Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Solidarity in motherhood

I have always valued my mommy friends.  Ever since I became pregnant with my oldest son way back in the fall of 2000, I sought out like minded women with similar experiences to help me navigate the waters of parenthood.  The simple idea that I was not alone in this journey made all of the challenges much much easier to overcome.

It started with La Leche League meetings and Attachment Parenting International meetings in Austin, TX. There I met moms in all stages of their journeys who believed in very similar ideals such as co-sleeping, breastfeeding, and gentle parenting.  Many of them became close friends of mine, some of whom I am still in contact with 10 years and a cross country move later.  While we were in Texas so many challenges came my way and so many moms stepped up to give me much needed advice, let me cry on their shoulders, or just be present with me in my struggles.  There were midnight calls and rides to the children's ER when my husband was out of town, food brought over after an emergency D&C following the birth of my 2nd son, and so many much needed playdates where my kids could run and be kids while I got to sit and enjoy adult conversation. I truly believe I am a much better mother due to the strong loving guidance and support of those women.

When my husband's job moved us from Texas to Oregon I was really worried about finding other moms to connect with. Having to start all over again really scared me. I really missed having my sister-friends around me.  Then I got pregnant with my daughter and found a couple of resources that led me to a whole new group of amazing moms.  The forums for the web version of Mothering Magazine let me to my "tribe" (def 2) and very soon I was no longer alone in a new town.  Once I decided who would care for me during my prengancy and where I would give birth to my daughter I found yet another amazing group of women and families through the Andaluz Waterbirth Center.  Some of those women have become my best friends.

Now that my children are school age the playdates and park days have slowed down.  We don't gather in groups for support nearly as much as we used to.  My children's activities and school friends have more influence on the adults that I interact with than my own choices of like minded ideals.  This is both a blessing and a challenge.   I have met some amazing people that are now part of my circle of friends who support me in this crazy journey.  Others have been learning moments in tolerance and patience.  But regardless of how well I get on with the other adults in the room there is one thing we all have in common. We are parents and we are all on a journey of the utmost importance. Raising strong, confident, capable kids who will grow up to be successful happy adults.  Knowing we're not alone goes a long way towards helping us all survive the quest.

With how busy all of our lives have become however, getting together in person isn't something that happens outside of the events our children all participate in.  And that's where the internet comes in.  Besides the obvious benefits of Social Media on being able to connect with like minded people, I follow a number of Mom bloggers from all over the country who write posts about all of the things we have in common as moms. While we might be alone physically we are not alone in our struggles thanks to the words of wisdom, commiseration, and joy of folks like Mama Birth and Laura from Our Messy Life.  Following their journeys online has brought humor and tears of joy to my daily life.

I know I don't blog regularly or nearly often enough, but I hope that those that do stumble across my page can find the same support, tips for an easier life, laughter, and hope that I find in the pages I follow.

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