Remember when I almost got deported from Scotland because I had visited Czech Republic? I was visiting my friends Jake and Melissa.

Melissa is a mom. I have lots of mom friends even though I, in fact, am not a mom. Friendship between moms and singles can be hard to maneuver, but I love Melissa’s perspective. [I’ll share my thoughts tomorrow….] I also love that Melissa cares enough to have this conversation. I’m excited to let you in.

So here is what Melissa has to say.

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Mel and kiddos

Beyond Babysitting: How to Love A Mom

I annoy people.

I complain about being tired.

I cause people to look away when they realize they’ve seen me in the same pair of yoga pants three days in a row.

I talk about my kids. A lot.

I’m in the dregs I have three urchins, [5, 3 and 4 months]. The rubber has met the road, and life. is. hard right now.

Living in Europe was supposed to mean long romantic days of carefree exploration. Nooks, crannies and cobblestones. I’m not complaining. I can see a castle from my bedroom window. I hear Sound of Music-style church bells every day at noon.

But for me, one of the hardest things about this season is fighting my own covetous heart. The carefree abandon of European romance hasn’t really met me here.

Instead, my days are structured around naps, snacks, and wash cycles. It can be very lonely, and I realize that I’m often mourning time spent with friends that doesn’t have to be scheduled three months in advance.

Sometimes I have the privilege of leaving everyone at home and going out for a night with the girls. Sometimes a sweet friend offers to babysit so that Jake & I can go out without taking out a loan to pay a sitter. But a lot of times, I have to stay the course, and I would love for my single friends, to enter my world. NOT take over so that I can escape my world, but enter it, be here, with me.

What does this look like? A few ideas:

Come Over Early“”my day is divided into two parts (pre-nap, post-nap), and, on many days, it starts at 5:30. Once everyone’s fed, dressed & corralled (around 8), I’m looking for something, anything, to do. Be willing to hang out early.

Hitch a Ride!— I love it when my friends come along for afternoon school pickup. If we need to chat, it’s a good time to talk through ideas without having to schedule a whole separate time for coffee, babysitter, etc.

OR…

Join Us!— 99% of the people in my neighborhood don’t speak English. Often that makes outings feel really lonely. Yes, I know that the playground is a great opportunity to practice my Czech, but sometimes the weariness is overwhelming, though I still long for adult conversation. Your presence at the pool, the playground or the zoo can turn another lonely afternoon into one that feels life-giving and refreshing.

Be patient— When we’re together, realize that my mind is on an infinite balance beam. I’m doing my best to really engage with what you’re saying, but I’ve also got an ear on what’s happening in the backseat. It’s true, my kids are not allowed to interrupt, and they must wait patiently when two adults are talking, but I’m also having to listen for real, legitimate questions and needs that arise. If your story is non-stop, I’m going focus my attention on finding a chance to interrupt you to check on everyone’s status, rather than being able to relax and hear what you’re saying.

Spend the Night!— We’re privileged to have a guest room, and many nights it’s free & ready for anyone who wants to drop by. The best part of slumber parties is that quality time can happen after the kids’ bedtime AND go into the next morning (see #1).

BUT…

Watch that Clock— if you’re at my house and it’s after 10:30, you should know that I’m hurting. I’ve been up since 5:30 (again, see #1), and no matter what time we go to bed, I’ll be up at 5:30 again tomorrow. Every additional minute that goes by is like a chisel slowly chip-chip-chipping away at my chance of functioning well in the day ahead.

Use Me!— Ten years ago I got married, and a bunch of my mom’s friends gave me a bunch of great stuff. Need a spring form pan? I’ve got one. Need 8 more sets of silverware for your big crowd? Use mine. If I can’t help you throw the fun party with hanging lanterns and stick mustaches and photo booths, I can live vicariously through you if I know my forks will be there. And that’s fun, too.

So come visit“” I’d love to walk with you over the 700-year-old bridge or introduce you to my ‘secret’ entrance to the castle a mile from my house [it’s true””Annie’s seen it!].

Or maybe we could just jump on the trampoline and push the swings together.

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Moms out there, do you agree? How do we love each other well? I think this is a super important conversation to have… so no matter where you fall on the mom spectrum – not one, almost one, one of many, I’d love to hear your thoughts.