Monday, January 18, 2010

Adventures in Co-Mothering

Amid the chaos of 5 children under 4 I coudln't help but notice the way mothers are like soldiers. I put this together after watching the Hurt Locker, a film about a squad of soldiers who diffuse bombs in Iraq. As the soldiers move through a building they move as one organism. They seem to be able to read each others moves and respond accordingly. They're doesn't have to be any verbal confirmation of goal, they are well trained and know what needs to be done so when one sees the other do one part of the task at hand, he jumps right in and does the rest.
My friend Fergy and I are becoming like this. I have two children and she has three. Our oldest ones are exactly a week apart and we've know each other since before they were born. We know each other well enough to be able to read what the other needs most of the time. When the Pudding is screaming that she doesn't want to go, Fergy is packing up my diaper bag and hanging it on my shoulder while I frog march Pudding out the door. When Fergy is wrangeling her two boys into hats, coats and mittens, I rock her baby. When one child pushes another, one of us jumps in to comfort and the other to reprimand in one seamless action.
It helps that we've grown up as mothers together. We met in childbirth classes while we were both going through the shock and awe that is ones first pregnancy. When our babies were born, we adjusted to the life of a mom together and were able to learn so much from each other. We spent many afternoons walking our neighborhoods and checking to see what the other did for diaper rash and what kind of sleep schedule actually worked. We saw each other work through the conflict between the ideas we had about motherhood and its reality and we know which side won.
My message to all you mommies or mommies-to-be out there is to find a friend like this, someone to go through the struggle with. A war buddy, a traveling partner, someone who knows what you're going through and doesn't expect more than you can give because they are going through the same stuff. It has been invaluable to have a friend like this. She always says something to make me feel normal when I feel that I'm loosing my marbles and tells me I'm a good mom when things feel like they're unraveling. She knows how hard it is to loose the baby weight and how tough potty training can be and what a challenge it is to choose a preschool for your child. Not to mention how weird it is that we're old enough to be choosing preschools.
I am so grateful to have found someone to go through these trenches with so to all you future mummies out there, I wish you the same. Thanks Fergy!

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