Motherhood + Friendship

KIDS, SMART PHONES + PARENT PRESSURE (oh my!)

     We sat around a sticky table at Starbucks when one mother said to another mother,

"Honestly. I can't believe you gave your ten year old a smart phone! Don't you know how dangerous it is?"

   Other mothers started to chime in with all kinds of " children and technology" opinions. It's terrible for their brain development! It makes them accessible to cyber-bullying! They become vulnerable to online predators!

     The mother, in question, took another sip of her flat white and then placed it carefully in the middle of the table.

      "I didn't give my ten year old a smart phone. Her *father* did. When we separated, he bought it for her because she started to have panic attacks at bedtime. When she is with me at night, he will FaceTime her until she falls asleep. When she is with him, I do the same. "

  Suddenly Starbucks fell silent and we all felt a little stupid.

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What you need to know about kids, smart phones + parent pressure:

1. This is a personal decision that parents need to make for their individual child. The polling consensus doesn't get a vote.

       You have to do what is best for your child. Period.

  • It is the responsibility of the parent to inform themselves of all the possible positive and negative effects of smart phone/social media  usage.
  • It is the responsibility of the parent to assess their own child's individual maturity to handle 24 hour access to information and peer interaction.
  • It is the responsibility of the parent to create healthy boundaries and positive restrictions to safeguard their child and protect them from online harm.
  • It is the responsibility of the parent to make a  decision, enforce their decision, and be confident in their decision as it pretains to social media, smart phone and their kid.

     No one else gets a say. As much as peer pressure is alive and well today... so is "parent pressure". Newsflash, people: Parenting in this highly technologically driven age is really friggin' hard to navigate. So, let's be gentle with each other. Okay?

2. Personal Social Media/ SmartPhone Policy should be communicated to parents/adults who are temporarily caring for your child. 

     Parents have the right to enforce their family's personal phone/social media policy no matter where their child is. Here's an example: Your daughter is  attending Little Susie's slumber party. You are not sure if the other children at the slumber party have access to a smart phone but your personal family phone/social media  policy is that your daughter's picture is not to be on social media sites  nor should she engage on any a social media site. This personal policy should be communicated to Little Susie's parents, "Hey. Just a heads up...our daughter is not allowed to be on or engaging on any social media sites. We would really appreciate if you could help us honor that commitment we made." Will Little Susie's parents honor your request? There is no guarantee... but if they are decent folks, they will. Even so, you got to communicate what you want held accountable. 

    A mistake that many parents make is that they assume parents of other children have similar family social media/ smart phone policies. When they find out that Little Billy introduced their child to the world of Snap Chat at Billy's house... they freak out. Little Billy's parents allow him to use Snap Chat with some restrictions but Little Billy's parents had no idea that Snap Chat was not something that  all parents were cool with. Do you see the problem? Lack of communication means lack of accountability.

      Parents have got to get comfortable with communicating what their personal policy is. They don't have to defend or give reason for their policy but they do need to make it known. 

3.  Parents shouldn't feel like they have to defend their phone/social media policy to anyone...except to their kid. 

    Throw tomatoes at me if you will, but your kid needs to know the "why" behind the phone/social media policies you are putting into place. The old line of, "Cause we say so", just doesn't cut it these days (did it ever?) . This classic parental proclamation will NOT empower your child to stand up to the peer pressure they are going to have to navigate. 

  When we educate our children with why we have restrictions or particular policies, we are empowering them. Will they always agree with our reasons? Um...no...but at least we will equip them with good information that they can weigh against what information their peers will offer them.  We have got to give our kids the opportunity to think critically.... especially in this technologically driven age. We do this by informing.

4. Parents should help other parents out by reporting dangerous activity discovered on social media.

     No. No one gets to tell you how to parent your kid. No. One. But if you happen to stumble upon Little Judy's finsta account where she is posing in her bra and panties and talking dirty to 30 year old men...  I think it's fair to discreetly inform Little  Judy's parents of this kind activity. 

