Circle: Engaging in Healthy Relationships

Did you miss our last meeting? No worries! Here’s a recap of what we learned from Amy Kuykendall’s presentation regarding relationships.

As moms we all have a web of people that acts as our support system in mothering. We have circles of people ranging from our closest parenting partners to people we may not think about but who impact our parenting decisions (like the local grocer who carries the organic baby food you love). The strength of our support system depends on the strength of the strings that attach you to your support and the number of strings you have for support.

1) At the center of the circle is you.

2) The closest circle that envelopes you consists of your primary supporter(s). This is the person (or people) who are essential in helping you with the daily challenges and routines. This is the circle of people who you turn to for help, a break, a shoulder to cry on and are an integral part of daily life and decisions. You work together as a team in parenting within this circle. With this circle it is extremely important to stay committed to growing the relationship. And if for some reason your primary support becomes unavailable, it is imparative to get outside help to assist you.

3) The next circle out is your outside friends and family. These are the people you go to for fun, moral, and practical support. Some friends and family may move to the outer edge of this circle depending on how often you see them or interact with them, but they are still important. These relationships may change over time and with life experiences, but you value these relationships enough to work through the changes and keep them in your circle of support.

4) The outer circle is the community. These are people within your town, city, and neighborhood who impact your parenting but you may not necessarily think of them as support (but they are!). This would include your neighbors, church family, kids’ school faculty, your pediatrician, and acquaintances. You may not really know them that well or at all.

The best way to move people from the outer circles into the closer ones (especially if you can’t think of very many people for the close circles), is to make the decision to be a friend. Investing time in friendships and relationship building is hard work and risky, but so important and worth it in order to build your support system. A strong web of support makes you a better mom. It’s hard to be the best mom you can really be without drawing in people to help you, advise you, laugh with you and cry with you.

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