(Inside: Never underestimate the power of encouragement for moms – all moms need it. Encouragement for busy moms can be found in this sweet story.)
“I was just told my youngest daughter needs to lose weight. By her doctor, of course.”
Sara sighed her disappointment, not realizing her supermom cape had slipped off a shoulder and dangled awkwardly on her left side.
“It just feels like she was born at home plate and her two older sisters were born on second base. They’re both beautiful and amazing dancers. And humans in general. People naturally gravitate to them for friendship. They just easily have it together – they’re in honors classes, leaders in their clubs…
I’m not complaining, really I’m not…
I’m just saying…”
Sara looked away for a minute searching for words.
“My youngest has poor fine motor skills, she’ll never be the dancers her sisters are. She sees an occupational therapist regularly. Oh…and a speech therapist. She always scores low on her academic tests. But that’s not what bothers me the most….what breaks my heart is that she struggles with friendships. She’s hard to be around and her peers know it. They avoid her. She’s rarely invited over to anyone’s house, much less a birthday party.”
Sara raised and lowered her shoulders, “My husband and I are ‘all in’ this parenting thing and love her times a million. She is getting the help she needs. We’re up for it, we’re doing fine…I’m okay…it’s just frustrating.”
(Supermom cape, now on the floor.)
Sara set down her sweet tea like the conversation was final. She clearly needed mom encouragement, but had an air of independence and pride in her posture. A reply from Tiana or me was clearly uninvited.
A few seconds passed, then Tiana – not one to be sappy or over-the-top with encouraging words – said quietly, “You know I’ve always had a soft spot for your youngest daughter.”
I looked up at Tiana trying to read where she was going with this. (Eggshells, Tiana, eggshells!)
Tiana continued, “Your youngest’s story is more challenging than others, I totally agree. But her story doesn’t start and stop in elementary & middle school. Ultimately…she…will…get through! She’s going to conquer her challenges like the strong woman she’ll grow up to be. Then, I believe that she’s going to do great things with her life. She will be able to reach people in a different way because she WASN’T born on second base. She is going to make an impact – a great one – in this world. It might not look like you imagined, but it’s going to happen. I’m convinced of it.”
Her words hung in the air.
Finally, Sara whispered, “Thanks for saying that.”
Then we hugged our goodbyes and promised to not let more time go between our get-togethers (as we always do). Sara walked away with her head high, her shoulders back, and what’s that I saw flowing behind her? He superhero cape – she was wearing it (again), but this time like a BOSS.
Sara didn’t just hear Tiana’s words. She believed them.
Mommas, we have power inside of us – more than we realize and often taken for granted. It’s called words. Words that string together wisdom and truth when another person’s negative self-talk has hijacked her brain.
Every day we can use our words for good. Because every mom needs encouragement. And I mean every. single. mom. From the woman sporting the Gucci bag and well-manicured nails to the new mom with yoga pants perfumed with spit-up. (Because the spit-up fell that far down her clothing.)
Never underestimate the power of encouragement for moms. That story is when I saw it happen in front of my eyes, but research backs how important encouragement is.
When I was reading about encouragement for my teaching job, I couldn’t help but think that these studies also hold true in our at-home-work-place: mom life. For example, Abbas Abedi says,
“People perform at their best when they are inspired and motivated. (Ahem – ENCOURAGEMENT. This is added by me, but I had to!) These people care to do things right and deliver well. Studies show that people are more likely to climb up the corporate ladder or succeed in any venture when they are motivated and inspired. These two elements are proven to bring out the best in people.”
That’s some good stuff, but I found this next study highlighted by Belle Beth Cooper in her article: Why Positive Encouragement Works Better Than Criticism, According to Science even more powerful:
“The way leaders use positivity when communicating with employees can make a huge impact on their emotional well-being and their performance. I was really surprised how big the impact of these interactions can be. Goleman looked at several ways this can happen in Social Intelligence.”
Belle continues to describe experiments from Goleman’s book Social Intelligence that show:
- Bad news delivered with encouragement and a positive attitude, employees rated as a positive interaction. The tone of the delivery was more important than the message itself.
- Upbeat employers improve the emotional state of employees, efficiency, and ability to coordinate better.
- Negative interactions are remembered better than positive ones and spread the negativity among other employees.
And I could go on with quotes on the health and psychological benefits of encouragement, but I’ll stop here and say: We’re not perfect and we’ll never be, but let’s – as much as possible – choose to use our words to help refashion the supermom cape of other women. Because your friends need positive words spoken into their lives often and so do you. I’m so glad I got to hear Taina speak such hope into Sara’s life. I saw Sara’s shoulders pull back, her head raise and her face soften as perspective, confidence, and love poured from Tiana’s heart to hers.
The power of encouragement.
Speak it. Then also, surround yourself with people who give it back.
We all need it more than we know.
Need more encouragement for moms? Read more in the series on building your community:
I was always the girl who moved. After I just unpacked my things into a new home and made it my own, found a church and started making a connection with my faith-family, met the neighbors and began to enjoy living by new people, formed my friend group at school together and started to grow close to them – just when I would grow roots, my dad would get his orders.
As the daughter of an Air Force rescue helicopter pilot, I grew up moving every few years. (And sometimes few months, as we’d be in transition waiting for my dad to finish training or for a house to open up on base for us to live.) Moments were hard, but also, the life of a military kid was a great gift.
I learned so much, especially about the importance of community. I became a joiner.
Moms, there will be seasons for all of us when friendships feel hard, but still – we fight for community. We continue to work on building our friend group around us through church, our neighbors, the moms we meet through our kids, and more.
Because we need good people in our lives and people need us! Be encouraged by reading more articles on building your community:
Build Your Community Series
In Raising Older Kids: This Is Why You Need The Grandparents EVEN MORE
Thank You, Band Teachers, You’re Getting it Right
A Praying Mother is a Strong Mother
Find more encouragement for moms: join this community of moms raising big kids…
You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.
You are parenting tweens and teens.
It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid and celebrate the awesome momma you are.
I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.