We all hit rough spots in life, don't we?
Sometimes I find it is easy for people to judge others for their situation, for their lot in life. But until you stop and hear someone's story, walk a mile in their shoes, you can't know. I try to encourage this on the Confessions of a SAHM Facebook Page as much as I can, and a huge reason why I began the Parenting Perspectives series. We need to work on understanding one another, to see life through someone else's eyes.
I've shared a bit how last year was rough for me and the fam. I would never begin to compare our struggles with some of the difficulties others are facing right now, but I can say it was difficult for us. We struggled. We were scared. We cried. A lot. We hit our lowest point at Christmas, when the ability to buy gifts were but a dream and our future was very uncertain.
It was during that time when some people we loved came in and blessed us. Some came with encouraging words, words that breathed new hope into us. Others came with the blessing of gifts, unexpected and unasked for. I was humbled and completely touched.
There are so many mothers out there struggling to make ends meet for their families. I look back on the first few years after my parents got divorced, and how difficult of a transition it was for my mom, sisters and I. Until you live the difficult times, you can't judge how someone got there.
These thoughts were bouncing around my head a few weeks ago, and I couldn't escape the thought of:
What if it were me?
What if it were me struggling to make ends meet? Unable to provide for my children? What if I was working hard to overcome addiction or reconciling for bad choices I had previously made? What if I felt alone in the world, doubting myself as a parent, as a woman?
What would I need?
I'd need someone to come alongside me and cheer me on. I'd want encouraging words shared with me. I'd want to hear Truth to overcome the lies I'm battling. I'd want someone to come in and bless me, regardless of whether I deserved it.
I'd want to know I wasn't alone.
Let's do that this holiday season.
Let's give our love away.
I am partnering with my friend Steph from A Grande Life to come around local moms in need through various organizations who work with or support moms: local prisons, women's shelters, food cupboards, etc. Each organization has moms who could use some love and encouragement. They will provide a small profile of the mom by November 30. After that, we'll get to work matching readers (ie: YOU) with the moms.
What we are asking: Mom EncouragementOur ask is two-fold:
1) Provide a gift card to the mom you are matched with and her family. It can be as big or as small as you'd like. The organizations we are working with specifically mentioned that gift cards are a HUGE help to these women address emergency needs or "when the week lasts longer than the paycheck." The gift card can be sent with your letter OR you can send money through paypal to me, and I will go out and buy gift cards locally (more info to come in a follow up email once you sign up).
2) (And most important) We ask that you provide a letter to "your" mom. You can say whatever you'd like. Handwritten would be awesome (so personal!) but we live in a digital age, and a typed one is fine too. Heck, write it in a holiday card. Share a bit about yourself if you'd like. But take time to shower her with encouragement and support. Think about what you would want to hear if you needed encouragement.
Please note: If you aren't able to financially provide a gift card OR you may be shy to write a letter, DON'T LET THIS HOLD YOU BACK. Note this in the "comments" section - and we can make sure all the needs are met by pairing one mom with two readers.
Right now, all the moms are based in the Philadelphia area - but a letter and gift card can come from anywhere in the world - so don't let locality hold you back! You might spark a lifelong penpal relationship - who knows! If you'd like to figure out how to get something happening in your area, share that in the "Comments" section of the form (include your location) and we will work to help you start something up!
If you want to participate fill out the form below. We'll send an email before matches happen to go over the specifics, then we'll start to match you up in the beginning of December.
Here's to being the change you wish to see in the world.
Let's make the holidays bright for all.