Somewhere right now there’s another mom that needs to read this. Somewhere there is a brand new mom, a mom that just moved to a new city or just a mom feeling isolated. If you’re this mom, I know you…once upon a time I was you.
Once upon a time I was a full time working woman. I worked for a hydraulics company as a corporate purchasing agent for 11 years, a company that was primarily staffed with male counterparts. I was not surrounded by women, in fact in my office I was the only woman there. I had no problem with this, the guys I worked with were great fellas. This being said I spent my days in a unique situation. It could be isolating being the only female.
In that 11th year, I found out another male would be joining the crew although I didn’t know he would be a male at the time. I discovered I was pregnant, we were both (my husband and I) thrilled to discover this. Within that same month I would also discover my office will be closing. To make a long story short we knew that I would be staying at home the baby when the time came, that’s what we both wanted. My staying at home would come earlier than planned and start during my pregnancy. Nine months, every pregnancy books ever written read, many pregnancy cravings later a beautiful baby boy joined our family. We had just moved into a new rental house and I had spent time a lot of time nesting and preparing for him to arrive in this new home. Once he did I realized that nothing can really prepare you for being a first-time parent. Nothing. There is no book that can fully prepare you for what it will really be like.
I spent the next year and a half learning the ropes of motherhood. It could also be isolating-particularly in the winter time in Indiana when you didn’t really get out much. My husband traveled as part of his work and sometimes I would be alone in the house for several days with a small baby and a dog. I would watch the snow pile up outside knowing I wasn’t going anywhere!!
My friends were full time working women like I had been and weren’t available during the day to hang out. I literally did not have one friend who stayed at home. There were no mom’s clubs in my town or new mom meet up’s to join. It was just me trying to carve my way into my new mommy life. Sometimes when my husband got home from work I tried not to spring right on him when he walked in the door. I think I was aching for a grown-up conversation!
When my son was 18 months old we bought a big 100 year old historic house on the other side of town that we fell in love with at first sight. The day we moved in (literally the day) we found out we would be having another baby join our family. I kept busy every day raising my son and growing my belly. Trips to the playground, walks in the neighborhood pushing his stroller, baby music classes and nap times. One day on our regular library trip for story time fate would bring me my friend twin. On this day by chance I met another woman just like myself. Her child was the same age as mine and she was also pregnant with her second child. We met, got to talking and that was that! The friendship was pretty well sealed on that day. Turned out that she only lived two streets away from me as well! This was the day I met Erica.
To say that I needed Erica at that time in my life would be completely accurate. Erica removed the isolation I had been feeling because we were in this thing together. This journey of motherhood, stay at home motherhood, she understood completely. She was as new to it as I was! I define twin friend as a friend who’s going through exactly what you are, when you are. I also define it as someone who gets you, who always belonged in your life. In hindsight I know that there was an Erica sized hole in my life before meeting her.
I didn’t go looking for a friend, far from it. I was convinced at that point that this was just the path that I was meant to walk…solo during the day and coupled when work ended for my husband. Something was missing but what?? I was enjoying being a full-time parent to my son even with the challenges that come with it…and I was busy! Babies definitely keep us busy! I would spend the next few years with Erica for company and for that I am eternally grateful, she was what had been missing and I didn’t know it before I meet her.
We watched our kids grow together. We were always in the exact same place in our motherhood so we could talk about everything from teething to potty training to those dreaded terrible 2’s (and 3’s..the 3’s are hard too). We shared our triumphs and flops, we compared notes and shared any hacks that we discovered to help things along. Sometimes as a new mom it is such a relief to hear that something you’re wondering about is normal from another mom! This can sometimes be priceless!
We met up at playgrounds, had many, many playdates, and drank countless cups of coffee at each other’s tables. We celebrated birthdays together, trick or treated at each other’s houses, sat beside little kiddie pools in the heat of summer while the kids cooled off and we sweated to death! We learned to coupon together and and loved to share how much we saved in our shopping trip with each other. We were each other’s sounding board and sanity saver on certain days. I smile deeply when I think about these years that we spent in each other’s company!
