I picked up the phone and called a friend.
"I don't know what to do," I told her. "I thought my kids were disciplined, but I can see they are not, and I need help. Help?"
She listened and said, "I will walk through this with you." Her comment made me feel like I was not alone. That call for help led my husband and me to participate in a parenting class that became significant in our family journey.
We need friends
It's easy to think that we can go it alone. I personally believed the lie that I was a loner. I was tired, and I didn't have time for friends. The thing is, the longer I kept to myself, the lonelier and more depressed I became. And then I met Sally.
When I explained to her that I was a loner, she promptly corrected me, saying, "You might be independent, but God made you for relationships! We are not meant to be loners — you need a friend."
She was right. We all need friends. We need accountability, encouragement and help. We need someone who will listen, and we need to be that listening ear for someone else.
We need mentors
Sally asked me straight up, "Have you ever been mothered?"
That bold question and my honest answer, no, proved to be the start of a deep friendship that continues to this day. Sally invested in my life as a mentor; at the same time she became a dear friend. That's the thing with mentors — they walk with us through life as advocates, admonishers, teachers and friends.
When we don't have a mentor in our life, it becomes crucial that we pay attention to the women around us. We need to seek relationships with women we admire.
Don't overlook the fact that if you have a healthy relationship with your mother, and she invests in you with wise and godly counsel, you may already have a built-in mentor.
We need to know God hears us
I remember feeling desperate for a friend, someone who would come into my home, as it was, and just be with me. But it's tough to find a friend you can be comfortable with. It can even be hard to initiate the search.
But I learned something through those trying and lonely years of my life: I learned that God heard me. He heard me and He hears you — and He cares. He is not ignoring our cries for help, so we must keep asking Him for someone to walk with us as we mother. We must not give up.
It took me a long time to get out of my comfort zone and reach out to find friends. I didn't want to do the hard work of investing in relationships, but I now know that the investment is worth the effort. I have friends to call when I'm lonely or in need; my children have like-minded friends to play with; and as mothers together, we find strength in knowing that we're not alone. We share war stories and we laugh and we drink lots of coffee together — we've learned that two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). I'm thankful for friendships, and I'm thankful that I don't have to do motherhood alone.
Sarah Mae is a homemaker, blogger and the co-author of Desperate: Hope for the mom who needs to breathe.