‘Do you want to swap days to take all the kids?’
We didn’t know each other very well yet. All we knew is that we both had two kids, relatively the same ages, and we were both drowning with the responsibility of being stay at home moms.
Her words were exactly what I needed to hear. I knew I couldn’t do this motherhood thing alone, but I was having a hard time finding how to do it alongside others. Everyone I knew was busy with their own mothering of little ones, balancing work and being home, and trying to provide the best for their family. Perhaps they all had their own villages already or perhaps I didn’t have the courage to step out and ask.
But the truth is, most of my mom friends at the time were too far away to swap kids and most schedules didn’t line up with mine either.
Through a friend of a friend I met this mom and I didn’t even have to ask what she knew we both needed: Breaks from our kids. From swapping one day a week to planning play dates and pumpkin patch days, we began to lean on each other through our journeys of motherhood.
Three years later, with now six kids between us, we continue to lean on each other through swaps and coffee runs. But more than this, our kids have become besties, we chat about all the things, and we have found one small way as to how to not do motherhood alone. It took courage of this friend to ask to swap days. It took stepping out of a comfort zone and forcing ourselves into a new relationship. We love to think of friendship and motherhood villages as happening naturally, with minimal effort. We like to think that the village is just there and will show up for us once the baby arrives. And sometimes it does in small ways.
But the truth is, most of the time we need to initiate our village. We need to seek it out, find it, and then work at it. All this effort results in finding that community that we so need in each stage of motherhood.
Sitterhood has done the hard work of setting up the space to finding the people for you. Now it’s your turn. Joining Sitterhood might be a step of courage and vulnerability for yourself but it may result in the start of a beautiful village. Isn’t that worth the step to reaching out? I think so.
By: Esther Vandersluis