If there's one thing I learned right off the bat about motherhood, it's that I can't do it alone. Whether it's waiting until Daddy comes home to take over Kid Duty before I start making dinner or relying on Google to validate my Mommy's Intuition about a rash that looks benign but.... I know my limits and seek and accept help when needed. But sometimes I need help from a different source...a source that understands my limits, my frustrations, my worries, my fears, my wishes, and yes, even my need to brag and boast about my life as a stay-at-home-mom to young kids...a source that So Gets It because she has So Been There...or IS there.
This is my Circle of Moms. Today, I'd like to extend my deepest thanks to these women who have helped me to get this far into motherhood with my sanity, my humor, and my positivity in tact (and with healthy, happy, well-fed, well-entertained kids, to boot). You are appreciated more than these words can express...and, you know who you are....
My Through It All Friend
We met on the bus on the first day of third grade. We've been friends ever since. Although we are quite different in some pretty fundamental ways, we're just the same where it counts. I rely on her to understand me when I'm stressed out and neurotic, because she knows how I can be. I trust her to validate my worries and concerns, because she knows what it feels like and she knows that sometimes you just need to say it out loud before you can start to feel better. We have different social circles, so she is my place to vent when I don't fit in with the other preschool moms. She gets me because she's known me forever. I can't wait to see her little girls grow up and to watch them go on the same imaginary adventures with my trio that their mom and I went on in her backyard and in the creek behind my house.
My Lost and Found Friend
Back in middle school, we wrote epic-long notes to each other (and folded them, origami-style so Certain People couldn't read them). We confided in each other about our crushes and scared ourselves to hysterical laughing-tears at sleep-overs. We fell out of touch as our adolescence turned into adulthood, but a certain social-networking site re-connected us just before she had her first baby. In the few years that we've been back in touch, we have been able to pick up where we left off. Because of the distance now between us, I've never met her family, but I feel like I know her little boy (and can't wait to hear all about her baby girl's arrival into this world in just a few months). We still talk about boys (husbands and sons, now) and we laugh about how mine are so similar to hers. She lets me brag about my kids without feeling boastful because I know she loves them like I love hers. Someday, we WILL get our families together.
My Teacher Friend
...because we were teachers together. But more than that...because I feel like I'm always trying to learn from her. Whether it's the hugely imaginative and creative activities she does with her kids that I replicate for mine, or her quietly calm, patient, and loving demeanor that I try to summon when I'm about to Just Lose It with my kids, she is the mom I see in me in my best moments. But the best thing about her is that, even though we have so much in common as Mommies, she's not just a Mommy friend, she is a Friend friend. I don't have to put on a pretty face when we're together. I can call her, sobbing, because I'm at the end of my rope and she'll instantly Get It, offer an I've-been-there anecdote or sigh, and write me a prescription for a nice, big glass of wine. Someday, when we're BOTH not pregnant or nursing (which hasn't happened since before I was pregnant with Evan), we're going to take a trip to the beach with a bottle of wine and, with toes in the sand and glasses in hand, we'll finally get to catch up on all of the stories we start to tell but don't get a chance to finish before we get interrupted by my three or her two-and-a-half. Someday.
My Sister Friend
She's been one step ahead of me since I arrived on her second birthday. I followed her through some of the same teachers and activities in school, I became a teacher after she did it first, and I even moved to the same city she was living in as a newlywed after I became engaged to her husband's best friend. She used to get annoyed when we were kids and I'd try to tag along, but over the years, the sisterhood turned into a real best friendship...and it's just a bonus that we get to spend the holidays together. In true Big Sister fashion, she entered Motherhood a few years before me and has paved the road for me as she encounters all of the important Firsts, well, first. I've watched and learned as she dove headfirst into sleep-training, potty-training, preschool drop-off, introduction of a sibling, tantrums, illnesses and injuries, and other Scary Mommy Moments. She's always been able to Handle Anything and so she's the one I turn to when I'm about to encounter my own Scary Mommy Moment....she'll know what to do because she's probably been there before, too. She's also the one I know I can (and do) call at 7:30 every morning because none of our kids sleep in. We can talk about anything or nothing at all. She motivates me by her ability to multitask, her organization, and her commitment to what she believes in. She inspires me with her strength. She truly can Handle Anything. Even the unimaginable. She is the grown-up version of the Mommy I want to be.
The Mother of all Mothers. She is a mother of eight, grandmother of six, registered nurse, and current teacher. Can you think of a better person to turn to for Mommy advice and support? Me neither. That's why I've been known to call her four times a day (and more). As a mom/nurse/teacher, she's seen it all, so nothing shocks or phases her, making her the best person to talk to when you're worried you broke your baby by letting him cry it out, or that your three-year-old must be possessed by some sort of tantrum-throwinging demon. And whenever I have a you're-never-going-to-believe-this story about my kids, she's able to one-up me with a story about one of my brothers or sisters when they were little. It helps to hear, especially when I can look at the mature, responsible, thoughtful, compassionate adults my siblings are today and I can think, "Well, there's still hope for mine..." And it's always nice to be able to share my kids highest achievements, cutest moments, biggest-littlest milestones, with someone I know loves them every bit as much as Sam and I do. I am so thankful for my mom.
I couldn't do this job alone. And I don't have to, thanks to my Circle of Moms. But the ones who really reap the benefits of my CoM, the ones who get to enjoy a well-educated, motivated, de-stressed, energized, Mommy who Knows What To Do!, are the same ones that make every second of this life worth it....
My Three Little Loves...
Today I'm really celebrating you guys...
Happy Mother's Day!