You know that old saying, “it takes a village” to raise a child. I didn’t really get it until I found myself building my own Village as soon as I found out I was going to have a mini me. I’ve spent half a lifetime working in a field that nurtured children and teens and created communities through relationships and programs. I’ve been a part of other kids Villages for nearly 20 years, so I know how important they are. But when I realized I needed a Village of my own, I freaked out a little (ok, a lot). I knew that embarking on raising a child by myself left me no choice but to surround myself with the kind of people I wanted him to know and learn from. But before I even got to that point, I knew I needed a Village of women I could identify with, to help me through the terrifying unknowns of pregnancy; the messy shit no one prints in books, the crazy hormones that make you a Bumpzilla, women to talk about all the baby gear (why does such a tiny human need so much!?), women to get advice from about when the baby arrives, and women to become friends with.
I was very lucky to find such a Village, via the Internet no less! (Thank you meetup.com) But it wasn’t just a Facebook Group of women asking questions, ranting about this or that. These are real people and we got together to walk our growing Bumps every week. What started off as a friendly way to stay in shape and ask the polite questions of “how far along are you” and “what are you having” evolved into the most amazing support network filled with awesome ladies, last minute babysitters, partners in crime, baby best buds and regular happy hour partners. You know you’ve found some kindred spirits when you suggest at a Monday walk, less than a month after giving birth, “you know, next Monday is St Paddy’s Day, anyone want to grab a bite and a beer after the walk” and they ALL nodded in agreement. You should have seen the faces of the waitresses when 18 of us parked our strollers, took over the patio and nursed our hungry babies before ordering a round of Guinness. It was just as awesome this past St, Patrick’s Day when we hosted the second annual “Stroller Pub Crawl” and had another 19 moms and babes join us.
I used to jokingly call these women the Mommy Mafia. Now, I call them friends. And whether they know it or not, they have been a major lifeline for me this past year and a half.