This week I got to sneak away- sans babies!- to St. Tropez, a little cafe in Encinitas. I was meeting an old friend of mine who recently became a mommy just four days after I delivered my second.
Meeting at this delicious French-themed eatery has become a minor tradition between her and I. I’m not even sure how it started, but now whenever I visit the sunny little courtyard where St. Tropez Cafe is, I think of her and epiphanies had over coffee and pastries. I remember meeting her there when I was a very new mommy myself, trying to figure out how in the world I was supposed to be able to sip my latte, nurse my babe and pretend like life was still normal all at the same time. She was patient with me, and gave me very undeserved praise for the balancing act I was attempting. She was doing her best to sympathize with a situation she didn’t understand at all and I loved her for it, despite my small flashes of envy at her yet-untarnished freedom.
That day feels like it happened about four seconds ago in my mind, so it was a bit of a rush to be sitting with her this time- two years later- watching her bounce her own sweet baby on her lap and gushing with flustered mother-love. I was looking at myself two years ago: tired but desperately in love, bewildered but exhilarated in the process, and ravenously hungry (physically and emotionally).
People always talk about the “pregnancy glow,” but I like the “new mommy glow” best. It’s not unlike an unseasoned adventurer who, much to his terror, realizes he has ventured off the plotted path, only to find his mistake leads him to stumble upon a revelation of awesome natural beauty not to be found on the map. As new mommies, we can read 328473 parenting books and still feel like we are winging it, all the time. Planners, beware! New motherhood will break you, but its slow, raw process will somehow, eventually, leave a more quiet confidence in its wake (I’m not there yet, but I’ve felt its ripples).
Amy and her sweet baby girl, Cambria Shiloh (How delicious is that name?!?)
In those two hours, as Amy and I devoured french toast like a last meal and passed the baby back and forth, what I realized was this: We need other mommies.
Maybe this seems obvious to you, but it hasn’t been for me. I am independent to a fault. I would rather read for hours and hours to figure something out on my own than ask someone and risk sounding foolish. Whatever assumptions you might make reading this, it takes a major act of willpower to press
“publish” each and every time because it is so painfully vulnerable to put your heart and flesh into type. There is a word for this; I believe its called pride. I am also fairly certain that motherhood is the route God has chosen to gently pry this from my hands.
I need other mommies. We need other mommies. There is a reason that movies “based on a true story” impact us more powerfully, and it’s the same reason another mommy’s story can offer something more life-giving than all the parenting books combined. I may not agree with the parenting style of every mommy I meet, but I do know there is something surprisingly powerful about hearing simple words like, “I’ve been feeling the same way,” “That scares me too,” and “I totally get it” from another wrangler of babes. We miss out on something big when we shun our tribe for the sake of pride.
That is why, Mommies, regardless of your opinions on TV time / organic foods / breastfeeding / cloth diapers / all manner of parenting shenanigans, I think you are awesome and brave; and I want you in my tribe.
By the way, I highly recommend the Brioche French Toast from St. Tropez. It’s perfect for those in the market for something incredible to eat, or- you know- epiphanies.