What Every Mother Needs Is Another Mother To Talk To: This was the theme behind “MEET OTHER MOTHERS”, a mother’s group I began way back in the early 1980’s when my two youngest were babies. I had recently moved across country from CA to NJ in the dead of winter with my two-year-old toddler, Jill and new-born son, Alan in tow. I knew no one in the community and felt completely isolated and alone; actually “trapped” was more like it. At least in CA I had the opportunity to step outside my front door and leisurely and comfortably stroll the two of them to a park down the street. There I found other adults with whom to, if not talk, at least to be in the company of.
Suddenly I found myself transformed to a place where weather conditions were deplorable. I mean who in his right mind chooses to hunker on down in sub-zero temperatures, plagued to brave the elements, attempting to avoid knee deep snow drifts, and struggling to bundle up one and all in layer upon layer of outerwear? Ouch!!! I felt I had been banished to a territory devoid of civilized existence.
Thus, MEET OTHER MOTHERS was born to help lonely and isolated mothers like myself connect. One of the first contenders to enroll was a woman named Paula. She arrived with little Ryan attached to her hip, searching for another sane adult with whom to commiserate. Paula and I became fast friends and saw eye to eye regarding managing the transition from single, working, rational female to frenzied, challenged zombie. We had once described ourselves as balanced, fun-loving, organized career women and abruptly found ourselves in a state of disarray and utter frustration and confusion. We needed each other to bolster up our spirits, our confidence, our parenting skills, and our sanity.
As it turned out, we discovered we were one of many who needed others mothers with whom to identify. As numbers joining the group grew, I realized we needed to expand our facilities. It was at this point that Paula and I decided to partner to provide a much needed service for others like ourselves.
Over the years, even after the group disbanded, Paula and I remained close friends, raising our children together and going through all the emotional highs and lows that the demanding challenge of mothering required. As time progressed and our children grew, we each returned to our individual careers and our friendship waned somewhat. I went through a divorce and our lifestyles took separate directions. And then I moved out of state, and our needs to share like experiences diminished. We continued to email each other and share our lives on an infrequent basis. However, our friendship was now different as a result of our changed circumstances.
Four years ago I learned that Paula’s husband Benjamin was diagnosed with cancer. My heart sank. We continued our contact per usual but due to the fact we had drifted apart I was not privy to confidential, intimate information. So it was a great shock when I learned the other day of Benjamin’s passing. I cried and wept for Paula and her family remembering all the good family times we had shared, the joys of raising the kids together, and the intimate secrets Paula and I had shared with each other way back then. And I grieved the loss of not only Paula’s husband, but of those precious days when health was taken for granted and life went on per usual and rather innocently.
I recalled certain incidents that encouraged Paula and me to engage in various tete-a-tetes and intimacies; the day we were so engrossed in conversation, we neglected to realize that in the next room our two year old boys had decided to decorate the den walls with crayon drawings, dump a couple of potted plants on the carpet, and smear dirty handprints on the sofa. Once recognized, Paula and I raced against time to right the wrong, paint the walls, shampoo the carpet, and wash the sofa before Benjamin was due to return home from work. I remembered the many conversations Paula and I held about Benjamin’s diligent work ethics, the downfall of which were that he was not always home to help Paula with the discipline of the boys; how the introduction of children into our families had changed the dynamics between us and our spouses. We discussed common challenges faced by many young families such as trying to please all the relatives during the holidays, and dealing with extended families. Comparably speaking, how paramount such negatives seemed back then, how relatively minor today.
Both of Paula and Benjamin’s sons are now engaged, due to marry this summer. The trials and tribulations of raising these two boys are over, and all the work involved has paid off. They have turned out to be delightful, conscientious, independent, and self-reliant hard workers upholding the positive values they have been taught. It is now their turn to carry on; to raise their children, to provide for them, and to uphold the family name, ideals, and traditions. The torch has been passed.
As for Paula and me, I think we have come to realize, now more than ever, the importance of the valuable foundation we laid all those years ago. No matter our age, our present circumstances, or where our separate paths may have taken us, we share a common bond. We will always remain special friends and know that come what may, we will always have each other upon whom to rely. Because way back then we realized the importance and took advantage of having Another Mother To Talk To.