How do you talk about other moms and women in your home? Either to other women, while on the phone, or to your friends, partner, children, etc. If you were looking from the outside in, what do you think your children take away from your conversations about other women?
Consider this: How you talk about others is how your children will talk about others.
Your children are listening all the time. Even when you think they are not, even when they are in a different room, they are listening. They absolutely are. You are modeling what friendship looks like.
Take a look at your attitude toward other moms, women, friends, etc. and write honestly about how you view them and, more importantly, how you talk about them. Are you kind? Cruel? A combo? What makes you feel anger or frustration toward other moms? What could you do to curb those negative thoughts or end negative commentary?
I’m ready for a world with no mean girls. Which means I’m ready for a world with no mean moms. Are you on board? Not just intellectually, but actually. What can YOU do to end the mean girl culture? What thoughts and perceptions do you need to shift? What actions do you need to take to move us one step closer to this goal?
Shaming. Please allow me to take this thought one step further. Shaming feels like crap. It feels awful to be shamed. And you don’t want to be someone who is known for shaming others. Why? Because your kids are watching. They are the next generation. And we need to move closer to living in a world with fewer bullies.
* Optional: talk about this idea with your child. Write down their insights and thoughts on the subject.
Gossip vs. Processing
Processing is one thing—there are healthy moments that look like, “Hey, I had this situation come up and it made me feel really awkward. It’s new to me and I’m not 100% sure how to handle it. Can we talk about it?” That kind of confidence and processing with other friends is super healthy. Gossiping is different. Write down your thoughts and interpretations of these two words. Do you believe there are different kinds of gossip? Have you ever talked with your children about these differences?
Healthy friendships shouldn’t require you to bend over backwards or conform to a certain way of being if it is something that doesn’t feel true to you. Peer pressure is real, but you do not need to jump on board every bandwagon.
Have you ever conformed to a group mentality in the name of friendship when you were a child or adult? How did you handle it? Do you feel this issue is reserved mostly for childhood or also adulthood?
Peer pressure almost feels like a given in childhood. How do you approach (or plan to approach) such pressures with your child? How do you feel they handle peer pressure and conviction? Write about it. Or, if age appropriate, talk with them about it and write down their answers.
Do you look at the bigger picture when meeting or hanging out with other moms? Do you see a mom for who she is and not what sleep-deprived chaos is happening in the moment? Do you recall a time where it would have been easy to judge your parenting in an out of control, melt down moment? In hindsight, can you see the need to extend yourself grace in that moment? Did others extend you grace? Do you find it easy to extend grace to others?
Who do you feel the strongest connections with at this time in your life? Does it look different than pre-kids? Is it other mom friends in the same season? What do you do to keep those connections strong?
Do your children have strong connections? Do you feel strong connections is something that comes easily or takes work? Write about it.
What are some of your favorite memories with your friends from childhood? What about now? What did those memories involve? Write about times, locations, circumstances, whether it was planned or impromptu, etc. How did you commemorate those moments? With a photo? A card? Write about them.
Do you bring ever bring up those memories just for a good laugh? Do you think you could share one today? Send a text, make a call, write a note. Make someone else’s day…and your own.
Friendship & Appreciation
Do you appreciate your friends? The answer is probably yes. How do you show it? What actions do you take to show your friends you appreciate them?
What have you done to show gratitude in the past? Brainstorm creative ways to say “thank you” or “I appreciate you” and rely on that list when you want to put your gratitude into action.