Three Opinions on Play dates

Wednesday I (Kathleen) wrote a post about play-dates for moms. If you missed it, you can catch up here.

Congratulations to Hollie Hart, winner of  a copy of Positive Adoption A Memoir and a ten dollar Starbucks gift card in our facebook contest.

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What do you think an encouraging play-date for Moms looks like?

Audrey:An encouraging play date for moms looks like a chance to talk and drink coffee and go on a walk. I love when I can chat and soak up some sunshine at the same time, especially since I tend to be bad about getting outside on my own. I like the occasional late night excursion, but since evenings are when my husband and I can hang out, it’s more stressful than encouraging if my weeks fill up with lots of nights out while he watches kids. I prefer play dates with one or two moms where we can talk while we let our kids play.

Kathleen: An encouraging play-date for me looks like a coffee date, lunch or sitting out on the deck with a friend/friends and being honest. I don’t do well with small talk. I am drained by it. I would rather talk with someone who is authentic and willing to empathize with me while I do the same for her. Complaining sucks the life out of play-dates. I think there is a definite divide between the state of sharing for caring and sharing to complain. I love to hear other mom’s stories and share my own. And I am sometimes prone to stop and pray.

Amerey: An encouraging play-date for Moms, is a play date that reassures Mothers that they are doing they best they can. A play date at another Moms house that shows that her house isn’t perfectly clean, or that her kids are not perfectly behaved. Also, a time were Moms can talk and be honest with each other about what they are experiencing in they’re mothering. Sometimes it is great to make something shiny, or bake something yummy just to lift your spirits.

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What do you think is the most encouraging thing a Mom friend could say to you?

Audrey:Because I personally struggle with empathy, an encouraging friend for me is one who is empathetic. When I tell her I’m having a hard day, what I need from a mom friend is not just “you’re doing a great job!” but for the gentle reminder about what my kids are probably feeling, too. It makes me look outside myself and what I’m feeling and focus on those around me instead, and that’s so much more encouraging and beneficial in the long-term than a pity party. I know the opposite is true for some moms– they need less empathy and a dose of tough love for their kids, with the reminder that it’s okay to take care of themselves. I think it depends on the person, and for me, finding an emotional opposite of sorts helps me be around people who encourage me.

It’s also important for me to be around people who share priorities with me. It doesn’t mean I can only be friends with those people, but when I’m weak and in need of encouragement or help, I trust advice and comfort more when it comes from people who share the same long-term goals and similar short-term ones.

Kathleen: I think the most encouraging thing another Mom can say to be is “Keep going. Don’t quit. You’re doing a great job!.” I have struggled for years to find my place in the body of Christ and serve with the gifts and talents that God has given me instead of being a people pleaser and latching onto whatever ministry happens to be floating by (which drains me). So, an encouraging friend is not upset if I am not following her God-sized dream and supports me while I follow mine. And she tells me so.

Amerey: The most encouraging thing a Mom friend could say to me is, “I do that too!”

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What do you think a discouraging play-date looks like?

Audrey:I’m most drained by play dates that focus on complaining. It especially makes me uncomfortable and discouraged when I’m around moms that disparage other moms or their own husbands. I don’t like being around people who encourage me to indulge in being selfish, and it can be exhausting if our priorities in life are totally different and I’m using emotional energy to keep up or not come off as judgmental just because I’m doing something in a different way. I’m not talking about small parenting decisions, mind you, but life priorities.

Second up, and I’m guilty of this too, I feel left discouraged and discontent when conversation revolves around having or obtaining the “right” material things. I’ve been noticing this more and more in myself recently and I don’t like it.

Kathleen: A discouraging play date is one that I don’t feel right at. I feel wrong. I feel as if my clothes are wrong, my calling is wrong, It’s the kind of play date when no one else in the room is like-minded and they let you know your way of thinking doesn’t match their’s and you should join them. These are the events that sent me running for the door.

I also agree with Audrey, I am not comfortable on play dates that become “bash your family” dates. I cannot stand the dates that make you feel as if you need to go to the mall and buy more, more, more because i don’t have the right material things. Play dates should be about relationships, not material things. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great creative crafting play date! These crafting dates are therapeutic if they are within my budget.

Amerey: A discouraging play date looks like a day were you are trying to encourage a mom or be encouraged and the other mother is being a negative Nancy no matter what is said or done.

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Who has been a great play-date friend and how did she accomplish it?