I have laughed and cried with this woman and I am bonded with her in a way that defies description. She and I were in the trenches together and have been there in thick and thin. She was my twin in a time when I needed to know that I wasn’t alone in my motherhood! She is my twin in so many ways still! Our journeys have continued to overlap in each new phase we enter of parenting. I still compare notes with Erica and ask her if she is going through it too.
I want to say for the record that I could not have asked for a better person to be on this journey with than Erica. Erica is one of the most generous, good hearted and inspirational women I’ve been blessed with in my life. She continues to inspire me with her grace and her giving nature. My soul is always better after talking to her and the mutual humor and support are guaranteed. I no longer live two streets away from her and I miss her so! We now have many states that separate us. My family moved across country five years ago and one of the toughest things about moving was saying goodbye to Erica. She and I had fit perfectly into each other’s lives and I hated to lose our time together.
The connection continues from across the country, it is different but it is there. We still have our talks, hopefully while the kids are at school so we can actually talk. I have watched her grow into herself even more over these last few years of being away. She is raising three wonderful children beautifully. She is a wonderful wife to her husband and she is a loving daughter and sister. She is also an amazing friend..one of the best out there!! I’m going to see her in a couple of weeks and I truly can’t wait to have coffee with her again! It’s been two years since I’ve seen her and I’m so deeply excited to see my pal! What I know is that when I see her and her kids it will be as if no time has passed since our last play date, that is how it has always been with this family we adore.
I tell you the story about my brilliant Erica because somewhere out there there is a mom who is in the same place that I was. Somewhere there is a mom who’s feeling isolated-who hasn’t met her Erica yet. I want you to know that I understand where you are. You’re not unhappy per se, you’re doing your mom thing to the best of your ability, you smile, you laugh and your heart is growing each day of being a mother to your littles. You might be doing your best to figure out what being a stay at home mom means. You’re doing your best to run the house and to be a present wife. You’re connecting with your friends who work sporadically but you enjoy it when you do. You probably haven’t showered as much as you would like to or eaten a full meal in one go. Your whole world probably revolves around your young little one or your young little ones. Maybe you don’t even realize that you’re lonely or that something is missing. Maybe you’re too busy or tired or overwhelmed to have had a moment to sit and think about it.
If that moment comes and you feel lonely-I get it! I want to give you the hope and reassurance to know that your own personal Erica is out there. She might be someone that you meet on parent’s night in your child’s classroom. She might be sitting next to you at the hair salon. She might accidentally get your order at Starbucks or is in the next aisle at Target. They’re loads of other places that she might be. If she’s your friend twin rest assured that she’s going to all the same places that you are. Know that someday your paths will cross. You will feel that click, that click that comes when you meet somebody who you are meant to. I wish moms talked more openly about these moments of isolation but I feel it’s important to because it happens to everybody at one time or another. Even in these times that are temporary it is important to remember they are not forever.
For those of you who’ve already met your Erica I’m so happy for you! Our mom friends…well each mom friend I have I am SO grateful for. Each woman that I have chanced upon that has become part of my tribe is a gift. Our mom tribes should be celebrated! There’s a quote that says find your tribe and love them hard, this could not be more true. There is a tribe for every woman I believe, these women that we can’t live without for all of their own individual reasons. Each friend brings her own brand of specialness to our life, each friend has her own special place in our hearts. Whether she’s your twin or not-if your life is better because of her that’s what it’s all about.
(She always makes me smile! Love you Erica)
So today I hope you’ll celebrate friendship with me. The friendships that we have and the friendships that are yet to come. Give one of your friends an extra hug today. Give her an extra compliment. Give her an entire blog post dedicated to her because she deserves it. Well maybe that’ll just be my thing today… compliments and coffee work too ladies. I hope after reading this you feel inspired in your friendships. I hope that you are feeling an extra sense of gratitude or inspiration.
I salute all the “Erica’s” out there but I especially salute one in particular today, my Erica. Thank you, thank you my friend! Thank you for being you! I will always think of you whenever I’m in the library! I will always be grateful that fate brought us together that day! Janet
P.s. Today is Erica’s birthday so in honor of that…go have coffee with a friend or call a friend and tell her how awesome she is!! Also feel free to score me some extra bonus friend points and wish Erica a Happy Birthday by commenting here! 😊