    Once another mother said to me, "Oh my God! Did see So-and-So's daughter's fake Instagram account ! She was half naked in her last post. I doubt all the men that made comments on her post knew she was only 13."  

   I responded, "Do her parents know?"

   She said "I don't know. It's not my problem. She's not my kid."

   To which I replied , "So...it's not your problem... but it IS you latest piece of hot gossip?" (Side note: I get snarky when I feel like people aren't taking children's safety seriously)

    Look. I get it. Some of us don't want to tell parents that they are kids are cyber-bullying...  the target of cyber-bulling ... posing half naked in posts... or chatting online to strangers... because it's uncomfortable. It IS uncomfortable. Get over it. Our kids are too precious to not make it our business to keep them safe.  If you see something that concerns you, say something to the people who love that child the most: the parents.

    Our kids are living in way different world than the world WE lived in as children. Technology has changed but kids haven't. Kids still need parents to be their loving leaders who make good decisions on their behalf.  So...

Let's remember:

1. The decision about social media/phone policy is personal for each parent to weigh for their child.

2. We need to communicate appropriately what our personal policy is if we want it to be enforced no matter where our child is.

3. We need to empower our kids by educating them on the reasons why we have particular social media/phone policies.

4. We need to help each other out and make the safety of all children our business. 

   We can do this.

We can lead this generation well. We were born for it.

Always cheering for you,

Noelle

FRIENDSHIP AND THE SPECIAL NEEDS MAMA.

     When your kid has special needs, it's not long before  you are looking hard for your "village". You quickly realize that you cannot do it alone - physically, mentally, emotionally...even spiritually. It's just not possible. There are too many unknowns and nuances to juggle. You'd have to  live  on island of denial to think you could handle it all by yourself.

    Because I know, I can't.

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      When we first realized that Silas was different, I was a wreck. I was not the "we will get on with it" kind of mother. I was in mourning. I mourned the kid I thought I was going to raise. I needed my friends to:

1) Listen + Speak Hope.

     They listened to me share my fears and cry my tears... a lot. My friends were very good at not saying things like "I don't know why you are so upset. It could be so much worse..." My friends possessed a graciousness that I was in desperate need  of - a safe space to fall apart. While I was on the floor of my despair they would gently but directly speak words of hope: "Noelle, Silas is fabulous and his story is going to be fabulous."

      As we journeyed on with our son's development, there were a lot unique challenges along the way. Silas is "behind" his typically developing peers. This hasn't always been easy to watch. I always found children's birthday parties to be particularly difficult for me. It was tempting to compare our son with the other children who were his age. I needed my friends to :

2) Celebrate our Child's Unique Progress + Speak Hope.

          With every milestone, our son was enthusiastically celebrated by the friends around us. Our friends became "fans of Silas". They not only cheered him on but they continued to speak hope towards his future. I remember one friend commenting to me about how Silas showed compassion towards her baby who was crying, "Silas is so  good with people he knows are more vulnerable and helpless than him. I can see him being a great man of compassion who does a lot of good in this world."  I have never forgotten her words and every time Silas stops to  speak to a little baby, I think about his compassionate nature and my friend's words of hope towards his future.

      When your child has special needs, there are  parts of the journey that are painful - even infuriating.  There are moments where you might even want to kick  someone's teeth in. During these times I needed my friends to: 

 

3) Get Angry With Me + Speak Hope.

      When you are parent of child with special needs you can feel a little crazy at times. It can feel like you are the only one who cares. It's painful to see your kid get left out of the social circle that they would have been in had they been "typical". It's infuriating to be in an IEP meeting where you are getting a lot lip service but not a lot of progress is being made. It makes you mad. It makes me mad but one of the most encouraging words I could hear in those moments is a friend saying,

"I'm mad too."

