To my mom squad, my tribe, my girlfriends . . . the ones that allow me to keep my job, my marriage, and my sanity.
There are no greeting cards to say more eloquently how much I appreciate you. There is no holiday or amount on a gift card that would be great enough to show my gratitude to you. I love that you have my back, and you know I have yours. You make my life as it is possible, and I am forever grateful.
In our tribe, there are four women, 13 children, four part-time jobs, and one extremely sacrosanct group message between us. We all have husbands who commute and mothers or sisters who live far away. Our support system is each other, and we have happily created a matriarchal family between each of our own households. We rely on each other.
In a world where new mothers are feeling increasingly alone and families are stretched too thin, our small community is priceless. Without each other no one would get to work on time, our money would be drained by child care costs, and making a date night or doctors appointment would be impossible. We round-robin our kids, our clothes, and our date nights to save the other a bit of stress or give respite. We understand how motherhood, marriage, and social demands can be hard and unfair, but having women to stand by your side makes the weight bearable.
To my friends, I cannot thank you for the times I’ve been at the breaking point and you took my kids for a swim in your backyard to give me 90 precious minutes of quiet. For the 5:00 a.m. messages on my phone asking how we are and if my sick child slept through the night. For the offers to pick up something from Costco for me, and for the bottles of wine or bags of coffee left on my porch when I have had a hard day. For a safe place to vent or celebrate life’s smallest of victories.
We can ask each other for honest answers, feedback, hard truths, and sometimes just to be on our side even when we are wrong.
And I know you do not mind sharing the load. I know this because I don’t mind. I love your children as my own, and I will cheer or cry for them along your side. My doors are open to your family, and there is never an expectation for reciprocation. There is no judgement or shame between us. We have held each through loss, breakups, childbirth, postpartum depression, and anxiety. They will always have a place to go for the holidays and a seat at the table. We keep our homes stocked with extra swimsuits, flip-flops, and snacks because we know our “other kids” will stop by this week. We know our children are safe in the other’s care, and we trust each other to respect our individual parenting styles. And we will never care about what your house looks like or when you showered last.
I need you and you need me. I do not know if anyone would fully understand how much love, trust, and gratitude we have for one another. And maybe some would disagree. But I know my days are fuller and my children’s lives are happier with you and your families in them.