I need my mama village.
I remember when I first became a mother and someone asked me if I'd made any “mommy friends" yet. I brushed it off with a casual, “Ah yeah—I have a couple, I guess," and didn't give it much more thought.
I didn't know that the small handful of mommy friends I had at the start, which has now grown into a sisterhood of women who support, love and encourage each other, would become my strength and my sanity on my most difficult days.
Have you found your mama village? I hope you have. Whether it's just the two of you or 20 of you; we need our mama villages.
Oh, how we need our mama villages.
Because you need that mama who knows how sleep deprivation can turn you into a scary and unfamiliar version of yourself, and will ask you—no—TELL you that it's time to go get caffeinated together, kids in tow, to terrorize fellow cafe patrons so that together you can both get through the rest of your day without eating your young.
Because you need that mama with whom “workout chic" or “pajama vogue" is always an acceptable dress code. Let's just agree to turn up in gym clothes so that we can appear to society to have just completed an arduous boot camp session, when really we're going to go devour cinnamon rolls together and complain about our achy backs, you'll say to each other.
She's the one that you don't have to dress up for, put mascara on for or even brush your teeth for. And she'll still want to hang out with you and your raw, un-hairsprayed gorgeousness anyway.
Because you need that mama to talk to about poo for half an hour. You'll send each other pictures of the contents of your kids' diapers to get a second opinion as to whether those are chunks of undigested watermelon or something more untoward; she'll get as disproportionately excited as you when you tell her your toddler is no longer constipated; and you'll lament your potty training woes with one another.
Because sometimes you need to turn up to a play date with your mama village, knowing in advance that the likelihood of you breaking down and crying is approximately 99.7 percent, because things have just been that difficult lately. So you soldier on through your morning with your kids, counting down until 3:00 p.m., but once you're finally with your village, you hand someone your crying baby and someone else preoccupies your toddler while you open your heart, cry, get hugged and feel heard.
Somehow, you walk out of that play date feeling like superwoman, because they've told you how you've got this, but more importantly, you've got them and they're here for you.
There's that mama who has seen you at your worst—and doesn't judge you or think less of you. She's seen you lose your patience with your toddler. She's seen you shamelessly bribe them so you can just have a couple of minutes to yourself. She's been there with you when you've clumsily tried to detonate a tantrum and then tells you afterwards what a great job you did; how you did everything right and that you're a wonderful mother.
Because we doubt that we really are wonderful mothers, don't we? Motherhood can be such an isolating experience sometimes, and you can feel like everyone else has is so completely together, except you. It's so easy to feel guilty, helpless, overwhelmed and frustrated. And then these incredible women, these sisters you didn't know you had, will step in and remind you that we're all going through it. Everyone struggles sometimes and no one really has it all together. Despite having their own things to deal with, they'll drop them and do what they can to give you what you need.
I need my mama village. I've been thinking about every single member of my mama village lately, and how so very lucky I am to have found them. Thank you for sending that text message exactly when I needed to hear those words. Thank you for pre-emptively telling me I shouldn't feel guilty about something you know I'll feel guilty about. Thank you for bringing me food, laughter and company while I was housebound recovering from a C-section. Thank you for loving my babies the way you love your own, and for just stepping in and making things easier without being asked. Thank you for *just knowing* what I need in a certain moment, because, hey, you've probably been there too.
We need our mama villages. I need mine. You need yours. We all need each other. Ladies, you know who you are.