Ingredient #4: Encouragement From Friends
I go out for coffee every so often with a group of friends. There are four of us; the other three attend the same church while I attend another. One of the members has been my best friend all of my life. Another is a friend from way back whom I lost contact with for years only for God to lead us back in to one another's paths a few years ago. The other member has been friends with my 2 friends for a few years and we were introduced over some coffee and now we're friends, too.
We typically don't schedule an evening to go out too far in advance (we tried that once and most everyone forgot about it). One of us usually gets in contact with everyone else when we feel like we need to "get out." Usually, the others are in need of some time out, as well.
We all have children under 12 years old. We all have more than 2 children. We all have wonderful husbands who work hard. We all are Christians striving to please God in our roles of wives & mothers.
But, we still need to "get out!"
We usually meet at the coffee shop around 8 p.m. - some get there earlier, some later. It all depends upon the time each of us can get all of our households under control before we leave. We make sure our families are fed, clean, and ready for (if not in) bed.
What do we do at these wild get-togethers? Well, we usually eat or drink something, we talk about our families and our challenges/successes with them, cut coupons, and sometimes trade some good recipes.
In short, we are encouraging one another.
No, we don't encourage in the stereotypical way. We may not say, "Wow! You are a great mom!" or, "I wish I could keep up a home like you do" or "You are doing a great job being a housewife and homeschooling your kids!"
Encouragement goes far beyond flattering words. Encouragement is seeing others who are running the same race as you are, with similar obstacles, and still making it. Encouragement is sharing things that have worked for one to help another's life easier. Encouragement is getting a few hours to relax and laugh without being "needed" immediately!
The encouragement of these friends and countless others goes so far in helping me become a successful homemaker. I hear of a good book that helped a friend so I read it and glean ideas as well. A friend shares a recipe with me that's easy yet delicious, making it possible for me to make my family happy as I provide them with a nutritous meal.
Think about the things you do and how you do them - parenting, cleaning, laundry, shopping. Most of these things we have learned to do and improved upon by the encouragement of others. They have shared what has worked for them to help us. What things have you found that makes your life easier? Have you shared those things with others?
That's another reason why I've written this series - to encourage the younger moms. Encouragement is helping others see they are not alone. That there is light at the end of the tunnel. Being understanding of someone is to encourage that person. You may not have the answers, but if you understand - if you've BEEN there - that gives them a hand to hold onto. It gives them courage to go on.
Be encouraged. Be an encourager. Your success and the success of other homemakers depend on it!