We moved into our neighborhood a little over 14 years ago. I was elbow deep into the throws of motherhood with a 17 month old and a 6 week old. There was no air. My life was consumed with mothering. There was no time for friends, no time for anything but surviving. It brought unimaginable joys, but for me these were challenging times.
It took me years to really get out from under my “Baby Rock”. Our last child came 3 years later when my oldest was in Kindergarten. Having a child in school lifted the rock of isolation for us. I began meeting other moms who were in the same season of life as I. There was a sisterhood built during these years with women who understood what it was like to be a stay-at-home mom.
I want to be clear that I am in no way drawing a line dividing working moms versus non-working moms. Each side comes with its own glories and punishments. But all I know is what I went through staying home. That choice was made for me as our first child was born requiring a lot of medical attention. So I hung up my blazers and heels in exchange for jeans and t-shirts undoubtedly stained courtesy of my beloved littles.
Now that my oldest is 15 and my youngest is 11, I am getting to watch the most remarkable and unexpected renaissance as the women that I raised our children with are finding their way to reclaiming their identities. No longer just so-and-so’s mom, or Mrs. Whatever, these smart, talented, fine women are redefining who they are and going after dreams that they probably couldn’t have imagined a decade ago.
It’s almost like watching a garden fill in and bloom. I’m watching the rebirth of souls in the form of gainful employment, entrepreneurialism, and continuing education. These women who I watched sometimes secretly mourn their former lives while raising their children, are now taking brave steps to reshape and take back their own lives.
Whether it’s as a baker, a real estate agent, a teacher, a philanthropist, or an author (that’s me!), these women are dusting off their confidence and blooming in their new roles. I couldn’t be prouder watching each of them on their own paths of growth. I couldn’t be more excited at the examples they are for their own children and for younger generations of new mothers. And I couldn’t be more amazed at the energy and sheer determination of the phoenixes that I call my friends.
Although we do not get to spend as much time together because of our crazy work/life balancing acts that we are negotiating, I am so grateful to have had the company and support of this tribe. I am excited for each and all of their new adventures, and I am honored to watch them grow into their new spectacular selves. Cheers ladies! Here’s to you, your bravery, your sacrifice, and the new you. We held hands through child rearing. Let us now hold hands through raising teenagers and pursuing our own dreams separately, but together.