Do you suspect that your strong mom friend is having a tough time? Learn the signs and find out you can be there for her during this season in her life.
You’ve seen the meme’s everywhere: ‘Don’t Forget To Check On Your Strong Friend!‘ – but what about your strong mom friends?
Becoming a mother is a huge transition in a woman’s life and within the beauty that comes with stepping into motherhood, there are significant challenges as well.
Thankfully, more and more women are speaking out about their battles with postpartum depression and helping remove the stigma associated with it.
Not all moms struggle with PPD, but many moms are suffering in silence – especially mom’s with young children.
Let’s face it: this whole mom thing is no walk in the park, and sometimes we just need someone to walk through the tough seasons with us.
But how can you tell whether or not your mom friend is struggling? Especially when she’s so busy that you don’t get to catch up with her on a regular basis.
As a mom who has personally struggled in this area, I want to share a few red flags that may be present when a mama is having a tough time.
4 Signs Your Strong Mom Friend May Be Struggling
1. She’s Become Socially Withdrawn
I get it, all mom’s are busy!
The difference here, however, is that when a mom is really struggling, her ‘I’m busy’ really means ‘I’m overwhelmed‘.
How can you tell?
-Does she get out of the house very often?
-Does she have any activities that she does alone without her children or family?
-Does she decline or even flake on plans?
If any of these have become a pattern for a fellow mom friend, she might not be blowing you off after all.
It’s likely that she could be overwhelmed.
So much so, that the thought of taking on yet another commitment (no matter how small) feels like too much for her to handle right now.
It’s unlikely that she will want to make anything else a priority until she feels like she has a handle on things at home,
2. She Avoids Talking About Her Problems
On the rare occasions that you do get to have a convo with your mom friend, does she ever share anything that may be going on – beyond the surface level stuff?
What’s ‘surface-level stuff’ you ask?
Well, let’s say you text your mom friend and say:
“Hey girl! How’s it going? How are the kids?”
It’s easy for your strong mom friend to respond with:
“We’re doing great! Can’t complain! How are you?”
It’s a vague yet sufficient enough response that chances are, you won’t pry any further since now you are encouraged to share what’s new with you.
But if you still suspect that this mama is struggling, I encourage you to ask more specific questions.
If your friend is a new mom, you may ask her how she has been adjusting to life with a newborn.
If your friend is a working mama, you may ask how daycare drop-off’s have been going.
Sometimes simple questions like these give moms a chance to respond based more so on how they feel about a particular situation versus ‘how things are going’ in general.
3. Her Communication Is Sporadic
Do you text her one day and she responds days
or even weeks later?
Or maybe she doesn’t respond at all…
I have to admit, I’m guilty of this. It’s funny because I never thought that I’d be that person that doesn’t respond to text messages.
More times than not, I’ve read the message, intended to respond and then something comes up – gotta love life with two boys two and under!
The next thing you know, I’ve completely forgotten about the text.
I will be the first to admit that I have a terrible case of mom brain.
BUT there have been certain instances where I felt so overwhelmed that I became more withdrawn and it really affected how I communicated with others.
So if you notice that your mom friend has been taking forever to respond to your texts, return your calls or even if you haven’t talked in a while, I encourage you to check in with her.
Chances are, she could be having a tough time and she might just need someone to talk to.
4. Her Family Has Gone Through A Major Change
Sometimes a major change that her family has gone through or that they may be facing currently can be a huge stressor for a mom – especially if she already feels like she has a lot on her plate.
Has your friend recently lost a loved one?
Has she (or her significant other) been laid off?
Has anyone close to her fallen ill recently?
These and many other situations can be tough on a mom that’s already feeling a little overwhelmed.
What You Can Do To Help
1. Check In More Often
The most obvious, of course, would be to check in with her more often.
Sometimes all it takes is reaching out to remind her that you are there for her if she ever needs anything.
Many moms, especially SAHM’s, may feel guilty or even ashamed for feeling so overwhelmed by their children.
If your mom friend feels this way, chances are she won’t be reaching out to vent.
She’ll likely be withdrawing instead.
2. Don’t Ask About The Kids
I’ll be the first to admit that I get a little word vomit when I talk about my kids.
However, I believe that it’s important for moms to remember that they are a person with unique interests outside of motherhood.
That said, sometimes it can be refreshing for a mom to be able to go on at length about other things in her life besides whether or not ‘Johnny is sleeping through the night yet’.
It can be just what she needs to give herself a mental break from #momlife – even if it’s just for a moment.
3. Meet Her Where She Is
Sometimes your strong mom friend may have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that she is struggling.
Although she knows that she’s having a tough time, she may feel conflicted since she may feel like being a mom should come naturally.
But I’ll be the first to say, you can be an amazing mom but there isn’t enough patience in the world when you’re being hazed by your strong-willed toddler.
So try to meet her where she is.
If your mom friend has young children, she may not necessarily want visitors to see how cluttered her home is (I’m guilty of this).
So meet her where she is by offering to meet her at the park. Getting out of the house can be a great way for her to get some fresh air and it keeps the kids busy too!
If she isn’t in the mood to get out and about with the kids, maybe she would be up to having company.
That way, you can meet her where she is by simply being another adult to talk to.
Trust me, you can really make her day by helping with a chore or two!
Sometimes it’s the little things that can really brighten a mom’s day and lift her spirits.
While it can be tough to know for sure whether or not your strong mom friend is having a tough time, I hope that these tips are helpful as you seek to help her navigate through this season of her life.
At the end of the day, community is key in motherhood. Having a village can provide a mom with the strong support system that she needs to feel understood and encouraged.
If you’re reading this and you are the strong mom friend, I just want you to know that you are not alone.
I understand you because I am you and I want to personally say that vulnerability doesn’t equal weakness.
Quite the opposite actually, since it takes great strength to be vulnerable – even with a trusted friend.
That said, if you’re struggling, I encourage you to let your guard down and reach out to a friend.
Besides, it’s a whole lot easier to walk through a tough season when you have someone to walk with you.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
– Ecclesiastes 3:1