Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and while I didn’t write a super sappy post on Facebook about motherhood, my mama, or all the great moms in my life, I did want to take a moment on here to reflect. I have found that life is impossible unless you have a support system. Family, friends, anyone who will help you see the light when it’s dark & will lift the load off your shoulders so you can breathe for a second. It’s taken me awhile, but I have found my village here in the PacNW. My tribe, my Girl Gang. This group of women work with me, and half of them are mamas. They helped Little Bee and I get through some super tough behavior/emotional issues last year. They understand the highs and lows of being an early childhood educator as well as a mom. Some of them understand the never ending battle of dealing with an ex who refuses to co-parent. But most importantly, they let me be my weird, moody self and love me for it. They listen to my outbursts of frustrations and try to lift me up when life has me hammered down into the ground. They encourage me to get out of the house when I become too wrapped up in my head, and they shove a glass of wine or a yummy GF snack or a cup of coffee in my hand when I am just DONE. They love my child as their own and cheer on my relationship. These women have pulled me through some tough times with (inappropriate) humor, grace, 90s alt music, and love. I’ve never been a girl who has a lot of friends, and usually my friendships fizz out after a few years because….well God, who really knows? Apparently I’m really hard to befriend. But I can understand that. This Gang though, this is legit. This is some serious girl power going on. There is some serious “mamas leaning on each other to survive the shit show of our lives” action happening.
Unless you have been in the trenches of single motherhood, you can never fully grasp the heart wrenching exhaustion of always been ON all the time. The stress and pressure and non-stop fear that single mother’s face can be suffocating, unless there is someone who understands. Someone who listens, someone who says “I get it, I’m there too.” Although I’m a little more removed from that war zone now, my scars are still deep and I still know. Even the girls who aren’t mothers step up when we’re floundering and say “hey let me take the kiddo for an hour or so” or agree to babysit until ungodly hours of the night so I can go see a show. Life would be so hard without them. I never thought I’d have a support like this, outside of my mother. I have close friends that I love dearly and still keep in regular contact with. They are part of my tribe too, although they are scattered across the country. These particular women though are here with me, day in and day out, and much more accessible in times of crisis or joy.
Saturday we had a get together at my friend’s house, that ended up being a Mother’s Day sleepover. 3 adults and 5 kiddos and lots of laughter. We drunk danced to 90’s music in the kitchen, ate homemade chili at like 10pm and took turns getting everybody’s children to sleep. It was oddly cathartic and empowering to finally be surrounded by women who are in the same stage of life as I am. Nearing the end of our twenties wondering how the FUCK did I get here and what do I do now?? How do I keep my family safe and stable and not forget who I am? We woke up Sunday morning (Mother’s Day) waaaaaaay too early for the amount of alcohol we drank, and immediately began tending to the needs of bright-eyed kiddos we kept tripping over. Diapers, breakfast, cartoons, juice. All while laughing over pieces of the night and downing black coffee as fast as possible. It occurred to me then that this is why women of most cultures band together and raise each others children together. It’s easier. It’s way more fun. It’s safer. I feel like here in the Western world, we are so busy trying to be the perfect Pinterest mom and have the perfect All-American family that we end up isolating ourselves and alienating other women who want to help. Our egos are blocking our personal saviors. If we could just say “ya know what? I’m so fucking broken and lost I don’t know what to do. I’ve made mac&cheese for four nights in a row and have no clean laundry in my house. But my kids are happy and alive” a lot more women would start peeking around the corners whispering “you too?” We have to be REAL with each other if we want to build the support system that we need to thrive. Not just mothers, but ALL women! Authenticity builds the village. And it takes a village to survive this day and age.
So to all the mamas out there, no matter what stage of life you’re in: I see you. I know you. You are enough, just as you are.
I’m here if you need me. And to all those amazing sisters who aren’t mothers, but are there without judgements for your friends who are: God bless you. You are an angel on earth and your love means more to her than you will ever know. Stay by her side with open ears and an open heart. She will need a new perspective to help through some situations.
(image via Pinterest)