|Apologies to my friends pictured,|
these were taken by my youngest child!
Yes, you. The one reading this saying you don't have enough time or space or skill. None of that matters. If you don't attend some sort of group for mothers to connect with one another IN PERSON, you need to just do it.
Why? I am so glad you asked. I have been leading various moms' groups on and off for over ten years in three different states, and nothing has been more encouraging and inspiring to me as a mother than sitting and sharing with other mothers who are in the trenches with me! Let me try to convince you why it should be you, and soon I will give you the practical how-to.
1. Catholic mothers, whether they work outside the home or not, are especially vulnerable to loneliness and isolation. Our neighbors' and family members' lives are often so far afield from our daily concerns that it can be difficult to even hold a conversation sometimes. We are changing diapers and teaching our kids how to make the sign of the cross, and to us, those are the most important parts of our days worthy of discussion, not the show on television or the latest neighborhood gossip. When we find our people, those striving for Heaven and trying to follow a similar vocation path, we realize we are not alone and that makes facing opposition just a little bit easier.
2. Mothering is a hard and never-ending job. The work is never done. There is always another meal to make and another load of laundry to run, until our children grow up and move away. It is crucial that we find ways to stop and refresh our weary spirits. Joining together with other moms for prayer, fellowship, study, and/or fun can be that pause in our repetitive days that allows us to recenter and remember the joy in all the drudgery!
3. Memes and viral videos abound on the internet about the Mommy Wars. We are constantly wondering if we are doing it right, whether that be cooking or disciplining or whatever. There is some truth to the African adage when spoken simply, "It takes a village to raise a child." We need each other and only recently in history have most mothers not had their mothers and/or mothers-in-law within walking distance to provide encouragement and practical support. Moms' groups foster unity despite our differences, just as the Body of Christ has many parts but is united in Christ Jesus.
4. Similarly, we need various points of view to properly reflect on our parenting and choose the paths best for our individual families. And reading those points of view on the internet only get us so far. Those opinions are not subject to our questions and personal circumstances like an in-person conversation might be. Most importantly, sometimes we need friends and even acquaintances with the same understanding of family life to challenge us and point out some flaw in our lives that we may not have eyes to see!
5. Most importantly, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20. We need Jesus. Therefore, we need to gather with one another as often as possible with like-minded women to pray and offer our thanksgiving and petition to the Lord, Who then will nourish our souls and draw us ever closer to Him. That is how we survive and thrive as busy moms on our way to Heaven.
There are many more reasons why to participate in or begin your own moms' group, but to me, these are the most significant. This topic is so dear to my heart that I will be writing more about what types of groups you might start, ideas to get things going, and troubleshooting common problems.
Are you a part of a moms' group? How has it benefited you?