Becoming a mother is your admission into a special sisterhood of women. No matter where you are in the world, how old you are, or how old your children are, as mothers we share a common bond. Regardless of background, upbringing, socioeconomic status, race, or nationality, raising children connects you to other women like no club or organization can. AND a lot of times, I forget that.
Yesterday, the demands of parenthood completely overwhelmed me. Both of my kiddies just needed me. My wonderful husband tried to help, but the kids just HAD to have attention from mommy. It’s not like I have been away from them either! I am a with them 24/7. Even though I was surrounded by people, I just felt alone.
That evening, my family was going to attend a very special Eagle Scout Court of Honor, for my husband’s best friend’s son. Scott was very excited to celebrate his friend’s son’s achievement, as my husband is also an Eagle Scout. So I felt the added stress of making sure we attended. Of course my boisterous babes wanted to play and be kids! During the quiet part of the ceremony, my darling daughter did NOT want to sit and did NOT want to be quiet. Well, of course! She’s only 21 months. So, I did the typical parenting move of removing the busy toddler and entertaining her for the remainder of the ceremony.
Sierra and I found a room at the venue where we sequestered ourselves there for the rest of the ceremony. About 5 minutes into our playtime, another mom with 2 kids around the same age as my own, knocked on the door and asked to come in. Her little kiddos wanted to be kiddos as well. As I sat on the floor with my daughter, helping her empty the contents of my purse all over the place, I glanced up and saw the tired and worn down look on the face of the woman sharing this room with me. It was the same tired and worn down look I saw in the mirror just before coming to this event. This woman looked at me and said, “I don’t know about you, but I have never been this tired in my life!” It was an instant ignition of conversation. By the end of the ceremony, I was feeling so much better. I made a new mom-friend. My spirits were lifted and I felt recharged, able to take on toddlerhood.
Being friends with other moms (especially moms with kids the same age as yours) is essential to our health and happiness. Having someone (other than your husband) to laugh with, confide in, and commiserate with about the joy and misery of parenting is beneficial, not only to us as mothers but to our children and marriages as well. Carl Charnetski, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and co-author of Feeling Good Is Good for You: How Pleasure Can Boost Your Immune System and Lengthen Your Life (Rodale, 2001), says, “Chronic loneliness, experienced by millions, can actually be a health risk. The absence of friends is associated with higher instances of illness and a great likelihood for death. However, loving and living within a social network of friends and family improves your health and your chances of recovering from illness.”
So moms, and dads too, when the weight of parenthood seems to be pulling you down, remember to reach out to your support system of friends. Chances are, they are going through or have been through the same situations. Good friends help you through the tough spots and celebrate the triumphs too.