Becoming a parent is one of the most wonderful things that could happen to an individual; however, it's not always rainbows and butterflies.
From day one of pregnancy and even after the little one's all grown up, they have struggles to deal with, such as disciplining a child, raising the kids as a single parent, miscarriage, improving communication, and the list just goes on.
The good news is that there are also a lot of ways to help a struggling parent, and one of which is letting them know that they are not alone. That you, even with your own struggles, can lend a helping hand or ears to listen.
The good news is that it doesn't have to be complicated.
For one, you can reduce the weight of decision making by giving them a specific offer, such as asking them which day is the best to watch their kids so they can run other errands or what food they want from a Thai restaurant so you can bring it for dinner?
At the time of this writing, I am thinking of ways on how I can fix my finances while maintaining a business. My parents are not getting any younger and my sisters and I are looking for ways on how we can help improve their help.
I'm also trying hard to motivate my husband to pursue what he wants without sounding like a nagging wife. These are just some of the things that I'm struggling with but I know that I'm not alone, and some are experiencing worse. And if you know someone who's having a hard time, you can always give a little love by following any of these tips:
Find Out As Much As You Can
It's not about being nosy, it's about providing your friend something that she really needs. Does she like face masks? What kind of food does she want? What's on her wish list (massage, a coffee date by herself, warm hug, etc.) Have a nice conversation with her -- just like what good friends do -- to understand what she really needs.
When my son's less than a year old, a friend visited me at home -- and I thought that that's just it. However, she told me that she's there to give me a quick me-time. I was hesitant but then she insisted and gave me a 1-hour massage gift card. It was a thoughtful gesture, especially when she told me that as a new mom, I also need to pamper myself.
Give A Surprise Treat
Order your friend's favorite coffee and drop it to her place. Bake a cake or cookie or better, make her a vegetable salad that she'll enjoy. The thing is, you don't have to spend a lot to make someone happy. You can even send a card or letter telling them that they are doing an amazing job as a mom or dad.
Provide A Minor Home Repair
Okay, I know this might sound like a daunting task but really, it's not as complicated as you think. Also, no matter how small the home repair is, it makes a huge difference. For instance, you can help a friend fix a leaking faucet or mow a lawn. You can even help your friend set up Christmas decorations.
Pick Up Groceries
Give your friend a surprise call and tell them that you're in a grocery now. Ask them what they need so you can drop it to their home later. You can even anticipate what it is (if you really know them).
One time, my sister -- who had two kids, by the way -- told me that she bought snacks for my child. It's a small generous act that made me feel good. BIG TIME! I mean, she already had kids to worry about but still, she managed to give a sweet surprise.
Provide A Break
Now, this requires effort and patience, especially since children are involved. However, giving a parent a quick break can mean a lot, especially on their mental health. Take the kids to the mall or an indoor playground so the mom can have a me-time at home or, stay at home with the kids while you let your friend go to a coffee shop, spa, or wherever she likes. If you are not comfortable with a lot of kids around, you can take even one or two.
Send A Short Text Message
I understand, sometimes there are just too many things on our plate already that we feel like we can't do other things for people anymore, and it's nothing to feel guilty about. But, if the intention to make someone feel good is there, a simple text message helps. Dropping a funny mom meme can make someone's day lighter. No matter how small the gesture is, it's the thought that counts.
And, if you're the one struggling, don't be afraid to ask for help. You may feel like it's not worth it or your pride is stopping you but if you let people (or even your closest friends) know what's happening, life gets better. You are not alone. Yes, you are a strong independent woman who only needs caffeine to last the day but it's always good to know that you have someone to rely on, like us.
Last but not least, don't forget to share this with other parents because sharing is caring.