I recently had an awesome chat with a friend of mine who is newly pregnant with her first baby. (Yay! Jumping heel click!)
I was holding my iPhone in one hand and a glass of wine in the other as I listened to her gush and fret, dream and plan for the arrival of her sweet little babe.
We live in different states, so it pains me that I’m not able to go through this with her in person, but it was so fun to connect over the indescribable journey of motherhood.
She is just now thinking about registering and wanted some input. I jumped at the chance to share with her what I would buy again, ten times over. (I sent her this link, and this one, too.) I gave her a few tips, told her what worked for us, but mostly just listened as she asked (relatively rhetorical) questions.
But then she sprung a question that I simply could not answer with a mere one or two- word answer.
She very wisely and seriously asked, “If you were where I am right now in my pregnancy, what do you wish you could go back and tell yourself to do… for you AND your baby?”
Whoa. Talk about a loaded question!
I’m not gonna lie- tons of things flooded my mommy brain.
But, I didn’t talk to her about breastfeeding.
I didn’t suggest cry-it-out or co-sleeping.
I didn’t hash out mom career choices and I certainly didn’t weigh in on whether or not to have a natural birth.
“Well,” I considered carefully. “The thing I would want the most- you can’t register for that.”
She was all ears as I explained myself. “Mommy friends. Start making as many mommy friends as you can right now.” I urged her. “I wish I had found then what I have now.”
You see, in Lil’ AC’s short (almost 20 month) life, I have experienced both sides of the nursing pillow.
I have sat cross-legged on my bed, clutching my phone and bawling my eyes out to my far-away friends, wishing like crazy that they lived close enough to bring me a cup of coffee, a listening ear, and some nipple cream.
Now, I know that when illness strikes me, when my patience has fizzled, and when I need someone to remind me that I am more than just Mommy, I have local ladies on speed dial that can be at my doorstep in minutes.
And let me tell you, mommas, to survive this thing called mommy-hood, you absolutely need the latter.
It’s not that I don’t love and adore and miss my long-distance friends like crazy. (I do!) But the truth is, we don’t share the same life. We can’t go for weekly walks together or meet up at the zoo. We can’t rescue one another when life has been just too much that day. And we can’t hug each other when something immediately needs to be consoled or celebrated.
As I talked on the phone with my mommy-to-be friend, I had a few caveats and details I wanted to elaborate on, so I’ll share them with you, too…
- It’s ok to have friends that only talk to you about Lulu-lemons and the best baby butt cream, but they can’t be the only ones in your mommy circle.
- Similarly, you need to build a tribe.
- These are the pals that will be there when poop quite literally hits the fan. These are the women who will make sure you eat and will tell you that you need a shower. These are the friends that when you experience a death in the family, financial struggles, or an uncertain health diagnosis, will be your unwavering warriors. Do not settle for anything less.
- This is a challenge worth fighting for.
- It isn’t always easy to make new friends in this phase of life. It’s scary and uncomfortable and can be so incredibly awkward to intentionally seek out sisters from different misters. But let me encourage you to put yourself out there, get vulnerable, and don’t give up. It’s so incredibly worth it.
- Our husbands are not enough.
- I have an amazing husband and father for my sweet girl. I seriously hit the baby-daddy jackpot, but that doesn’t mean he can or should fill every emotional, spiritual, or social need that I have in my life. And even though parenting would be darn near impossible without him, nobody understands what it’s like to be a mom like another MOM. You gotta have your gals that GET IT.
- It’s for the kids.
- When your kiddos see mommy doing life with her tribe, it is teaching them that life is a team sport. It’s reminding them that your whole world doesn’t revolve around them and that it’s important to love and care for others. You are setting an example for them of what it looks like to do life outside of yourself. And as a bonus, when mom has other momma-friends, your children have a built-in community and family. And I can’t think of many gifts that are better than that.
- It’s never too late.
- It doesn’t matter if you’re 10 weeks pregnant or have multiple children in school already. It is never too late to open your heart to a kindred mommy spirit. Motherhood is a never-ending journey with different challenges and phases around every corner. It is ALWAYS a good time to find a great friend to do mom-life with.
I hope I encouraged my friend, and I pray I’ve encouraged you. If you have those friends in your life already, thank God for them and let them know how much they mean to you. If you haven’t quite embraced this kind of friendship, be brave and start looking!
She might be at Babies R Us. Possibly (and very likely), she is at Target. But, as much as I wish great mommy friends came wrapped up at the baby shower… You Can’t Register for That.
*All photo credits given to Brittany Baker at www.littlemountainmomma.com*