I’ve never been a mom, so my credibility in the arena of motherhood seems questionable. I am a friend to many moms, though. Through my relationships with these women, I am learning what women with children really need.
Moms have a difficult job and it is sometimes hard for those of us without children to know how to love them best. Here are three ways you can love women in your church.
1) Kill Selfishness and Put Your Mom-Friend First
I know a lot of new moms who feel that their friends treat them as second tier once they have a baby. The baby becomes the focus of all things. Sometimes this is completely appropriate. There is nothing wrong with adoring and admiring new life. However, if you only visit for the kids, you’ve done a disservice to your original friend—the mom.
I have a friend who had people over to help after she had her second kid. All they did was hold the baby, “so she could tidy up a little.” These people who came to help unintentionally robbed this new mom of the chance to sit and hold her baby while someone else cleaned up her home. We don’t want to assume that we know what every mom needs. The most loving thing you could do may be to hold a baby for a mom. But it may be something else. We will never know how best to love someone with children unless we ask her how we can serve.
You have a remarkable opportunity to show women with children that they are more than their occupation as a mother. One of the most loving things you can do when you spend time with your mom-friend is to ask her about her heart, struggles, and relationship with God. Point her to Jesus regularly.
Several things can tempt us to be selfish around women who have children. We may only offer help that is comfortable and convenient for us. We may want a relationship with a mom, but don’t care about the children at all. Or we may avoid women with children altogether because we are afraid of just being a free babysitter.
When we have fears or hesitations about relationships with moms, God gives us strength to love and pursue one another. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can die to our own expectations, allow our lives to be inconvenienced for the sake of those in need, and pursue relationships with moms.
If you know women with children in your church, you’re called to love and serve them. Don’t put blame on your mom-friend for not pursuing you. Initiate opportunities for fellowship and invest in those times whole-heartedly.
Serving new moms is not always going to be easy or fun. Yet if God loved us to the extent that he died for us, then we ought to love one another to the same extent (1 John 4:11).
2) Provide Ways for Moms to Love You
Motherhood is an all-the-time job. Your mom-friend could be so overwhelmed with caring for her children that she doesn’t know how to carve out time to serve people outside of her children.
Moms who know God long to love those around them (1 John 4:7-9). I know women who love their kids deeply but also want other opportunities to love those in the church.
As you pursue and love moms in your church, let those moms also pursue and love you. This can be a life-giving opportunity for women to be reminded that their identity is not just in their motherhood. Let women with children disciple you, serve you, and love you as you love them.
I have some friends who would regularly invite me over for dinner when I didn’t have a kitchen. Since my friend was already cooking for her family, my presence at their dinner table wasn't a burden. This same family let me live in their basement when I was in-between homes. We may feel like a burden to our mom-friends, but we can communicate our needs and let women with children meet us where they can.
3) Hunt for Ways to Serve
In addition to caring for the spiritual well-being of moms around us, we must also hunt for material ways to serve. It may take time for you to learn what a mom in your community needs from you. Be patient, look carefully, and when you see an opportunity to show love – go after it. Here are ten ways to get you started:
- Offer to watch the kids for free so she can run errands
- Wash the dishes, pick up toys, sweep, and help clean the house
- Bring her a meal and clean it up
- Come over at nap-time so you can hear about her struggles
- Ask her thoughtful questions about her life
- Bring her coffee
- Pick up her groceries
- Show her kids how to love Jesus
- Love her kids
- Ask her how you can best serve, don't assume you know what she needs.
Hopefully, these three pieces of advice will help you learn how to love moms in a new way. Pursuing a relationship with a mom is worth enduring through the difficulties that may come. You may be rejected at times and your service to moms around you may not be fully accepted. But you can have grace toward these women and continue to love them because God first loved us (1 John 4:19).