Hopefully you’ve found a community of Not So Zen Moms to help navigate the sometimes treacherous terrain of parenthood. Even if your “community” is only comprised of you and one other Not So Zen Mommy friend, that’s all you’ll need. Not all of your girlfriends need to be Not So Zen, but it’s nice to have at least one who shares your point of view on parenting. It can really help cushion the blow when you have one like-minded mommy friend to commiserate with.
Over the past seven years, my Not So Zen mommy friend and I have taken turns pulling each other out from under rock bottom. The thing about Not So Zen Moms is that they love to help a friend in need, so they are great friends to have. When your friend tells you she’s so low that she’s looking UP at rock bottom, it’s time to step in and lend a helping hand. It will make you feel good and useful to help, so here’s your chance to help yourself, by helping someone else.
That’s why recently, when my Not So Zen mommy friend was struggling to get her youngest son to bed at night, I stepped in. Her once fifteen-minute bedtime routine had stretched into a two-hour cry fest over two weeks and she was at her wits end. Clearly, I couldn’t help get her son to bed any quicker, but I could do a few things to cushion the blow as she muddled her way through yet another phase in the ever-changing landscape of her child’s development.
- Listen: Sometimes simply lending a listening ear to a struggling friend is enough to make them feel just a little bit better.
- Talk her off the ledge: Tell her that it’s going to be ok, even if you don’t believe it. Her husband may be too stressed out and exhausted to remember to tell her.
- Weather the storm: Remind your friend that their child’s life is made up of multiple phases strung together in no particular order and lasting various and unexpected amounts of time. Although this sounds horrible, it’s the truth. The good thing about phases is that they’re bound to change at some point!
- Make her laugh: Playing on the motto of the Not So Zen Mom, Parenthood: If You Don’t Laugh You’ll Cry; it’s your job to make light of the situation in any way possible and get your friend to laugh.
- Make a game plan: Give your friend a list of several achievable things she can do to help her make it through the other side of this phase. In this case, telling her to get help from her husband, take turns with him sleeping in the basement every other night, or buying a muzzle to shut her kid up might be helpful things to put on the list.
In this situation, I chose to buy my friend some Sleepy Time Tea for kids. But that’s not all. I wrapped it in a Victoria’s Secret bag and brought it after school for pick up with 200 other parents standing around us. The look on her face when I approached her with that bag was priceless. She was more than a little relieved when she saw the tea. Unfortunately, what was meant to be a joke, turned into a twenty-minute pre-bedtime tea party with her kid, accompanied by Lavender Spray, books, bath, Benadryl and snuggling. Instead of cutting her six-year-old kid off, she created an elaborate 2-hour bedtime routine, which wasn’t even effective in the end. Thankfully, this phase disappeared as quickly as it arrived and my friend lived to see another day.