     I can't explain why - but it helps to know that I not the only one who is angry. I remember once Silas was made fun of by a group of boys. I remember being so angry that tears will spilling out from my eyes when I told the story to a friend. My friend said to me, "May all those little boys lose their hair prematurely!" I laughed so hard in that moment but knowing my friend was mad too helped ease the sting of it. She then took me by the hand and said, "Silas is going to be a person who understands what it's like to be misunderstood and because of that - he will have many friends."  Hearing her words of hope made me less anxious for his future. In fact, I was hopeful.

 

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    The greatest gift my friends have given me, as a mother of a child with special needs, is the gift of hope. As they have hoped...spoke words of hope - it has sparked me to hold onto hope too.

    

 

 

           

YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY LONELY MOM .

          Let's just cut to the chase, shall we?

Motherhood can be lonely.

       Standing in the school yard, waiting to pick up your kid, you may find yourself  scanning the playground for another familiar "Mommy" face to stand next to.  You may notice the groups of moms all huddled together. They have found their squad to belong to... while you stand on the outskirts looking in.

"Is there anyone here that will be my friend?"

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  When I first became a mom, I naturally assumed that I would find "my people" ... other likeminded mommies that would become my "village". It didn't quite happen as organically as I hoped. In fact, I felt terribly lonely and my loneliness made me feel like some kind of freak. "What is wrong with me? Why I am finding it so hard to connect with other moms?" 

The more isolated I felt, the more overwhelmed I became by motherhood.

    

    I had to do something or I was going to go crazy. I had to find my "mom squad" - women that would support me as a mother. So, I took a deep breath and ...

1. Got over myself.

       I am going to be honest with you. The biggest reason why I found myself so lonely as a mom was because I was very insecure. I was constantly worried and obsessing over whether other women liked me or if they approved of how I mothered. I was a hot mess of low self-esteem. I never asked anyone to hang out because I was terrified of rejection. When I did attend events or gatherings I was invited to, I acted awkwardly because I was always trying to figure out what version of "me" the other moms  would like. It. Was. Awful.

   If I was going to overcome loneliness, I had to get over myself. And that's what I did. I learned to embrace my own awesomeness and stop worrying about what others thought. The more comfortable I became with who I was as a person and as a mother, the easier it became to find and connect with other moms.

 

2. Gave up my expectations.

     I had to give up the "Hollywood" fantasy of what I thought a mom squad would be. In my mind, it was a group of 5 mothers, whose children attend the same school together. We all volunteered for the same events and we would all meet every Tuesday for brunch at our favorite corner cafe - dressed in yoga pants and top buns.

 This is not always reality.

  In fact, my mom squad is made up women from all around the world - and some of them are not even mothers. Once I let go of my "fantasy" mom squad, I was able to cultivate deep friendships with women who have truly made be a better mom.

3. Got together with other mothers.

      Look, moms need to be together. I realized that I needed to find places where this could happen easily. So, when my kids were little, I went to a "Mom + Tots" group and it was one of the best decisions I made as a new mom. My toddler and baby played while I had coffee and cookies with women who were in the same season of life as me. Did I become best friends with all the women? No. But it was wonderful to have adult conversation with someone else who understood the misery of having 2 children in diapers. I used to call those Friday mornings, my "Sanity Hour". It was a place where I felt like I wasn't alone or crazy.

4. Gave it my attention.

      Bottom line: As a mother,  I have made my friendships a priority. This isn't always easy because I have little people in my life who rightfully take up a lot of my time. Yet, if I want to be a good mom, I need to consistently cultivate healthy friendships in my life. When I am feeling lonely, it's often because I have stopping being intentional in connecting with others. Loneliness has only hindered my ability to parent well. Connectedness has helped me find success as a mom.

   Mama friend, if you are feeling lonely - please know that you are not the only one.

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We have all felt isolated at some point in the journey but please believe when I say:

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO STAY LONELY.

And for your kids' sake and your sanity, please don't choose to be. It really does take a village.

