Hospitality and the Moms of Littles

Momming with an infant and a toddler is hard.

Momming in general is hard.

This weekend I’ve been in New England visiting a dear friend of mine, Becca, and speaking to a group of moms about hospitality. My friend has a 2.5 year old boy and an 8 month old daughter. Her husband is on staff with a church and has been working all weekend at different events and meetings. They live in an apartment. Every single one of these factors is an understandable reason why she shouldn’t have invited me to come and stay with her. Instead, Becca has whole-heartedly welcomed me in, fixed me delicious meals, and even took me to see a lighthouse in New Hampshire despite it being 43 degrees with a windchill of 38! She even stocked her fridge with cold Diet Dr Peppers and let me borrow fuzzy socks since I clearly don’t know how to pack for cold weather anymore. Even though I came to speak to others about hospitality, I was the recipient of beautiful hospitality. I watched my friend parent her kiddos providing discipline and love & giggles in an almost effortless fashion. I’ve been welcomed into her life and routine without ever being made to feel like I’m a hindrance. It’s been a joy!

Motherhood is a fine line of beautiful and soul-sucking. One minute we are snuggling and oh so thankful for these precious bundles. The next we’re googling nearby circuses to see who might take this wild kid off our hands. It is exhausting, both mentally and physically, in ways one can’t even begin to articulate. In the season of motherhood, and especially young motherhood, it’s easy to throw up our hands and say I’ll have people over when the kids are older. We have really understandable (although not valid) excuses for not implementing biblical hospitality regularly. But the truth is that moms create habits; we instill the habits of hand-washing and teeth-brushing, holding the door open for someone, and saying “please” and “thank-you.” As moms we get to choose whether we will also create the habit of opening our doors and demonstrating to our kids that loving others is worth the sacrifice. When we make excuses and say no to others, intentionally or subconsciously, we are creating the habit of looking out only for our immediate needs.

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Moms, we all are tired. Those of us with young littles are exhausted from the chasing, incessant talking, and constant discipline. The mom of teenagers are exhausted from the hormones, and school schedules, and staying up worrying when the kids are out late. The empty-nesters are up at night worrying and praying for their son or daughter in college or in that new city. Momming isn’t for the faint of heart. However, even in the exhaustion of motherhood, we must choose to implement biblical hospitality! Below are some ideas of how to practice hospitality while in the “mom of littles” stage of life:

Laundry Play Date

Someone mentioned recently that they were going to start implementing a “laundry play date” with other moms. The idea is fantastic! Every mom brings over a load or two of laundry in a basket. As the kids play, the moms sit and fold laundry while talking and catching up. When it’s time to leave, all your clothes are folded in the basket & ready for you to quickly put away when you get home! Even if its just a load of sheets and towels, what a great way to accomplish the dreaded task of laundry while having fun with friends!!

Food Courts

Sometimes when the weather is gross, I’ll head to the mall playground. It’s (fairly) clean, larger than a restaurant playground, and it gives my kiddo a chance to get out some energy someplace other than my house! Then, we hit up the food court before heading back home to nap. It’s typically spur of the moment when I decide to go, but I’ll often text one or two friends to see if they want to join us. It’s nothing fancy, and requires only a text from me, but it is a great way to show that friend that you thought of them and would value their company!

Potluck Play Dates

A friend of mine started these as a way for her to build friendships when her son was little and she felt very isolated as a new mom. She provides the bread and chicken salad. The rest of us each provide a side - fruit, juice boxes for kids, chips, etc. It’s usually a 3 hour time frame that she gives and you come when you can and leave when you have to. We get to sit around & catch up while our kiddos play and have fun with toys that aren’t theirs! The low-key nature is great and everyone has fun.

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Maybe this isn’t true for you, but for me motherhood requires a flexibility and a spur of the moment attitude. Hospitality is sometimes planning a dinner party or get-together, but more often than not it is simply opening the door and inviting others to live life alongside you! Invite other women to join you on your journey! Create opportunities to welcome in other moms even when it’s not “tidy” or convenient scenarios. You’ll bless them and likely receive a blessing yourself! No more excuses Mama! Let’s create the habit of hospitality!