Sunday, February 9, 2014

Never Mom Alone

Photo by Mateusz Stachowski

If you're a stay-at-home mom, the best piece of advice I can give you is this: Never mom alone. Find someone—a few if you can—who's in the same boat and join together like a Voltron to become more than the sum of your parts. 

Even if all your friends are working moms (or not even moms at all), you can find some weirdo out there who's gotten themselves in the same boat you're in. Maybe she's a junior copy editor who looked at daycare prices and realized that saving the world through journalism would just have to wait a few years. Maybe she's a teen bride who started popping out babies way too early and had to put her Bible degree on hold. Maybe she's a spoiled housewife who hasn't worked a day since she met her shockingly successful husband.

It doesn't matter if you can't stand these moms. You'll love them a whole lot more when they've got poop behind their ears—which you will only get to see if you are with them when it happens!

What does it mean to mom together? Play dates are a good place to start, but they can be a source of stress if you're trying to impress other moms with your creativity or homemaking. What I'm suggesting goes beyond scheduling a day where the moms all pool their time and energy to entertain the kids. I'm suggesting joining up with other moms to actually do life together.

Ask someone over to watch her kids at your house while you wash the dishes and fold the clothes. Some of the best days I've had were when my friends and I have literally made ourselves at home in each other's houses. Messy or clean. Our power as moms is amplified when we join forces. Our failures are mitigated when we have someone there to understand us and let us vent before we blow up. Or set a time when you can both go grocery shopping together. Yes, it will take planning ahead and it will take longer than it normally would and you will want to judge the quality of food or amount your friend spends. But you'll learn from each other and learn about each other. 

Doing life together this way takes courage, vulnerability, and humility—traits I have little of. You will need to be courageous enough to risk making invitations to your friends that will eventually (and possibly often) be declined. You will need to be vulnerable enough to invite your friends over to your house when it isn't up to your usual hosting standards. You'll need to be humble enough to let another woman correct your child while you take care of another need across the room. 

Comparing yourself to other moms is a losing battle. Don't compare who you are to another woman's status updates or photo albums or blog posts—you're comparing your worst to their best (or so I've been told; I'll be honest, I don't have a great handle on this rule myself). But learning through experience as you mom alongside each other can change the way you parent, improve the way you see yourself, and deepen the friendships you have with other women. 

This month take some time and mom together…then leave a comment. Let me know if it works out for you or if your experience was different. 

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