From one mama's heart to another,

Noelle

 

PS: If you are mama looking for a friend right now, please don't hesitate to reach out:

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ABOUT NOELLE

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Noelle is a  speaker, podcaster, and self proclaimed: Friendtor(Friend +Mentor = Friendtor).  She is the podcast producer/host for Friending Podcast and is a regular co-host for the podcast, Slices of Life. She lives in North Jersey with her hot husband and two wild children. She is a big fan of Constant Comment Tea, the Oscars, and Lesley Knope.

      Noelle is passionate about helping women find grow in their calling and encourage one another to do the same through the art of friendship.   For more random facts on Noelle you can click here or stalk her on Instagram.

3 WAYS I CAN HELP MY CHILD LEARN HOW TO BE A GOOD FRIEND

 Friendship is learned.

   We learn the art of friendship by observation and practice.  Whether we are aware of it or not, our kids are receiving an education in "how to be a friend" everyday.  The question is, "Are they learning how to be a good friend?"

  More and more, as I research friendship, I am convinced that children learn friendship best from their parents. So, this summer, I sat back and thought, "Am I intentionally teaching my kids how to be a GOOD friend?"

   With all the work I do with Friending Podcast and speaking about friendship, I realized that I have kinda dropped the ball in teaching my kids what a healthy friendship is supposed to look like. So, I put my in butt in gear and decided NOW is the time to help my children cultivate a lifelong skill that will not only positively impact their physical health but also their outlook on their future.

 

1. HELP MY CHILD ESTABLISH "FRIENDSHIP GOALS".

      I sat my kids down one morning and asked them, "How can you be a better friend?" Their answers were mature and insightful: 

"I want to tell my friends that they are awesome more often..."

"I want to not be so bossy when we are playing games..."

"I want to make sure everyone is included..."

"I want to make a new friend this school year..."

      A few days a later, I had them create their own "Friendship Goals" vision boards to help remind them what kind of friend they want to be.

    Dear friend, please know that  I am not crafty. At. All. So, this activity was thrown together because the Christmas Tree Shop had a 2 for 1 sale on blank canvases. My daughter (who is the arty one) found a box of puff paints and old markers stuffed under her bed. "
Friendship Goals" vision boards does not have to be fancy. They only need to be visual

   Both of their "Friendship Goals" vision boards are proudly displayed in each of their bedrooms and they have  become a great conversation piece at bedtime. The "Friendship Goals
vision boards serve as a  reminder of their own desire to be a good friend and the steps they want to take to be a good friend. It's also something that I can hold them accountable to.

 

2. HELP MY CHILD UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEALTHY AND UNHEALTHY FRIENDSHIP HABITS.

  

    There are healthy and unhealthy friendship habits. Encouragement is a healthy friendship habit. Communicating to a friend how they are specifically awesome is encouragement. Manipulation is an unhealthy friendship habit. Giving your friend the silent treatment because they did not do what you wanted them to do is manipulation. I realized that my kids need me to show them the distinction between what is healthy and what is not.

  There is a popular saying, that even I have been guilty of quoting. and that is,

"Kids will be kids."

    This is true. Kids will be kids, but even still, kids need to be taught what is right. If I notice that one of kids' friendship groups have an unhealthy habit of excluding others, it's my responsibility to say, "Uh, that's not right. That's not healthy." 

  In the same way, when my child tells me that a friend drew them a card to help cheer them up, I need to point out that this is a healthy quality in their friendship: "Wow! I am so glad  you have a friend who notices when you are upset and tries to help you feel better. This is what a good friend does."

  It's important to take the time to make sure my kids know how a good friend treats others. I am always shocked when I hear of stories of children who have been bullied for years by their so-called "best friend". When asked why they let themselves be mistreated for so long many of them say, "I didn't know any different." Whoa.

