Sometimes it seems like a luxury to catch up for a coffee or lunch with a friend. Life is so busy and there are so many things on our to do list can we really afford to spend our time sitting down having a chat? Or can we afford not to? They say that it takes a village to raise a child which I never really understood until I became a mother. It is not necessarily the child that needs the village it is the mother who needs the emotional and physical support of people around her to do the best job she can in raising the child.
Some of my closest friends are women that I met when my oldest son (now 15) started playgroup and kindergarten. As mothers we are often grouped with other women whom we have nothing in common with other than the fact that we had children around the same time. Sometimes this bond is enough to get us through some struggling times as we experience similar stages with our children. Other times a friendship is formed that lasts a lifetime.
Everyone’s friendship groups are different. Some people have a tight group of high school or university friends, others have lived in many locations so they are constantly making new friends, some women thrive on having a large network while others only need a small handful of close friends. As a mother it doesn’t matter how your friendship circle looks as long as you have someone who genuinely cares and really understands what you are going through.
We are lucky to live in a time where you can even find emotional support and understanding through people all around the world via online communities. I remember when my second son was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, I felt alone, no one in my inner circle was experiencing what I was. I was able to turn to a wonderfully supportive group of online women from all around the world who were experiencing what I was. In this group I was able to read similar stories to my own that gave me a new understanding of my son and this change of perspective made things a little easier. For other mothers it might be that you are rocking a screaming baby in the early hours of the morning wondering if this is normal or if there is something wrong? The love and emotional support that can be found online can be just as powerful as picking up a phone and calling a friend.
Motherhood can be a real challenge and no one understands what you are going through better than another mother. I had a friend once who, when my husband was overseas, came over and watched my children for an hour one night so that I could go for a run. It doesn’t seem like much but she knew how important it was for my sanity to be able to have that one-hour to get out and exercise when I was looking after 3 young children for 2 weeks on my own. Another friend once delivered a survival kit of toilet cleaner, disinfected wipes and a bottle of wine, when all of my children had a stomach bug and I was again on my own. As my children grow it is through a network of mothers that we ensure our children get to school and all their various activities throughout the week.
We all need friends to be there for us, to cheer us on, to give us a hug and to be a listening ear when things aren’t going well, whether that is through online communities or close friends. Life can get busy and you may feel you don’t have time for that catch up, however, it is these friendships that help us through the ups and downs of motherhood. The village is not only needed to raise a child but also support the mother.
Counsellor & Author of 'Ben's School Daze'
Owner Motherhood & You
Co-Director Magnetic Moves