On Tuesday I introduced you to Jennifer, a mother in the final stretch of mothering and children in the house. Hindsight is rich with wisdom, and moms of high school and college students serve as that reminder to moms of young children, of how quickly the seasons of parenting change.
Today, I give you Christie– one of the eldest members of mama tribe (not in age, but in terms of years logged.)
Each of my mom friends play a critical role in my wellbeing and sanity when it comes to this mothering business, but hers is one of the most important. She reminds me to take self care seriously. She is the one always to remind me that if I don’t take care of myself, I got nothing to offer anyone else—plain and simple.
While other mamas might be my go-to for how to treat a fever, or toothache, or whatever, Christie is my soul tonic. With an early morning hike before work, or an afternoon quickie at the neighborhood watering hole, she holds that space for me that every mama struggles to find. Not to say that the mother of two doesn’t offer great wisdom for your run-of-the-mill ailments as well, but there are other people that can fill that role.
What I love about our unspoken agreement, is that I don’t have to put on a face for Christie. I can always spit out the unedited version of my raw emotions, and know with certainty that she won’t judge me. Even better, she’ll agree with me, and we’ll commiserate about the injustice of it all. Then we’ll drowned out the ridiculousness of domestic demands with a blood-pumping, heart-lifting, booty-shaking zumba session, or the sea salty lime delisciouness of a margarita. Fun factor. That’s what I can always count on Christie for. And what is all the struggle for, if we don’t have fun along the way?
Last week, I made her sit down with me over cocktails at the newly opened East Side Pub in our small, mountain town.
“What advice would you offer other new moms,” I asked her.
“You’re baby doesn’t give a damn about you,” she lowers her head and looks me dead in the eye for emphasis. You can always count on her to give it to you straight, another quality I love in a friend. “Of course they grow into empathy, but that comes later. Especially in the early months, they just need to survive. And to survive they need you. It’s your job to take care of you, so you can take care of them.”
“And comparison is the thief of joy,” she adds.
“Moms are always the hardest on themselves. We want to do everything for everyone; Be everything for everybody; and that’s unattainable. It’s exhausting. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to everyone else. Every single house on the block is having their stuff. You won’t see it. But trust me. You’ll compare all your faults to another women’s strengths. You have to just stop that bullshit in its tracks.”
See, told you she was wise.
As we sipped our drinks, an attractive, white-haired, tattooed woman in a tight, leather biker vest, hollered over about her 35 year old son. About how she still mothers him—that the job truly never ends. And yet, she wouldn’t have it any other way, she loved being a mother. We raised our glasses to toast the truth. Wisdom can truly be found anywhere.
Mother to a now 9-year-old and a 15-year-old, Christie took the plunge into motherhood well before me. When I was still a ridiculously self-absorbed late 20-something, she was deep in the trenches of caring for a new life. Sometimes I think she did me a disservice, she made it look so easy.
One of my favorite memories of her as a mother took place one blazing, July day at High Sierra Music Festival that takes place in our hometown every year. She was in the final days of her pregnancy with her now 9-year-old son Hayden. Festival goers prancing in all directions, mostly naked bodies covered scantily in glitters and feathers—Christie sat resting her surely swollen feet, in her maternity sun dress, looking like quite possibly the cutest pregnant woman ever. A friend and I squealed in delight and rushed over to say hello and ask when that baby was coming.
“Any day now,” she sighed.
We then proceeded to chat about this band and that, and just before we turned to leave, she pointed to her water bottle which had fallen under the bench, “Could you get that for me, please,” she asked with the slightest hint of desperation. To a childless 20-something, she look like she had it all together. It wouldn’t be until years later, I would understand what a monumental movement is required to retrieve something from the floor in the final stages of child bearing.
When my time did come to experience every twinge, every electric jolt of sciatica and my nipples were literally sucked raw, Christie never patronized or gave that righteous “I told you so” look. Nope. She always validated whatever whining I needed to unload. Pure gold to a new mom.
Christie and family. Aren’t they adorable?
Mama and son.
On this week leading up to mothers day, my wish for you, is that you have a Christie in your life that not reminds you,
“If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
We laugh, but it’s true. A friend that loves you and your family, but reminds you that as the glue that holds the family together, time for you is a must, not a luxury.
Stick around, I’ve got more of favorite mama wisdom coming for you the rest of this week!