 

3. HELP MY CHILD LEARN TO BE A GOOD FRIEND BY CULTIVATING MY OWN HEALTHY FRIENDSHIPS

     They say that children learn more from what their parents practice then what their parents preach. If want my kids to learn to be a good friend, than I need to be a good friend. This means, I need to show up in my friends' lives on a regular basis. I need to have healthy boundaries within my friendships. AND I need to actually go out and spend time with my friends... and not use my children as an excuse to not to.

    Friendship is a lifelong skill that I am always trying to sharpen. I don't think I will ever be the "perfect friend" but I would love to become someone that my kids could say, "My mom was a good friend. I learned a lot from watching her."

For more on how to help your child become a good friend listen to Episode 31 (Helping Your Kids With Friendship) on Friending Podcast:

 

 


ABOUT NOELLE

Noelle is a  speaker, podcaster, and self proclaimed: Friendtor(Friend +Mentor = Friendtor).  She is the podcast producer/host for Friending Podcast and is a regular co-host for the podcast, Slices of Life. She lives in North Jersey with her hot husband and two wild children. She is a big fan of Constant Comment Tea, the Oscars, and Lesley Knope.

      Noelle is passionate about helping women find grow in their calling and encourage one another to do the same through the art of friendship.   For more random facts on Noelle you can click here or stalk her on Instagram.

RAISING A DAUGHTER WHO EMPOWERS OTHER WOMEN

  On January 21, 2017, 440,000 to 500,000 people gathered in Washington DC along with a  worldwide participation of an estimated five million people for the Women's March.  It is said to be the largest single-day protest in US History.

   Women's rights are important to me and not just because I'm female. They are important to me because I have an eight year old daughter and it's my desire (along with her father's) that she has all the space to grow up to be everything she is meant to be. 

   As much as I want misogyny, sexism, and inequality to end FOREVER, there is a greater present threat against my daughter that concerns me...

The other girls in her class.

    The extremes of bullying between girls has become more disturbing, prevalent and younger. I  cried when I read about the 11 year old girl who had boiling hot water thrown on her face and body when she was at sleepover. In my own community, a 12 year old girl committed suicide after being tortured by a group of girls from her school with bullying-text messages for a long period of time. The last text message  she received from one of these girls was an encouragement for her to kill herself ... and she did. As a community, we are shaken to our core. These are our kids. These are our girls and they are doing this to each other.

       Looking back on my own childhood and adolescence, my greatest pain did not come from heartbreak of boyfriends but rather from the girls who ripped apart my reputation and told lies about me. Fortunately, I didn't have to suffer their abuse 24/7 because they did not have that kind of constant access to me. There was no texting back then.  When I was home with my parents, I was truly safe from those girls' cruelty. My daughter, on the other hand, lives in a very different world and it's only for so long that I will be able to protect from her own kind.

  As women, we have the right to be treated with dignity, respect, and kindness. When we are not, we should speak up... but what do we do when it's our own fellow sisters that are mistreating us?

   This summer, I began to ask myself this question: HOW CAN I BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION? I realized that first and foremost:

I must decide and commit to intentionally raising my daughter to empower other women.

    What does this look like?

1)  I AFFIRM THAT SHE IS WORTHY OF DIGNITY, RESPECT, AND KINDNESS.

      I tell my daughter constantly that it is her responsibility to embrace her uniqueness and it's our responsibility to accept her for who she is. She does not have to become like anyone else to find belonging. In our home, she is accepted. Both my husband and I are followers of Jesus, but our children know that their faith is their own decision to make - and no. matter. what. - they will always be accepted and embraced by us. If my daughter cannot find dignity, respect and kindness in her own home, then what chance does she have in requiring it of others?

2)  I TELL HER THAT GIRL POWER IS TO HELP AND NOT HURT OTHERS.

