Life is hard – beautiful, sweet, precious, amazing, thrilling even; but so very hard. It never becomes more apparent as to just how hard it is until you are a mother; responsible in every way for the well-being of another tiny human.
Even before becoming mothers, women wear so many different hats. We are cooks, maids, friends, daughters, therapists, employees, managers, etc. We tend to stick together, to find our tribe and to be there for one another through thick and thin. Which is never more important that when we do become parents.
There are many things I do well; I am good at my job, I can sew a dress in a skinny minute complete with a monogram. I can clean a kitchen, train a dog, and make a mean cocktail. But when I became a mom all the confidence I had was lost as I questioned nearly everything I did.
Thankfully I have a tribe of women in which I can confide. We help each other through the good and the bad.
I am lucky enough to live in a neighborhood where most of us are friends. It kind of happened on accident. Walking around the block we stepped out of our comfort zones and, instead of a polite nod or wave we walked over, introduced ourselves and had a conversation. It was largely in-part to our kids seeing one another and wanting to play. The great thing about children is they do not care about overstepping boundaries, if they find another child they will play with them.
We help each other out. Whoever is closest to an accident is the one to assess the damage and to fix the boo-boo. Hugs and kisses are doled out freely, as well as reprimands and warnings. We watch all the children present, not just our own. We expect kind words and respect, generosity and forgiveness. Having similar values we help each other instill these into all our children.
Wednesday nights in the summer have taken on a new life, we gather together, each bringing some dish – either covered or store bought. We keep the favorite drinks of each other in our refrigerator for impromptu visits. We open our garage doors as a signal that we are home and they are welcome to stop in, and if that door is open we don’t bother to go to the front door, we walk straight in through the garage and onto the house after a courtesy knock. We know if the in laws are visiting by the site of a blue SUV in their driveway and are welcome to come down and visit with them.
With the support of one another hosting parties and gatherings are no longer a chore. We help setup and clean up when friends and family leave. Chairs, tables, tents and serving ware are borrowed time and time again, often going from one place to another several times before returning to the owner. We know each other’s strengths and aren’t shy to ask for help. We are a shoulder and shelter in the storm and a place of celebration in the good.
It is important to surround yourself with people who share the same values. Friends who will tell your child how to behave and who will listen to you vent without judgment. Without my neighbors – my closest friends, I would not be able to decorate my yard for Christmas. Spur-of the moment pool parties wouldn’t be the norm and my annual Halloween party would not exist. When I am overwhelmed I know I can find someone to share with, someone who will listen and make me realize I am doing the best I can. I am lucky to have found my tribe, a group of mothers with similar values, good sense of humor, and not judgmental.
The saying “It takes a village to raise a child” still holds true today. This new generation needs to be respectful, generous, caring, forgiving toward one another. What better way than to lead by example and to welcome neighbors into your home and lives? Take a cue from your child who wants to play with the new kid on the playground; reach out, start a conversation and start building your tribe.