And God Created Mom-Friends

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friendsIn this season of being thankful for all the blessings in our lives, I am most grateful for my tribe of mom-friends. These are the women of the “It takes a village ilk,” who live and breathe the mantra down to their very cells. Mom-friends know what it’s like. They have mommy-instincts and a radar for helping other moms get to the finish line. They intuitively know exactly the right help to offer when it is most needed.

Yes, I’m talking about you, neighborhood bestie. Who puts my children on the school bus. Who picks them up from daycare when I can’t make it on time because of work. Who has my daughter practically living at your house for play dates that sometimes extend into the night. And who does a thousand little things without hesitation, simply because you are my friend.

And you, other neighborhood bestie, who has my son over more times than I can count. Who told me to cook my Thanksgiving turkey at your sister’s house when the power died mid-holiday prep. And who has saved me time and time again from my over-scheduling nightmares or when I’ve simply needed an egg or two for pancakes.

Then there are the mom-friends who text lost homework pages late at night. The cheer moms who offer to carpool nearly every week to practice and help my child with high, teased ponytails when I’ve failed miserably. The soccer moms, birthday party moms, music school moms, and yes, even the dance moms (just teasing; I love that Abby Lee show). All are part of that selflessly incredible tribe that looks out for one another, because they really do understand.

Beneath the veneer of every mom that looks like she has it all together (balancing work, family life, community obligations, and elderly parent-care), is a stressed-out HUMAN who sometimes breaks down in tears, has screaming fits, and engages in the occasional temper tantrum that rivals the most ballistic two year old. Let’s be honest: MOM LIFE IS HARD, and sometimes it is seriously no fun at all. I know I’m not the only one that feels this way, and I can’t be the only person who wants to run away from it all and then feels so guilty about it.

But the mom-tribe gets it because they know how hard it can be. There’s no hesitation in the offer to help, and the extra hand to get there. And I’ve found that there is really no judgment either. What never fails to impress me is how willing you all are to throw out that light word or self-deprecating joke that supports the idea that “We’ve ALL been there, so PLEASE take my help!”

I can’t count the number of times I’ve gratefully accepted yet another carpool offer or an umpteenth play date when I have yet to have the other child at my house (because I’m never home), and all because the other mom implicitly knows that it would somehow lighten my working mom/soccer mom/lacrosse mom/martial arts mom/dance mom/cheer mom/church mom/community volunteer mom/parental caretaker load. I’ve learned to accept help because YOU, my dear mom-friend, never make me feel badly about it. You offer it time and again because that is the type of person you are.

So please know that you keep me standing.

When other people ask me, “How in the world do you juggle it all,” please know that I readily answer that I don’t do it without help. I’ll admit it. There’s really no way to, and in the end, I am stronger for having it. My kids also learn through us that the world is very much a communal place, and the strength that makes us thrive as a species is tied to our togetherness. We wouldn’t have survived if every cave mom had stuck to her own piece of rock and never bothered to pop her head into the next cave to see what was up.  

From this article, it probably sounds like my life is a mess and WHEN IS THIS LADY EVER HOME? My husband asks that question often. But guess what? My life may be organized chaos, but I get it all done. Then I get to breathe a sigh of relief, because I took the help when I needed it, and I willingly gave it back when it was my turn to provide support. I’m so thankful that we have each other, my dearest mom-friends.

I get to say a million times a day how grateful I am for my husband, my family, and my children, but it’s time I said it to my mommy-tribe. You guys are amazing, and when all is said and done, you make the world go ‘round.

How does your mom tribe support you?

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May Hwa-Jones was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Queens. She interned at Rolling Stone Magazine and Elle Magazine in college, and was a freelance editorial assistant at Family Life Magazine. With a Bachelor’s Degree from NYU and a Master’s Degree from Stanford University in Literature, May explored editorial life in NYC, but moved towards a teaching career instead, which led to a teaching certification in secondary education and the eventual achievement of a second Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver. As a licensed clinical social worker, May has practiced psychotherapy for nearly seventeen years in multiple settings, from substance abuse clinics in hospitals to community mental health centers, finally finding her passion working with families in a school for severely emotionally disabled children in Westchester County. She is married to a self-proclaimed red neck from Colorado and has three children, who are the beloved centers of chaos in her life. Formerly a ballet dancer and musician for over 20 years, she now does Zumba to keep her joints from locking up and is an avid cheer-soccer-tae kwon do-music-art-dance mom. Her husband regularly begs her to stop volunteering to run more activities, but she never listens to red necks.