I recently joined a mother's group at church specifically for mothers of tweens and teens. To be honest, I've never been one to seek out self-help or support groups preferring to stubbornly muddle through conflict with my own pigheaded logic that does not always work out in the end. But for some reason, this group caught my eye, and I decided to give it a go.
What I've learned so far is that everyone struggles in parenting. We may look like we have it all together, but it's a tough job, one with no instruction manual that requires on-the-job-training. We make mistakes, beat ourselves up, and then try again, hopefully having learned something from those mistakes.
I've also learned that while you may think you are going through tough times, others may be experiencing things you cannot even fathom. Raising children with special needs, going through a divorce, losing a job, grief. These are all things that make parenting even more challenging.
But I think the most important thing I've learned is that in connecting with other mothers who are experiencing some of the same obstacles and struggles in raising kids in this complicated world, we learn that we are not alone. We also learn what has worked for other mothers and what hasn't worked in coping with difficult parenting situations. In short, when you need information go to the source.
Sure, if you Google parenting you will come up with thousands of posts. Some are helpful, others are not so helpful. But at the end of the day, getting real advice from real moms who have been through what you are going through I think is the best resource we can hope for.
It takes a village to raise children. It also takes a village to raise moms. Find your village.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.