the power of mommy friends

Jen called me today to see how I was doing with all the hullabaloo going on right now. She is the sweetest, dearest person. I love her to death. And I miss her so so much. Mississippi just isn't all that close. Nothing like a hop skip and jump away like it use to be. I could throw a rock and it would hit her house.

Anyway, that is beside my point here. She asked me another pretty big question today and that is "Val, how do you do it?". She was talking about juggling a 13-month old, a 37-month old, housework and then my work-from-home job. I said "I don't really know, Jen".

I tried having a good explanation behind it, but I didn't. And I think just because I have never thought of myself as a great mom. I just do what I do to get by. She summed it up well when she said it seems like all she is doing anymore is suriving day-to-day. That's exactly it. You do what you have to do to get by and hopefully the choices you make on that daily journey are the right ones. We'll never know, but we have to have faith that we are making the right decisions and doing the best we possibly can.

She also talked about how hard it is without a network. She said she talked with her friend who also lives in another state and they agreed how hard it is not to have any sort of network - to move to a new place without other mommy friends to talk to and without family near by. Yep, it's gotta be hard. I cannot even imagine that feeling. But then I think about it, and I kind of do understand it. I know my dear friend (also my sister-in-law), Michelle, who just moved to Oklahoma, understands it all too well, too. And so does my other very dear friend, Alexis, who just moved to North Carolina. But even though I didn't actually move-move like they did, some days it certainly feels like I did.

Here is what happened. Two of my very best friends moved in the same month from my town. Two people who I saw weekly and communicated with daily. Alexis, also a stay-at-home work-at-home mommy, she and I did so so much together. We walked so many of the same daily walks. She was my support for anything and everything. She always had answers and they always seemed to be the right ones. Always. And her youngest daughter, Sam, was my son's best friend. (I'd like to think they still are.) Alexis was the first (yep, even before my husband) to see Noah as a small tiny bean on the ultrasound screen - what a miraculous moment that was to finally see a baby! And then Jen. Even though we have only known each other really well for a short time, it's like we've known each other for our entire lives. We are the same person in so many ways. She is the kind of friend you meet and you wonder where she's been the past 30 years. And we have daughters who are exactly 6 months apart who were suppose to grow up being best friends. (Maybe they still will be? We're both hoping . . .) And then, out of nowhere, she and Alexis both say they are moving. And moving 10-13 hours away in different directions. The news really really sucked.

I know the moves have been really rough on them. But, I have to be selfish here and say that it's been really hard on me, too. I lost my own network. And I haven't gained one since. I'm alone, too. I'm struggling with the stay-at-home phenomenon. I'm struggling as a work-at-home mom. I miss my friends. And I need some grown-up time. And so that is why I feel like I have moved away, too. Granted, my mom is still here and I am extremely grateful for that. But the only mommy friends that I had who also stayed at home (and who understood me best!) moved hundreds of miles away. I might as well have moved too.

I'm still not really sure what my point is exactly. I guess it might be to tell Jen "thank you". Thank you for realizing how hard it is. Thank you for telling me how great of a mommy I am; that I do a good job. You don't hear that often, and when you are struggling to do it all right, to make all ends meet, and to figure out how you juggle one thing while doing the other and sometimes actually succeed at it, it's a wonderfully fulfilling feeling to hear the words "you do such a good job, Val." It makes you feel more worth it as a friend, as a person, and especially as a mommy when other recognize what you do and give you bonus points for doing it.

Now how do I actually get my housework done AND keep a photography business going from my home AND be a full-time 24-7 mommy, I can't really answer that. I can't really answer how I do any of it. All I know is, I get my drive from 4 things. 1) at least 5 hours of sleep a night, 2) 2-5 cups of coffee a day, 3) friends and family (like jen) who cheer me on and support every move I make, and 4) God for keeping my head held up, my eyes looking in the right direction and my mind thinking as clearly as I possibly can. Some days I don't think too clearly, but the next day I try and suck it up and make it all work. And it usually does all work out. The housework, though. It never gets done. When you have kids - especially the 2nd! - you let it slide and it doesn't really even matter anymore.

So, Jen, there's a long way of answering a simple question that you asked me today. But you know me, I can't do or answer anything simply and quickly! But really, I don't think there is a simple explanation for anyone. You just follow your instincts (I've told you that before), lean on friends and family and survive the best you can (take your own advice!). You're going to make it. You already are. Look how far we have came! For so long, we each did not think we would ever have babies! Look at us now. Tromping along like we're pros.

Jen, remember this - you, too, are a GREAT MOMMY.

Me and Jen at her baby shower

Alexis with Maia in the hospital - she was the first one other than mommy and daddy to hold her after she was discharged from Level II

Me and my belly (I'm the big one!) and Jen (small belly - Addy is just a bean still!) the day before I had Maia

Alexis was the first and only to get Maia to take a bottle!

Jen with Maia in the hospital

Jen visiting Maia and mommy at home

New family of three


Alexis Jacobs said...

It is way to early to be crying. Tell Jenn maybe we should start a 3 way online support group. And remember, whether I am on Cedar Hill or I am sitting here at the beach, no distance will ever seperate our friendship.

I miss you.

Jen said...

Ok, I haven't read this until now. I'm crying. All I can say is "Thank you"!!!!!! Love ya, Val.