As a mom, any night out is a special occasion. A chance to put on a dress, my nicer coat that I don’t let anyone wipe their nose on, and to have a meal without interruption or puffs all over the table. But this past weekend was extra special. An anniversary dinner, but not for me and Casey. Last Friday (to the day!), we celebrated a year with my mom’s group.
I can’t say enough about the value of having other moms in my life — particularly those with babies the same age as mine. All our little ones are within four weeks of each other, so they have been developing, playing, and growing along side each other for a year now. It has been such a wonderful journey to watch them grow together.
I can’t imagine this first crazy year without the support of friends who understand exactly what I’m going through. When I have to cancel plans because Cullen skipped a nap and has turned into a small dragon — they get it. When I cry on the couch and rant on and on about lack of personal time or postpartum pelvic pain — they get it. We celebrate each baby’s individual milestones and little personalities together. It is nice to know that so many people are rooting for and loving my little guy.
A lot of new moms join mom groups in the early days, in order to fill the long days of maternity leave and to have local support during the crazy newborn phase. But I think it’s pretty uncommon to still be going strong a year later. Other than some holidays and travel here and there, we’ve seen each other every Wednesday (and many other additional days) for an entire year. We have all grown so much — as mothers, as individual, and as friends.
At our very first meeting — January 4th of 2011 — Cullen was in a horrible mood that day. It was raining, his naps were really off, and I was very nervous about meeting so many new faces. Our babies were just 8ish weeks old, and we spent the bulk of our time together all standing and bouncing, shushing and breastfeeding. We all sit and laugh now at how much our get togethers have changed. Each meetup used to involve lots of breastfeeding, babies laying in a row like little lumps, and back at the beginning they even napped right in our chests. Sometimes we’d even meet up at coffee shops and let the babies nap in their car seats. That feels hard to remember.
These days, there are snacks for both the toddlers and the moms. The kids run wild — emptying kitchen drawers, banging wooden spoons, all fighting over the same toy, tossing soccer balls, and eventually rubbing their eyes — letting us know it’s time to get home.
One of my fellow mamas is already pregnant again, and talk of second babies is constant. It’s only a matter of time before our group likely doubles. I wonder how we’ll coordinate getting together with both toddlers and newborns, but I know we’ll get it done. Just like it has this year, it will change and adapt as life changes.
But I know these women are in my life for the long haul. With no immediate family within thousands of miles of us, they have stepped in and filled that role. Here’s to one year, and hopefully many more!