“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

Proverbs 27:17 NLT

When my boys were teeny tiny, I was fortunate enough to be in a community that ran a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. The church I attended hosted it, but the group was open to the community and a lot of non-church-members came with their children as well. It was a life saver for me, providing two hours of grown-up time with other moms while the kiddos went into their groups to learn and play.

It’s also where I met some of my best friends. Over the years, these friends have listened when I have had questions about a certain age or phase one of my boys were going through. They have guided me towards answers when I had questions. They have challenged me to to dig deeper or to be brave when I wanted to quit or give up on myself or my kids. These moms have made my experience as a mother, and woman, richer.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that we need other moms and women in our lives because what we experience in the world, on TV and social media, tells us the exact opposite.

When did motherhood become a competition? Competition divides us when we should be coming together. Grades, achievements, and accolades may matter to you now, but the kind of person your child becomes matters much more. Their future spouse will not care if they were bottle or breast fed. Their future kids won’t care if they had straight A’s or not.

Each child has their own temperament and personality. How can you compare that? What works for one child doesn’t necessarily work for another, even in the same family.

Why are we so quick to make assumptions? No one knows what another mom is going through in her life, her marriage or her family. Appearances can be so deceptive.

Instead of competing, comparing and judging (because if we are honest, we all do it on some level) what if we embraced other moms?

What does it mean to embrace someone or something? Here is the definition of embrace according to Google:

          1. an act of holding someone closely in one’s arms

          2. an act of accepting or supporting something willingly or enthusiastically.

I think if we want to truly embrace other moms then both definitions apply. Sometimes we have the opportunity to give a mom a real hug. Other times we can hold her close in our hearts and prayers. I know as a mom, I need both. I need to know I am seen and accepted by others. We all do.

When we embrace other moms there are a few things that happen.

When we embrace other moms:

We are brought closer together.  We can’t embrace each other if there is a wedge between us.

We give them permission to be themselves. To shine their own light and be the best possible mom for their kids. This may look very different than for them than it does for the rest of us, and that’s okay!  God chose them for their uniqueness, their strengths, their weaknesses to be the mom that their children need.

We become teachable. I have learned many lessons, both big and small, from other moms. Like the verse says above, we sharpen one another. We make each other better.

We love them. We extend an invitation to be a part of a larger community.

We let them off the hook. No one needs to be perfect. We put enough pressure on ourselves. Offering others grace lets them in turn extend grace to themselves. It makes us all better moms.

Maybe today we can embrace other moms in our circles with a hug, a prayer or a helping hand. The difference it makes can be life changing.