to mind. One did not even reluctantly hobble to mind, so we’re just going to talk.

They say it takes a village to raise a child (truth). I say it takes mom friends to keep me from losing my ever loving mind. Who else will want to hear about the contents of my newborn’s diapers, how many hours I didn’t sleep last night, or the swear word my preschooler said?  Who else is going to tell me that all this madness is normal?

But as vital as mom friendships are, I think we sometimes shortchange ourselves. In our society, the mark of a good friend is one who always reminds you that only YOU know what’s best for your child and that whatever you are doing is the right thing.

Now, hear me: I absolutely think that my husband and I are the only people who can ultimately decide what is right for our family. I also think that what is right for us might not be right for you, and that’s ok! We still can – and should! – support the heck out of each other. BUT, I don’t just need yes-friends. I need friends who are so fierce in their love for me and mine that they will also ask me hard questions and speak truth to my heart. Sometimes that’s a little uncomfortable, but Proverbs 27:6 says that the wounds of a friend can be trusted.

About a year ago I was sharing with a group of friends that I needed to stop eating dairy for the health of my breastfeeding toddler. And by “sharing”, I mean “whining about giving up cheese”. One dear heart piped up “Have you thought about weaning instead?” For a minute I wanted to deflect the uncomfortable home question and be annoyed. Couldn’t she just sympathize with the tragic loss I was facing? But I knew her heart was for me. So I considered the question seriously. I highly value extended breastfeeding with my kids, but maybe it was time to be done. I eventually concluded that continuing to nurse was worth giving up pizza. That conclusion resulted in a total attitude adjustment! Instead of complaining about what I was losing, I felt recommitted to doing what I knew was best for my son. Game changer.

A couple of months ago I told a friend about the difficulty I was having disciplining my eldest man-child in certain situations. She had the most gracious, challenging, empowering response: “You are so good at doing X; don’t be afraid to do Y sometimes.” How perfect is that??? She didn’t say “You are pretty good at X but you aren’t very good at Y, you should probably work on that.” She also didn’t say “You are doing a great job, mama! You do you!” and leave it at that. She knows me – knows my strengths and weaknesses and dynamic with my son. She saw how an area where I struggled was negatively impacting my relationship with my boy and she spoke truth in love. That one conversation empowered me to more fully be who I am called to be as a person and a mom.

These women have laughed and cried with me; fed me, watched my kids, shared their struggles and failure; their support is too fierce to stop at “you do you.”  

I want to be that kind of friend. The one who shows up to do laundry and listen to the stories and cheer you on. The one who you know has your back no matter what. And also, the one who you can count on to ask uncomfortable questions and speak truth in love. I want to be a friend who keeps my heart soft and open to growth because I need that, too. Sometimes it might be uncomfortable, but let’s be willing to dive into the fullness of fierce friendships.

Whitney ParnellComment