     Girl power is always to be meant for good. Girls should not gang up to tear down other girls. Girls should not use their voice to threaten or belittle other girls (or anyone for that matter). Girls should never organize themselves to bully or to exclude, but rather girls should rally together to promote the good of the entire community. I have explained to my daughter that if she sees others misusing their power or voice to hurt another person that she should feel free to speak up and to tell an adult. It's not okay for anyone to be unkind ...but girls need to stick together.

3) I ENCOURAGE HER TO LOOK FOR WAYS TO HELP OTHER GIRLS RECOGNIZE THEIR OWN AWESOMENESS.

      I have taught my daughter how to compliment and make positive comments about another. In a world, where gossip is juicy and poisonous, we need to teach kids to speak kindly to and about each other. I told her that when a friend does well on a test ... or is wearing an awesome shirt ... or is super good at 4 Squares, that she should point that out to them. We have a saying in our home and that is, "Catch others doing something right."

4) I WILL HOLD HER ACCOUNTABLE.

     If my daughter is with  group of girls who become catty, I will point it out to her. If I find that she is not speaking up when others are tearing down another girl, I will call her to task. If another parent informs that my daughter has not been kind , I will take that accusation seriously. Mistreating others will not tolerated and will not be excused. Why?

Because women's rights are important and as women, we need to model it's importance by  treating each other with the dignity, respect, and kindness we deserve.

 

           One of things my daughter and I decided to do this summer was to make a pact. We decided to be women who empowered other women. In honor of our pact, we made two made two bracelets. One for her and one for me. Each are similar but different and represent our uniqueness.

 

    We wear our bracelets to remind ourselves that we do not have to change who we are to belong. We will always accept and embrace each as we are no matter what. We wear our bracelets to remind ourselves that we want to be women who really truly use our Girl Power to help others. We wear our bracelets to remind ourselves that it our great duty to help other females recognize their own awesomeness. We wear our bracelets to recognize that we are a part of a great worldwide tribe of women and together....we are better.

    May our daughters grow to be the most fiercely loving and kind generation ever. And may they stand on our shoulders to do so. Amen.

Your friend,

Noelle

* Photos by : Mykowski Imagery

ABOUT NOELLE

    Noelle is a  speaker, podcaster, and self proclaimed: Friendtor(Friend +Mentor = Friendtor).  She is the podcast producer/host for Friending Podcast and is a regular co-host for the podcast, Slices of Life. She lives in North Jersey with her hot husband and two wild children. She is a big fan of Constant Comment Tea, the Oscars, and Lesley Knope.

      Noelle is passionate about helping women find grow in their calling and encourage one another to do the same through the art of friendship.   For more random facts on Noelle you can click here or stalk her on Instagram.

  

3 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN YOUR FRIEND LOSES A BABY

      Several years ago, my friend lost a baby.

     I remember when her husband called me. His voice pushed through as he choked by the tears, 

"There was no heart beat."

     I didn't know what to do. I had no idea of what to say. I was terrified to do or say anything that would cause my friend more pain than what she was already having to deal with. So, I did nothing.

All I could offer her was a vague email to say, "If you need anything, call me."

   Her husband called me  and said, "Do you think you could come see her?" 

   I was hesitant.  "Are you sure?"  Miscarriages often feel like it a "private" matter. I assumed my friend wanted privacy as she grieved. Her husband pleaded, 

              "Please, Noelle. I don't want her to be alone."

 So, I went.

         I called my mother, who had lost baby in utero when she was six months pregnant (with my brother, Jonah, who would be 23 this October if he was alive). I asked my mother for advice for how I can be there for my friend. She said in her beautiful,thick Jersey accent,

"Everyone grieves differently but everyone wants to know that someone cares. Show her you care."

     

 It was the best advice that anyone could give me.

   

   Sadly, a few of my dear friends have lost babies over the last 15 years. My mother was right - each of them have grieved their losses differently - but each one wanted to know that I cared.

