December is here. It's the end of another year, winding down with all the bottled up emotions, feelings, resolutions and promises of the year gone by. We have kept some promises, we have broken a few, renewed others and plan to do it all afresh once 2015 hits us in under a fortnight.
But, here's the thing.Unless we learn from our errors, the past has no value. It is just going to be a repetitive train wreck where we crash into our mistakes, pick up, dust ourselves off and go careening down that same track all over again.
However, what if we had someone to help us out? What if that person talks you down from a cliff of indecision? What if she reaches out and gives you a hug to say that things may look bleak now, but they are certain to look up very soon?
How many of us can say that we have that one person? I am not talking about your spouse or your significant other. In no way am I discounting the presence and importance of that person in your life. But, sometimes, we just need our girlfriends , don't you agree?
It gives me a specially warm feeling to admit that I have not one or two such persons, but nearly 50 women I can reach out to, on any given day. Sounds surprising, I know. A very close-knit online community that I moderate has some incredible mom friends, those who will jump to the rescue of every other member on that group. The most interesting part of this is the fact that less than half of us have met face to face and just once in the last 6 months!
What, then, are the lessons that these incredible Mom Friends taught me?
We are all alike:
We may come from different backgrounds, hold varying political opinions, not concur on certain parenting practices, but underneath it all, that same heartbeat called Motherhood beats. It is that pulse which says, 'Hey, I know what you're going through and it sucks. BIG TIME! Do you want to grab a cup of coffee and let your hair down with me?'
We shouldn't Judge another:
Do you know how incredibly hard this one is to follow? The minute you see a toddler throw a raging tantrum in the middle of a supermarket floor, don't you grit your teeth and feel annoyed? Oh yeah!
When our group came into being, we laid down three simple guidelines:
- Be Frank and Open
- Be Supportive of Another
- Be Non-Judgmental always
|Photo Courtesy: http://nothingbutaquote.blogspot.in/2012/08/dont-judge.html|
Simple maxims. And all it took was a conscious mindset to start following these guidelines. So, the minute someone vented about how her child was being defiant or how another spoke about the frustration that comes with every single thing about the daily routine, 45 other voices would jump in and say, 'Hey, I get where you're coming from. Breathe. Let it go.'
That's it. No finger-pointing, no shaking of the head in a superior manner and definitely no shaming or criticism happen on this group. Ever. Suffice to say, that has extended to circles outside our group as well now.
Let Go of Guilt:
Parenting is hard. Let's not even begin to mask that under the pretence of happy Facebook photos and cheery status updates. As a friend of mine said to me, 'What you see on Facebook or Pinterest is what I like to call 'Curated Parenting.' The implication is that if you steer clear of talking about your guilt, your anger,your depression and keep focusing on the joys of life and the beauty that is motherhood, then you're set for life.
Um, no...Sorry. That doesn't work for me. I am human, like everyone else. I have yelled, screamed, thrown a tantrum, even as recently as a few weeks ago. I shouldn't be made to feel guilty. What I need is support, empathy and cartloads of love. With time, I have come out of that crushing burden of guilt and learnt to accept that it is okay to feel anything under the sun. For that, my mom friends are whom I need to thank.
Be Nice and if you can't do that, Say nothing!
We are all so ready and easy with our advice and opinions these days. Or maybe that is a human mindset, to give advice or criticise even when it is not sought? Every single day, I now start with my mantra from my guide: WATCH- Watch your Words, Actions, Thoughts, Character and Heart.
It is very tempting to jump in and be mean to someone because they disagree with you. But, it just takes a pinch of effort to hold back and say nothing at all. Try it, if you haven't already. It's worth it.
Do a kind deed for another:
Without going into the discussion about altruism and the motives behind it, let me just say that doing something nice for another human being is one of the most wonderful things you can do. I was in a pretty bad state a couple of months ago. Worry, stress and tension had caught up with me, spiralling me downwards into this infested pit of sadness. Absolute desperation made me share this on my group. Every single person there reached out to me.
Two days later, although I felt marginally better, I was still feeling blue. There was a knock on the door and I opened it to see this delicious bouquet of pink roses, sent specifically to cheer me up.
Did you know this fact about pink roses?
Light pink roses are associated with gentleness and admiration
and can also be used as an expression of sympathy.
Did I not know these lessons already? Did I need my friends to teach me any of this? Let's just say it doesn't hurt to have daily reminders of the things that matter. At the end of the day, you and I, we're just the same and we are on the same journey. It's just that our paths to get there, may be slightly different.