I have some free advice for my friends that are pregnant, new mamas or anyone trying to get there: find yourself a group (even one or two) of women who “get it”. The “it” I’m referring to is #momlife. Some of you might not have to look far and will find your village in longtime friends who happen to be in the same place as you. Others (like me!) might have to look a little further and longer to find it. You will tell these women your lowest lows and rush to them with the highest highs. There is honesty, no shame, no judgement; just REAL.
I’ve been fortunate enough to find a few of these women via those “Facebook mom groups” everyone makes fun of. There are some women in particular that I consider my best friends and have been through it all with. Whether it’s via our super secret VIP only Facebook group, chat, group text or phone calls, these women have been it for me.
On a cold day in December, one of those women proved to me that it’s not about how long you’ve known someone or how you met, it’s about being there for another mama when she needs it.
My life was going through a period of insanity. Picture I’m 100 miles from home and basically living out of two bags I packed for the day, one of which was full of gifts for a Christmas party at this dear friend’s house. We are about to drop my husband off at work and I heard THAT cry from my 3 year old. The cry that means she’s about to get car sick and I have exactly 3 seconds to get her something to spill in or I’m going to have a mess on my hands.
Well, we were too late and out came the puke. All over her cute new party dress, her car seat and whatever else was in the splash zone. I didn’t pack towels, a full change of clothes or even extra plastic bags today, just the basics that would fit in my already cramped Jetta. So we drop husband off at work, I get her cleaned up the best I can with wipes and figure out what the heck I am supposed to do. In all of this, I’m feeling bad that my daughter is going to be stuck in her puke clothes for a bit because like I said, we are not close to home and 30-60 minutes from a place to get out and get cleaned.
I made a plan that I’d head to my in-laws and get cleaned up there since it was closest and we might still be able to make it to the party. I call my dear friend and party host, and let her know what happened and without hesitation she says “just come here, you’re family and we’ll get it cleaned up.” Mind you, she has two kids of her own, and she’s trying to set up a party for over 30 people in her home.
We got there, my vomit kid got a bath, her brother’s jammies (thank god my kids wear the same size), clothes washed and her seat cleaned. We partied and aside from a chaotic 90 minutes, the day was great. And just when I thought she couldn’t get any more giving, she opened her home to us for the whole day while the car seat dried and we waited for my husband to get off work. Eight. Hours. She even made me lattes and fed us lunch.
Lucky for me, I know I have three other women that if they lived closer, they would do the exact same for me, as I would to them. We’re all in the exact same season of life, in the thick of toddlers, no sleep, impossible expectations, messes, and endless guilt. They check in with an “is everything okay” text when you’ve been MIA all day from the group text and it’s just because your kid grew horns and you’ve been debating calling a priest for an exorcism.
They understand when you crack open a bottle of wine before bedtime because you just can’t make it though the last hour without a little liquid courage. Even if they’re just “internet friends” they become your real friends. We’re lucky to live in a time where endless support is at our fingertips. Use it for a good, positive purpose and you’ll be surprised.
I guess all I’m trying to say is to make motherhood a little less of a challenge, you need to find someone (or two or three or four) that you can be real with. It might take a little work, some failed attempts at mom-flirting, but when you do find it, they’ll take your vomit covered kid, your homeless-for-the-day self and make it all okay. Thanks to my girls, my weird internet friends and the ones who “get it.” My village.