There is truly nothing more important than those solid women friends in our lives that help us hold the pieces together from day to day. But when a crisis hits, be it the death of a parent, a divorce or an illness, we feel the importance of those friend-sisters the most heavily. A friendship at it’s best is a give and take: when one is vulnerable or in crisis, the other helps prop them up and vice-versa.
It is often a rare handful of friends that we can trust in our darkest moments. Here are some tips to give as good as you get in mom to mom friendships during tough times.
What would I want in this moment. Sometimes our friends are going through things that we’ve never personally experienced and can’t relate to. In these moments, it is helpful to put yourself in their shoes to help understand the nuances of what they may be going through
Hold off on opinion based advice. Unless specifically asked for, it is best to keep even well wishing advice to a minimum. There may be time for that at a later point, but when someone is in the thick of a crisis, they need your unconditional support not opinions.
Listening can be the most powerful thing you can offer. Really. Just hold the space for your friend. Allowing another woman an uninterrupted chance to vent and talk out her pain is an immeasurable gift. A man loves to try to fix things, but we women know that offering another woman our ear and our understanding is the best healing sometimes.
Rally the troops. When appropriate, form a carpool chain, a food delivery to the family, a support system in your community. Maybe you help walk the dog or start a crowd fund. There are so many opportunities for women to join together and move mountains.
Help with childcare. When a friend is in mourning they may want to shield their children from seeing them broken and crying. This is when we step in. Offer to pick the kids up from school. Take them out to the movies, or a dinner at your house. Offering a safe haven for the children when their own home is in turmoil can be the best gift we can give another mom.
Do a random act of kindness. Take your friend to lunch. Treat her to a massage or drop off a nice bouquet at her home to remind her of the gentler side of life. Any little gesture of kindness can make a world of difference when someone is in pain.
Share your stories. Sometimes saying I get it, I’ve been there too can help another woman like nothing else. Knowing that someone else has made it through to the other side of a heartbreak can be the light at the end of tunnel your friend needs. Know when it’s helpful to share and let her know,” I made it through and so can you.”