Moms are generally selfless. I mean, they have to be. The demands on their time are unending. Whether a mom spends her days at home, works away from home too, has a great support system, or is trying to do it all on her own, she’s stretched thin. Because, at the end of the day, she’s the one her children turn to. And, the truth is, that’s exactly how she wants it to be.
But moms are tired, the kind of tired that doesn’t go away after a good night’s sleep. Moms not only work from the minute their feet hit the floor in the morning until they finally drift off to sleep at night, they also carry a mental load that they never put down. It’s not unusual for their dreams to be a continuation of the constant stream of thoughts they’ve dealt with all day.
Even moms who no longer face the constant physical demands of motherhood as part of their daily lives still carry the mental load. We still think about our children constantly, even dreaming about them, long after they no longer need our help meeting their daily needs. After all, our children growing up doesn’t lessen our desire to nurture and protect them.
Moms Need More Time
When we give a mom the gift of time, we’re actually giving her so much more. By recognizing her need for a tiny slice of time that she can call her own, we’re letting her know that we can see her. We see how hard she works. We understand that she carries a load she never puts down. We notice how she puts the needs of her children above her own. We know she often longs for a small word of encouragement as she wonders if she’s doing anything right at all.
Offer to watch the baby
If the opportunity presents itself for you to watch a young mom’s baby, do it. Holding her infant while the rocking chair gently sways back and forth will allow her to slip away into the soft darkness of her bedroom where she can take a much-needed nap knowing her baby is resting too.
Those few minutes you share with her will only refresh her for a brief time, but she won’t forget how you’ve let her know it’s okay to need rest, okay to ask for help. You’ve let her know that she’s not alone.
Offer to play with the toddler
Moms of toddlers and preschoolers could use a hand too. Taking a few minutes to stop by and play on the floor with her children is such a thoughtful gift. While you help put together puzzles or make towers out of blocks, she can finally allow herself to focus on something else.
Most likely, she will choose to spend her time folding laundry or taking out the trash or some other chore she never seems to find time to do. Resist the urge to tell her to spend some time on herself. Often this type of time alone is just what a young mom needs to feel like her world isn’t spinning out of control. She’s living in a season where sometimes the combined stress of all the demands on her time can feel suffocating. However she chooses to lighten her load, your gift of entertaining her children will help lift a little of it off her shoulders.
Offer to pray for her children, to take them to lunch or sports games
If a mom has older children she still needs help even though it may not seem as obvious. While the slight release of physical demands on her time are welcomed, the worry she now feels has increased her mental load.
As her children move away from her and toward a life of their own, there’s so much more for her to think about. You can give her the gift of time through conversation and prayer. She still needs to know she’s not alone.
Showing a mother we see her
When we give a mom the gift of our time, we are actually giving her so much more.
We’re acknowledging the fact that she’s not alone. All the emotions that she has stacked one on top of the other as part of who she is now, were once felt by us too, and we’re letting her know that.
We’re allowing her to focus on herself even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time. In this way, we let her know that everything she does is seen. We’re telling her that we notice how she pours herself out for her children, almost never taking time to fill herself back up.
We’re showing her how much she will one day be able to share with others, with all the moms who will follow in her footsteps. In this season of her life, this time when she often feels that she has nothing left to give, it’s important for her to know that she’s adding to her storehouse, to the well of wisdom she will one day draw from to bless other moms.
We’re loving her by loving her children, those who will always be the most important in her life. We understand that the universal love language is time. We’re showing her and her children that they have value, that they are loved, and that they are worth it all.
The best gift you can give a mom is to see her. And all it takes from you is a few minutes of your time.