Audrey: I have a friend that’s up for play dates with the kids or play dates after bedtime and the flexibility is awesome. She’s willing to listen to me without always offering solutions, sometimes she just says, “That sounds so hard.” And that’s enough. But she also empathizes with my kids and notices things I might not and isn’t afraid to suggest things that are good even if they aren’t easy.   Number one: she asks how I’m doing and doesn’t freak out or shut down if I give an honest answer.
Kathleen: I have many great play date friends. They are the kind of friends I am not able to see for weeks or months, but when we get together, we just pick up where we left off. We share our lives. We pray for one another. We are honest with each other and tell the hard truths as well as the easy ones. We celebrate together. We cry together. We grieve together. A friend accomplishes this by being honest and self-sacrificing. As an adoptive Mom, I am careful what I share about my children from hard places. I must have a few safe friend so share with who know where I am coming from. Being part of a support group helps meet this need!
Amerey: My sister Audrey has been a great play date friend because she is helpful and honest with my struggles, she is always open with me about hers, and she has always been awesome in encouraging me that, “that’s normal!”
Please share your answers to these questions in the comments, you never know who you will minister to. Especially when you say  “me too”!

Play-dates for Moms

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There has long been a debate about ‘me’ time for Moms. During my early parenting years, it seemed to be frowned upon (by the church body as a whole). Then it seemed to come back around to the idea that it was okay for Moms to spend time away from the little ones, provided they strapped a heaping helping of guilt on their backs.

I’m thankful that there has been a paradigm shift for Moms. If you are a younger Mom, you probably heard of Mommy time in a positive light. And that is good. I’d like to delve a little deeper into the concept of ‘me’ time or play-dates for Moms.Young Moms are fed the important truth of put your own oxygen mask on first. This looks different at different stages of our parenting journey. With infants, it could be napping while the baby does or reading an encouraging book or watching a movie with hubby. It could be having your momma over for the day to help, to talk to or my favorite to craft or created something for the home. Play-dates morph into other Moms coming over with their little ones to play. Moms talk intermittently while kids play. Kids eat snacks and make friends. Then this practice moves to soccer field sidelines, birthday parties, libraries, parks and farmer’s markets. Sometimes, these snippets of conversation are enough to sustain a weary Momma’s soul. But, there is a catch.

A BIG CATCH.

These play-dates are only helpful if they encourage.

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Here’s an example and it all stems from the book of Genesis.

I love watching home renovation shows. I could watch them all day long. Here’s the catch: watching HGTV is great for me (in moderation) if it encourages me to do projects within my budget (physically, emotionally, spiritually) i.e. it inspires me to be a better keeper of my home with excellence I love Holley Gerth’s definition of excellence-

“Excellence is doing what you can, with what you have, where you are, as you are.”

When renovation shows lead to inspiration that translates into improvements within my scope then they are beneficial. This translates into work (perspiration) which leads to satisfaction and I say, “it is good” (Genesis 1:31)

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HGTV is not good for me when it leads me down the path of discontent. When I watch a show and suddenly feel my house is too yellow, too old, too outdated, then I need to switch the TV off. It’s not building me up, it is tearing me down and I eventually tear my family down when I complain to my husband that my home is not _____ enough. Eve had the same struggle before the fall and she had it all. She let the deceiver convince her that what she had wasn’t good enough. She “saw that the tree was good (suitable and pleasant)for food and that it was delightful to look at” and she ate it and gave it to her husband. And that act of discontent changed the world.

The same principle apples to play-dates for Moms. Will the time satisfy our desire for connection and inspire us or incite our lust and give us a contempt for our present circumstances? When play-dates become the bait in the comparison trap, we moms need to spare ourselves the trip (Click to TWEET). We all have those times we leave an outing feeling deflated instead of encouraged. We have all had or been those Moms who is quick to  one-up during conversations to make ourselves feel better or hide the truth to make ourselves look better. Truths like it took everything within you just to get out the door to this get together. Kids were whining and hanging on you, You got peanut butter rubbed on your pants and had to change. A kid accidentally spilled the cats water on your freshly blow dried hair (true stories, I don’t have to make this stuff up). We Moms need to be authentic with each other in order to encourage one another. (Click to TWEET) We adoptive Moms who are raising children from hard places need someone to be real with. Someone who won’t judge us and make us feel like we are “all wrong”. We need support and encouragement and the hope that things will be “all right”.

So what does an encouraging play-date look like for us Moms? Does it have to be fancy? Or can it be out on the weather-worn deck with cups of coffee. Does it have to always be dressed up in real clothes instead of yoga pants and t-shirts? Do any of these things matter? Friday, my girls and i will be answering these questions:

What do you think an encouraging play-date for Moms looks like?

What do you think is the most encouraging thing a Mom friend could say to you?

What do you think a discouraging play-date looks like?

Who has been a great play-date friend and how did she accomplish it?

Feel free to join us and share you answers in the comments!

A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor and Three word Wednesday!

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