When I started this blog I chose the term Other mother to title it! In our current situation it most often refers to the biological mother of the children in our care. However it is a term that has been a part of my life for a long time! Let me tell you the story!
When we first moved to St. Albert we didn’t know anyone except my parents. Maybe you have made a move and understand what it is like to start over in a community! We only had one vehicle which my hubby drove to work and I was at home with a 2 year old after sending my girls off to Grade one and two on the bus. So I would go walk around the neighbourhood with my son in the wagon and explore. We discovered there was a Coffeebreak group that was going to start meeting weekly nearby and I sucked up my courage and decided to go. There was childcare provided and an opportunity to meet other ladies!
On the appointed day I talked myself out of it about 5 times before I walked out the door, 5 more times on the 15 minute walk over and one last time just before I walked through the door! Fear is a powerful thing to battle!! But I walked through the door and was greeted immediately by a lady who has been a friend since!
That was the beginning of the othermothers although I didn’t know it at the time! Those connections began a support group of moms who have walked with me through the last 18 years!! What began as participation in an organized group, became family events together, camping trips and being the emergency number on school forms for each other! If one of our kids couldn’t reach their Mom in an emergency they could call one of the other mothers who would fill in! It takes a village to raise a child and we became that village! As vehicle and work situations changed we were all available to drive a kid to school, or pick up from camp. There was friendly competition for Cake auctions, and costume collaboration for school projects! We were all there to cheer on Heritage Day projects, musical performances as well as buy Scout Popcorn and run a booth in the neighbourhood penny carnival!
In community we encouraged one anothers strengths and propped up each others weaknesses. We had space to admit our failings, our disappointments and our fears and walk away knowing we were heard and loved with faith to face the next day!
The othermothers have truly been one of the greatest blessings of the last 17years. We meet weekly for coffee and began that tradition because of our girls being involved in a Girls Club. They were dropped off for an hour and a half program one night a week and we were all left with this awkward amount of time to fill. Seemed strange to go back home but barely enough time for errands! So someone said “lets go have coffee and a visit!” and Big Girls Club (Now fondly known as BGC) was born. There were times there was 8-10 ladies that would gather but there have consistently been 3 of us the whole time! We have had ladies join us for a season and then move away, (and move back) we have honorary distance members and the occasional guest!
We have seen each other through life transitions and challenges and I cannot imagine what life would have looked like without them!
If I could give young Mom’s one bit of wisdom I would say “Find your BGC!” Do the work! Be brave! Reach out! Stick it out when it feels tough! It’s worth it! The reality is it’s hard to build, and hard to sustain in the early years! It takes courage to be vulnerable, and self sacrifice to be there when someone else needs an intervention and you don’t want to get off the couch! I look back on the years and see support! Support through illnesses and children’s emergencies, through unemployment and job changes, through sorrows and celebrations! Everything is better together!
I doubt the othermother who’s children I care for would be in the position she is if she had a BGC. They would have been her safety net, but sadly she didn’t have it. In a world where people move around and are often far from family, friends become the lifeline we need! I am blessed with both!
Lots more I could say but…. procrastination!! Time to post and run!
In the midst of the mess