Mother’s Day is this weekend and we are being bombarded with reminders to do something nice for our mothers. When you go to Hallmark, there are no cards for the other mothers in our lives, not a mention of the fact that it takes a village to raise a child.
I often say I don’t have a good blue print for this mothering thing. It’s not that my mother did everything wrong, she did a good bit right, she really did. It’s just that I’ve never been able to call her for advice on how to handle certain situations. I get by on my instinct a good bit, but there are times when you need to lean on others who have gone through similar experiences.
I have been blessed with a great many what I call “Mom Friends”. I have several different groups of them – first and foremost, my neighborhood mom friends, whom I sometimes refer to as my “mom mentors”. Their kids are older and I often look to their experiences for how to navigate the same with my daughter. I’ve made mom friends every step of the way, from tumbling classes as the mother of a toddler, in preschool and in elementary school. There are definitely some that I can’t imagine myself being friends with if it wasn’t for our kids bringing us together. Some of them, all we share is this common experience of motherhood.
But that’s enough.
Mom friends have gotten me through when my husband’s been gone and I just want adult conversation (okay, and someone to drink with). Mom friends have explained to me that my two year old wouldn’t throw up in the bowl because she thought that’s what was making her throw up, that’s why she had to push it aside and throw up on whatever available clean surface was around her, like my new rug. Mom friends are how you know what bugs are going around and how long they last. Mom friends taught me that I don’t have to make every day spectacular and memorable, I just have to be there everyday. Mom friends taught me it’s a good thing to spend the entire day at the park on the swings while the kids dig a mud puddle. Mom friends taught me how to get the mud puddle stains out of her pants. Mom friends help me figure out what’s a stage and how we’re all in it, and that we will all get through it. Mom friends have tooth fairy fail too. Mom friends help you get through the hitting and biting stages as well as the tween stages. Mom friends let you admit to locking the kids outside for a few minutes alone with your husband, inside. Mom friends help you realize that none of us ever really get a day off when we’re sick. Mom friends have taught me that you let your child follow their passion, even if it’s not yours. Mom friends have taught me that there are many moments of waiting patiently for while they have various lessons and practices, that at a certain point, motherhood is close to being just a taxi, meal and laundry service. Mom friends have taught me that sometimes your kid is just average and you know what? That’s okay, not every kid can do everything in the most extraordinary way. Just treasure what your child can do. Mom friends have taught me none of us are perfect all the time, we all have moments that we are not particularly proud of and that’s part of motherhood too. Most importantly, I have learned from my Mom friends that we are all in this together, that we are all working mothers and that what fits one woman and her family best is not necessarily what suits any of the rest us, but we still need to support each other. Because really, without Mom friends, I’m not sure I’d be the Mom I am today.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in my life.