It seems that I've heard it a million times now: motherhood is lonely.
It's true. And I'm sure it's something that every mom - especially those of the stay-at-home variety - experience at some point (or many).
It occurred to me the other day that this is the first time in our lives that we are constantly surrounded by people who aren't like us. Growing up, we were always around kids in the same grade. If we didn't have friends in class, we quickly made them. Then came college. We moved away from home and were again surrounded by people of a similar age and life stage. More importantly, we were ALL seeking friends. After that we entered the work force, into a workplace with co-workers in a similar field, working toward similar goals, socializing and connecting with people on some level on a daily basis.
Then many of us became moms. Some of us became stay-at-home moms. And suddenly our days were filled by a person (or two or three...) who is much smaller than we are. And a LOT more needy and demanding. And they certainly aren't the most stimulating or intellectual of companions, either. Now our days are occupied by little people who can't string together full sentences, and whose idea of a good time is a Daniel Tiger marathon surrounded by dinosaur figures and goldfish crackers.
Enter: mom friends.
We meet in playgroups, story times, coffee shops, and playgrounds. We have at least one thing in common: little shadows that follow us around and demand to be taken care of. We might not meet every day, or even every week, but those playdates are ALWAYS a bright spot on our calendars. Though we often spend more time chasing after own our kids than having conversations with each other. It's still more adult conversation than we would ever get in otherwise.
So, here's to you, mom friends.
Thank you for showing me how to love my own kids better. Your patience and delight in your children makes me fall more in love with mine. You remind me how to be calm and loving, to take breaks to watch these little minds and bodies in action. A couple of weeks ago I met some moms for coffee (minus kids, so, y'know, we were living the life) and one mom of three, with another on the way, absolutely RADIATED when she talked about her children. Even while admitting that, yeah, they could be jerks sometimes. And even though things were often hard. But you could tell just how much she loved those little monsters, and THRIVED in the chaos. Thank you, for reminding me to take joy in my own chaos. (And, believe me, it is PLENTIFUL.) Thank you for showing up for coffee. Sometimes all we need is an hour or two to chat and gripe about our own kids before going back to the grind. A few friends and some caffeine readying us to love them fiercer, and better.
Not that you're always perfect, mom friends. THANK YOU EVEN MORE FOR THAT. If you were, it would put my own failures to greater shame. I see you lose your patience when the two-year old asks you something for the 97th time, and I think OH THANK GOD IT'S NOT JUST ME. I see you in the store, with the crying infant or tantruming toddler (or worse: both), just trying to get to the check-out lane, and want to catch your eye all, solidarity, mama. I usually don't get the chance since, y'know, I have my own three kids with me, SO LET'S MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!!! But believe me, the intention is there. I may also be busy sending a silent prayer up to heaven, thankful that right now, it's not me.
I live near some of you, and far from others, but know that I love seeing the photos you all post. I realize that life isn't always like that perfect little moment you just captured with your daughter in the sunshine or your son all snuggled up with his lovies, but I appreciate that you took the time for a photo and a quick share. Because that moment? It WAS perfect, and it mattered. I love watching your children play and discover and grow almost as much as I enjoy watching my own. And thank you for not always editing out the laundry in the background, the toys strewn across the floor, the remnants of breakfast still on their cheeks. A good photo crop can cover a multitude of kid crap (#beentheredonethat), but I appreciate knowing that, actually, your house looks just like mine right now.
Which would be like this...
Most of all, mom friends, thank you for making things a little less lonely. I hope those little monsters give you the Mother's Day you all deserve, i.e. a full night of sleep, breakfast in bed (at about 9 am) that includes some strong coffee, a mani/pedi/massage, at least five minutes where no one says "mommy, mommy, MOMMY!", drinks out with your friends, and, most importantly, a perfect and seamless bedtime routine. Hey, a mama can dream.