Last spring, after the end of a disastrous relationship with a Mom’s Group, I decided to start my own. However, instead of starting another Mom’s group I wanted something that was more than the last. I wanted something that celebrated not only what was great about being a mother, but also what was great about being a woman.
Growing up we are somehow taught to believe that other girls are competition. We are competing to see who’s thinner, who’s prettier, more popular and who can get the boys. As adults a lot of that doesn’t go away. We push to be “just as good” in our chosen industry. We may have our best friends but keep others at arm’s length. Again we are competing to see who’s thinner, more popular and who can get the men.
You would think that as we become wives and mothers that some of this goes away. And some of it does. But after years of feeling like other women are somehow not to be trusted or are somehow superior to you in one way or another it becomes a chore to “keep up”. Once you can realize that isn’t the way it has to or should be it’s amazing the difference it makes.
I started the group as somewhere for this great group of women that I had become real friends with to meet and band together. I wanted it to be somewhere that could be safe with other women and we could find the support that we need. Being a woman is hard. Being a wife is hard. Being a mother is hard. We need the support of other women to tell us that we’re doing OK. Some people have their mother’s that they can turn to and cry when it all gets to be too much. Not everyone does. And, quite frankly, sometimes you mother is the problem. I wanted there to be safety in numbers and for us to have place where we didn’t have to feel alone.
When I first started Ridge and Valley Women there were only a few of us. A few that understood that a Girls Night Out didn’t necessarily mean heels and make up. Sometimes it meant showing up in your sweats and crying in your margarita because that-fucking-asshole-can’-t-give-me-ten-minutes-to-take-a-shower-and-god-forbid-he-actually-has-to-watch-his-own-children-and-as-matter-of-fact-I-don’t-know-when-I’ll-be-home! Sometimes it’s getting the kids together to play, or having someone show you how to do that awesome craft/recipe/budget/hair-thing that you’re soooo jealous of. It’s having someone to go to when you need help. And when you don’t.
I realized that I had stumbled into something really great when a couple weeks ago one of the gals was having some issues in her pregnancy and her doctor put her on bed rest. I remember being upset and struggling with what to do/say because I’d been there and it sucks. And I’ve been there having little kids and that really sucks. Then one of the other women jumped in and came to the rescue. We got an email saying “hey, we need to help here, she needs us”. So we did. We’ve cooked, we’ve stopped by to tire out a 20 month old, stir-crazy, toddler. We’ve offered comfort and just someone to talk to. I think that this is what my grandmother was talking about when she talked about “fellowship”. I know this is what the pastor at church was talking about when he talked about “grace”.
It feels good to be a part of something so awesome. To be associated with a group of women who so quickly and so generously come together with their time, their resources and their hearts. This is what we need to teach our daughters.
Thank you ladies for being the wonderful women that you are. Thank you for showing that THIS is what having girlfriends should really be all about.