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This recurring feature was born out of a combination of the two of us looking for near-constant validation and advice from one another and finding that that quest is one of the benchmarks of female friendship, plus learning that a healthy dose of Googling “what to say when ___” and “what to do when ___” was coming up short in terms of helpful advice.

A few weeks back, I was venting to my friend Kelly about an ongoing custody dispute that had become unpleasant and later that night she sent me this text…

“Your ability to be so mindful of another human who is going through some serious, life altering shit, and your mindfulness and compassion despite the disruption is so incredibly admirable and inspiring. Your openness to trying to make it the best for everyone is so strong and real and important. That’s a fight worth fighting. You make being a mom look awesome and on top of all the insanity so rewarding.” 

The takeaway? It was a very specific response to my explosion of thirty different emotions and tangents, which let me know that she was really listening and that she really noticed my effort (the role of “stepmom” is a tricky one in these trying times, let me tell you), and it was so positive — when she could have easily joined me in my despair and instead lifted me out of it. 

We know you want to know what to say in a specific situation. Let us know what it is in the comments. 

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