We’re Better Mothers Together
While clearing the lunch plates my daughter, Charlotte, grabs a train to roll across the table. I hear the buzz of my phone. Feeling a hint of guilt as I take my attention away from the table, I glance at the incoming text. The name of my newest contact scrolls across my screen.
We’re going to the park, want to join?
A smile forms as I grab the phone and run to my husband. “Guess what? Kaitlin texted. She’s going to the park. I’m taking Charlotte. We’re going. Now!” I say with determination not wanting to miss a moment of playtime. Kaitlin and I met only a few weeks earlier at our church’s annual ice cream social. When you live in a town of 1,000 you recognize new faces, especially if those faces include a child roughly the same age as your own.
At the ice cream social, taking Charlotte with me, I introduce our family to theirs. “Hi, welcome! Glad you’re here. This is Charlotte, I’m Kim. We haven’t met before, do you live in town? Who’s your little guy,” I ask one question after another without taking a breath, making sure not to miss any important information.
Smiling, perhaps a bit tentatively, they answer: “Yes, our neighbors invited us tonight, we live in town. This is Liam, he’s 2.” I could jump up and down with my excitement.
“So is Charlotte! They could be buddies.” I hope that wasn’t too forward.
We continue making small talk as I learn where they’re from and what brought them to our town. All the while hoping that my enthusiasm doesn’t scare them.
“I hope you enjoy the entertainment tonight. It’s a fun community event. Are you on Facebook?” I ask nonchalantly hoping we’ll be able to connect that way.
“Yes, you can find me there.” I hope she’s serious and not just humoring me.
“Great! Tell me how you spell your name?” I listen carefully memorizing her name and spelling wishing I had paper to write it down.
Now, a few weeks later, after FB searching (or stalking) and finally exchanging messages and phone numbers, we’re getting together. “We’re going to meet our friends, Charlotte.” I tell her hoping that by making this declaration, we will be making friends.
As we watch our children play we share bits of our story. We both like to walk, travel, and eat healthy foods. At one point, I boldly say: “I think we were meant to be friends.”
“I think so, too.”
When it’s time to leave and nap times have been pushed further and further back, Charlotte opens her arms for a hug. Liam, always eager for a hug, too, opens his arms and the two embrace tumbling over with their enthusiasm. We all laugh and I think to myself: Yes, we’re with our friends.
“How in the world?! I don’t think I can do that; I didn’t even know a body could do that!”
I continue to lean into the pose. Wobbling, using my hands for balance. I tighten my core. I fix my gaze on a spot on the blinds. I keep focused on that one spot hoping my balance stays strong. Next to me, Angie and Katie practice, too. We all lift our legs and reach our arms as we practice yoga together.
The three of us come from different backgrounds but have found ourselves living in the same town raising our children. We’re surrounded by people who have grown up together and live close to their large extended families. The three of us, however, live far from many of our families, but have found one another to be family. We celebrate the town’s festivals, we walk its streets, and we watch our children play at the park. We know that deepening friendships can come from texts and snapchats, and figuring out where to find the best local produce.
We’re not consistent in meeting for yoga, but we are consistent in showing up for one another learning to balance this thing called life and motherhood. Showing up with texts of encouragement and checking in, morning coffee dates while our husbands wrangle our 10 collective children, walks, and meet-ups at the park.
Becoming better mothers, together.
I’ve always been one to connect and thrive on new relationships. I love meeting new people, hearing stories, and sharing with others. And it’s never been more important than as a mother to connect with others. Yet, it’s never been more challenging. That’s why I’m so grateful for the mothers in my life who have taken the chance on new connections and new relationships.
I’m thankful for Kaitlin, Angie, and Katie, friends who know what it’s like to pick up and start over in a new place. Friends, like me, who have planted roots in this particular town at this particular time. Friends who know the power of a text to brighten a day. Friends who learn how to navigate new doctors, shops, and work relationships together. Friends who walk for miles together. Friends who share food. Friends who listen. Friends who watch their children laugh and play together.
Friends who make this mothering journey better, and who’ve made me a better mother.
**This post was written as part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to read the next post in this series "We're Better Mothers Together."
**Image created by Kristine Farnum for Coffee + Crumbs, 2019