“It’s not where you are in life, it’s who you have by your side that matters.” — Unknown
My best friend's husband was riding in the car last year with their 6 year old son, listening to the song "Hey, Soul Sister" by Train. Her son asked her husband what a "Soul Sister" was, and he explained how his aunt and mommy (my best friend) were sisters because they shared the same mommy and then said "but you know how Ms. Shannon and Mommy talk to each other about 10 times a day but don't share the same mommy? well, that would be Mommy's soul sister." Although I don't think that was the kind of "Soul Sister" train was referring to, I chuckle every time I think about this story. It makes me smile and makes me feel lucky that I have a "Soul Sister". So going forward, when speaking of my best friend Sara throughout this blog, she will lovingly be referred to as my Soul Sister.
My Soul Sister and I go way back. We have been close friends since high school and even lived together in college. As our lives progressed into adulthood, ours seemed to take parallel paths. We married within months of each other had children within months of each other and lost our sanity together at the same time.
Motherhood is hard, it's not easy and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying (or heavily medicated all the time). It has so far, included my biggest accomplishments but at the same time my biggest failures. Believe me, I fail a lot and I am not afraid to admit it. When friends call me Supermom, I feel like Oz, "No one pay attention to the man behind that curtain". In short, it's an illusion at times. If you see us at a birthday party, the kids in nice ironed clothes and me actually showered with make-up on, know that it took me the whole morning to get everyone clean, dressed and out the door.
My Soul Sister talks me off the ledge on those days when I feel like I am failing most. We have a competition called Worlds Worst Mom and we like to call each other and bump the other out of the #1 spot. As of right now, I think I hold top honors with my performance this year of driving all the way to Spiro's elementary school when I actually needed to be at Billy's preschool to pick Billy up. The sad part... I passed by Billy's preschool on my way to the elementary school.
We spend a good amount of time on the phone each night making completely inappropriate jokes about being a mother that only we would get. (and praying that Child Protective Services is not listening in) We discuss the really important, unattainable things in life like taking a shower on a daily basis, wearing heels again, and the luxury of sleeping through the night. She is one of the only people that knows the "true mommy" in me, the one that loses her patience and doesn't always feel all warm and fuzzy about motherhood every minute of every day. The mommy that feels defeated at times and can't believe she has been allowed to raise children. Our phone conversations rarely consist of completed sentences that are not interrupted by a screaming child or a yelling mother saying "stop that", "get down" or "this thing, I am holding to my ear, is a telephone" but some how through all that, they still reach my soul. After all, that's what Soul Sisters are for. She is the one who sent me a card to cheer me up, even though she was at her darkest hour with a sick child But hey, that's what Soul Sisters are for and when her mom was fighting for her last days of life, I didn't wait for her to ask, I just showed up at her house and listened because that's what Soul Sisters are for. She is the one that I call exhausted and overwhelmed and doesn't make me feel weak for admitting it but reaffirms that I am not alone and that she too is failing, treading water, and not sure if she is "doing it right" either.
I detest showy, bragging parents. I can remember taking Spiro to his 3 year old preschool open house and a mother inside bragging to the teacher about how her little girl knew her entire alphabet in english and spanish, yada, yada, yada... All I can remember is chuckling to myself, and thinking I hope your kid isn't playing with my kid. I want to be around parents who are real. Who aren't afraid to say, you know what, I have absolutely know clue what I am doing either and I am flying by the seat of my pants.
It is so important for us as mothers to have a person or place to share our insecurities and doubts and not feel weakened for it . There are times when my Soul Sister and I share ours with our group of friends who don't have children yet and there look of horror is priceless but we just look at each other and know that we were much better mothers before we had children too. I have never forgotten the cashier at my local grocery store who took pity on me as I was trying to check out $300+ worth of groceries with a screaming newborn on my chest and a very impatient 2 year old at my side, and instead of giving me a look, she quickly checked me out, told me I must have forgotten my 20% off coupon which she applied to my account and found someone to help me to my car. If I was too frazzled to properly show my gratitude that day, "Thank you, kind cashier lady, for helping a sister out and letting me know in your own way that I was not alone." My challenge to all of you is the next time you see or hear a mother struggling, find your own way to let her know that she is not alone, make a joke, help her to car, grab whatever it is that she is trying to reach for but can't because maybe she has a baby on her hip. Tell her "yeah, it really sucks sometimes, this motherhood thing" because after all, that's what "Soul Sisters" are for...