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 Here are 3 Things To Remember When Your Friend Loses A Baby:

 

1. A baby is a baby.

      Some of my friends have lost their babies days after founding out they were pregnant. Some of my friends have lost their babies in their third trimester. Although these experiences are different, a baby is a baby. They have lost a baby no matter how far along they are in their pregnancy. 

    Once a  friend confided in me, "Sometimes I feel ashamed that I am so sad. I know was only 5 weeks pregnant, but I already had names picked out. I had dreams and hopes for my baby."

    A baby is a baby.

I stopped saying, "I am sorry you miscarried." I have started saying, "I am sorry that you lost your sweet baby." Sometimes I will ask my friend, "What is your baby's name?" If they have a name picked out, I will use the name as I refer to the loss. It is important to affirm the validity of our friend's grief - they are, in fact, actually grieving the loss of baby

 

2. a new Pregnancy doesn't mean the grief is over.

    I have made the mistake of assuming that my friend is "done grieving" the loss of her baby because she gets pregnant again. This is not true and I have found that some of my friends have struggled with real anxiety during their subsequent pregnancy after the loss of a baby. They are fearful that they will loss this baby as well. Some of my friends have felt like they couldn't celebrate their new pregnancy in fear of something bad happening or because they feel it will take away from mourning the baby who had died. 

     My mother who had two children after the loss of her son (my brother), Jonah, still tears up when she talks about holding his lifeless body in her arms. This was 23 years ago. It is important to not assume that "everything is okay now" because our friend is pregnant again. She still needs the support of a friend who will walk closely with her as she carries this new baby.

 

3.  an Invitation is more  helpful than information.

      When tragedy happens, it is our natural inclination to want to offer an explanation of "why it happened" and "how it can be prevented in the future". I have found that this not helpful. My friends who have lost their babies have told me how they have had to wade through unexplained guilt and inevitable fears for the future as they grieve. Information from a "well meaning" friend can feel too heavy of burden to carry on top of everything else. 

    Instead of offering our friends "information", we have an opportunity to offer our grieving friends an invitation to

  • talk openly about the loss in the presence of a safe and listening friend
  • go out for coffee or to the movies to be distracted for a brief time
  • ask for a set of helpful hands to tend to house chores and other day-to-day tasks (such as: food shopping, yard work, child care, etc.)
  • be encouraged each day for set a time with a regular text or phone call ("I'm thinking of you. How are you feeling today?")
  • remember together the baby that was hoped for with cards and gifts with the baby's name on it
  • and much more.

 

       When a friend loses a baby, she needs a friend.

And you are it. You are the friend. You don't have to have a counseling degree or even have experienced this particular kind of loss to show her that you care. All you need to do is take a step towards her and let her know that she is not alone.

 

   For more on what to do when your friend loses a baby, listen to Episode 27 of Friending Podcast.

 

Until next time,

Noelle


ABOUT NOELLE

 

 Noelle is a  speaker, podcaster, and self proclaimed: Friendtor. (Friend +Mentor = Friendtor).  She is the podcast producer/host for Friending Podcast and is a regular co-host for the podcast, Slices of Life. She lives in North Jersey with her hot husband and two wild children. She is a big fan of Constant Comment Tea, the Oscars, and Lesley Knope.

      Noelle is passionate about helping women find grow in their calling and encourage one another to do the same through the art of friendship.   For more random facts on Noelle you can click here or stalk her on Instagram.

   

 

HOW TO SURVIVE MOTHERHOOD THIS SUMMER AND STILL HAVE A SOCIAL LIFE.

The summer is here and you know what that means...

School is out and the kids are home.

(Deep breaths. Deep breaths. Deep breaths.)

I am well aware that there are some mamas out there who love the flexibility that summer brings. I don't.

I like structure. I like routine. I like to be able to keep a set schedule. Basically, I am a control freak in recovery. Judge me if you will, but I know some of you mamas out there are hyperventilating along with me... "How in the world am I going to keep these children entertained all summer and still maintain some sense of sanity?

