Mommies out there: have you ever come across your mothering soulmate? Someone who parents exactly like you? Endures the same trials you do? Handles them the same way? Has the same sense of humour that you do? I can’t even begin to tell you how important it is to take the time to be with this person and just talk about your lives together as mommies. Being a mother is extremely hard work and seems to be never-ending. I am, in no way, excluding full-time daddies, nor implying that mommies should automatically fill the primary parenting role, but the reality is that they still do and this is still pretty standard across the board. Until that shifts a little more, I think it is important to talk about the bonds forged between mothers.
Just the other day, I sat down and had a nice long coffee with a friend of mine – a woman exactly the same age as me, also Muslim, and born and raised in Alberta. She has one extra kid to wrangle but I can’t emphasize enough how much I got out of our conversation together. Some of it was venting, some of it was strategizing about how to deal with growing pains or marital foibles. Other topics included celebrating where we are at in life and discussing the future. Most importantly, our parenting approach is very similar and so is our ability to be honest and laugh at ourselves.
Too often mothers are expected to be holier than thou, never having breakdowns, never raising their voices in anger lest they be scorned by fellow parents, people without kids or religious community members. All of this can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on moms who may not have much time to devote to self-care. Heck, some days we don’t even get to pee alone, never mind process how we feel about things and check our behaviour and attitude at the door.
But it is critical to be able to sit, once and awhile, to make the time for some sisterhood in motherhood. To joke about how nasty our kids can be and all the silly things we end up doing to compensate for our lives turned upside down. There is so much competition online these days to be a picture-perfect mother that we can often get caught up in the rat-race of parenting. Realistically, behind the veil of social media, there is likely a burnt out mama who is just looking for someone to laugh at her kid’s poop explosion with her because damn, is this what my life has become?
Sisterhood through motherhood should be an uplifting experience – you should feel like you have someone who understands you, not like you have spent half an hour explaining yourself and justifying why your kid ate Cheerios twice a day every day last week. It happens. When we check our judgment at the door and recognize that everyone struggles with parenthood (particularly those in lower socio-economic positions), we get the opportunity to bond over our children and make parenting a communal experience. In a culture that is characteristically individualistic, mommy real-talk is one of the simplest things we can make time that has one of the fastest and most positive impacts on our own sense of motherhood.
So don’t be shy mamas: reach out and find your parenting soulmate. Make time for each other, share pictures and stories. Laugh at the absurdity of it all. Going at it alone can be frustrating and having other mothers that you can bond with over this experience gives us the opportunity to reflect and put things in perspective. Realistically, this phase of our lives is going to be over a lot sooner than we anticipated and any chance we can get to reassess and get grateful, and help uplift one another in doing that, the better.