Carseat over my arm, hair tumbling out of my bun, I knock on the door. My two-year-old stands barefoot in her pajamas. After a night of breastfeeding and little sleep, I’m feeling defeated. I feel like the wilting succulent decorating my friend’s porch. But we made it here.
She opens the door, and her smile pulls us inside the house. Pancakes sizzle on the stove, and the scent of coffee wafts out from the kitchen — my kiddo races upstairs to play with her children. I set down the diaper bag and start to feel lighter already.
Motherhood can feel isolating. Even surrounded by pounding little footsteps, giggles and screams, when I’m the only adult at home with my tribe all day, it’s easy to think I’m alone and no one really understands how my days look; until I talk to other women.
I collapse into her couch, and she settles across from me. “How are you doing, sis?” We only met two years ago, but she calls me “sis” and it makes me smile because we’re in the trenches of mommy-hood together.
At first, I explain I’m frustrated with my toddler’s boundless energy and angry at myself for feeling aggravated with her. She says, “I know. That’s so hard, especially when you’re not sleeping, and you don’t have the energy to keep up.” I start to tear up as she reminds me it’s okay to be human.
At that moment, our girls march down the stairs swimming in princess skirts. I wipe my tears, and we laugh at the costumed royalty descending on us in the living room.
Few things refresh my mind and emotions as much as spending time with sisters. Laughing and relating, sometimes crying and praying, help reframe my days and pull the weary and the work back into perspective.
Community is essential for everyone’s mental health, but maybe especially for moms.
The journey of motherhood is as unique to each woman as a thumbprint or a child’s personality. At the same time, many of the experiences comprising mom life seem universal, common ground for women to bond over shared experiences that draw us into a secret club. The club of first-trimester nausea, sleepless nights mopping the flu off the floor and empty nest sadness as a youngest turns his tassel. These experiences in the trenches of motherhood forge us into sisters.
Have you ever met a new lady and wound up sharing birth stories within the first two hours of friendship? Why is that?
I suspect there’s more to it than women just squeezing in our 20,000 words per day. I believe telling our stories bonds us together.
The power of storytelling is no secret. It’s the key to everything from marketing to religion. It’s how we educate and entertain everyone from toddlers to seniors. Entire cultures have been built on oral history. People connect and relate to each other via story. And women have always passed down secret maternal wisdom to one another.
So it’s no wonder that storytelling and story-hearing with other moms help us make sense of the challenges in motherhood and helps us heal.
Telling a birth tale or a parenting story about a cranky kid helps us contextualize what happened and realize our experiences are not isolated. It’s a part of what women all over the planet and throughout history have weathered. We feel stronger realizing the community of women we’ve been inducted into.
Talking to other moms not only offers hope that we’re not alone in our journey, and it reminds us of other truths we often forget.
Older women look us in the eye and share the wisdom not to let our six-year-old’s tantrum in the grocery serve as a barometer of our personal identities.
Younger women show us where we’ve already walked on the journey as they chase a runaway two-year-old across the park. Watching chapters that have closed for us unfold for them, reminds us to savor the fleeting moments at each stage.
And ladies in the same phase can relate and commiserate when we need an empathetic ear.
There are three main reasons I need other women in my life:
- Sisters – whether by blood or simply the sweat, tears, and laughter of mothering together – are the community that reminds me I’m not alone. They are the people that help me feel understood, not invisible.
- Telling my stories and hearing others teaches me to laugh and put the frustrations into the context of the joys, the cuteness and the laugh-out-loud moments.
- Laughter lightens the load. Cracking up at a story about my friend’s baby peeing on her pastor is good medicine for my soul. It changes my outlook and helps me face the rest of the day with wonder and curiosity to replace my anxiety and defeat.
So when I load the kids back into the car and drive away from her house, my soul is refreshed. I know that being with my mom friends, my sisters and my own mother makes my heart feel connected, and my mind steadied. I’m so thankful for the kindred moms in my life because moms need other moms to walk with us, cry with us, laugh with us and tell us the truth when we’re afraid we’re sinking. Sisterhood keeps us sane.
Feature image courtesy of Joyful Life Magazine
**Alex appeared on Episode 54 of the Kindred Mom Podcast: Tackling Worry and Overwhelm. Click over to listen!
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Alex Davies is a San Diego mom of two girls and a DIY addict who loves creating budget-friendly style and decor. She is passionate about inspiring other moms to remember the things that brought them joy BC (before children) and reclaim those pieces of their identity. You can find her top creative hacks and discover what type of creative you are in a Free Quiz at www.AlexDaviesLiving.com. Plus, you can follow her on Instagram where she shares motherhood moments to laugh and cry at, farmhouse style and more.