I'll tell you how. Friends. Our friends will keep us sane.

But let me share this one *small* warning before we dive into this any further. Summer has this really sneaky way of making you believe that you will have "all the time in the world" to spend with friends because of the season's slack in "structure". I am here to tell you that is a big fat lie. Summer is lying to you. The reality is that everyone is either away on vacation or are driving their kids to and from the three million camps they are attending. It's hard to keep a social life in the summer.

      So. If we want to survive motherhood this summer and still stay connected to our friends for the sake of our sanity, we best be ready to put up a good fight.

Okay. Here is my game plan:

1. Inviting the squad to a "weekly beach day" pilgrimage.

       I live in Jersey and Jersey folk go down the "shore" in the summer. This summer, I am taking my crew to the beach every Wednesday and inviting other brave friends to join us (kids or no kids). It will give my kids something to look forward to each week and it will give me an opportunity to connect with my friends. If you don't have a beach within a reasonable driving distance, feel free to host a weekly "BABY POOL PARTY" or head to the nearest lake, park, or town pool.

 

2. Hosting open house BBQs throughout the summer.

      It's nearly impossible to get all my friends available on the same day for a BBQ. So, I am getting rid of that expectation and I am going to host a few "open house" BBQ's. Basically, if you can come, COME! If you can't come... come to the next one! Also, to make it a lot let less stressful for me... it will be a "BYOM/V" (Bring Your Own Meat/Veg) to grill on the BBQ. We'll provide a couple sides, ice tea, and s'more for the kids. 

 

3.  Starting a Rainy Day Survival Squad. 

       If it's raining, I'm calling you to join forces with me in keeping our kids safe and mildly entertained despite the bad weather. Together we will bake cupcakes, make blanket forts in one brave mama's living room, facilitate a "craft hour" where we make our kids craft with the recyclables we forgot to put out on the curb, throw a Kids Bop dance party, and host a Pixar movie marathon. Together we will stand strong.

 

4. Committing to Mamas' Night Out.

       At least twice this summer, I want to get a little dolled up (translation: showered and wearing something other than running shorts and old "Color Run" tees) and go out with a few other mom friends to celebrate being something other than a "mom". I am committing to eating overpriced grilled chicken and talking about anything other than orthodontics, fall soccer, IEP's, and who is going to be the fourth grade teacher this year. You in?

 

5. Sending some snail mail.

          Remember when we were teens and use to send each other letters from camp during the summer? I am resurrecting that ancient practice and am going to send a few chosen folks a letter. I know. This is so old school that it might even be fun.

 

     For some of us, surviving motherhood this summer is no joke. We will need a little help from our friends to get by with our sanity *mostly* in tact. This will require planning and putting ourselves out there. It means we must be willing to be the inviters and not always waiting for other moms to invite us. We'll need to get creative but most importantly, available. If want to maintain our social life for the sake of our sanity this summer, we'll need to make friendship a priority.  Our kids will thank us for it in the end. After all, a  happy mama is the best kind of mama there is.

 

   Your friend,

Noelle


ABOUT NOELLE

  Noelle is a researcher,   speaker  , and podcaster. She is the podcast producer/host for   Friending Podcast   and is a regular co-host for the podcast,   Slices of Life  . She lives in North Jersey with her  hot  husband and two  wild  children. She is a big fan of Constant Comment Tea, the Oscars, and Lesley Knope.        Noelle is passionate about helping  women   empower women through the art of friendship .     For more random facts on Noelle you can    click here    or stalk her on   Instagram  .

 Noelle is a researcher, speaker, and podcaster. She is the podcast producer/host for Friending Podcast and is a regular co-host for the podcast, Slices of Life. She lives in North Jersey with her hot husband and two wild children. She is a big fan of Constant Comment Tea, the Oscars, and Lesley Knope.

      Noelle is passionate about helping women empower women through the art of friendship.

   For more random facts on Noelle you can click here or stalk her on Instagram.