It Takes a Village… Not to Mention Wine and Coffee

I’ve always known and hoped that I would be a mom. When I was in Kindergarten, we had a “Star of the Week” program where the star would be interviewed. One of the questions in the interview was “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My immediate answer, firmly stated without any hesitation? “A Mommy.”

What I didn’t know when I was in kindergarten was how hard being a mom can be. My mom made it look so easy. It wasn’t until friends of mine started having kids and then I had kids of my own that I began to understand that being a mom is not all singing, arts and crafts, park playing and sprinkler splashing. From the moment a new baby comes into your life, your role on earth changes and you soon discover that you can’t do it well on your own. It truly does take a village.

Luckily, I have a pretty awesome village… full of great friends and family who truly care about the well being of my kids. Well, and the well being of me too. Some of the best advice from my village has been…

My friend Amy, a week before Jacob was due, told me to skip the pretty PJ’s in the hospital and to opt for either just the standard gown or pajamas you don’t care about getting ruined. “You’re just going to be a big, fat, fluidy mess.”

My friend Ami, when I came to her crying because all the parenting magazines were telling me I was doing everything wrong. “Kris… you have great instincts, but on this one, I don’t get it. If you don’t like what the Parenting magazines are telling you to do, then stop reading the Parenting magazines!” I haven’t picked up one since.

Ami also told me that the first 8 weeks of parenting are a blurry, hormonal hell… something no one dared tell me before. You know what? Especially with the first one, she was right.

My sister, when I called after a rough transition from a money making, working professional to a one income family. “There were times when I dug through the couch cushions to gather up loose change to get milk at the store for the kids. Yes, taking a hit in the bank account is hard, but God tends to provide. What you are doing is worthwhile… the most important job you’ll ever have. No salary, even 10 times the amount you were making, could make up for the work you are doing as a mom.”

My own mom, whenever I call frustrated by parenting… “Kristen… go take a Midol and call me tomorrow. Everything will be fine.”

My friend Sandy, when I mentioned that Nick and I rarely have date nights… “For your kids, you need to invest in your marriage in the exact same way you would your 401K. It’s non-negotiable. Take money from your paycheck and put in a monthly date night fund. Keeping your marriage romantic and alive is the best thing you can do for your kids.”

My friend, Kristen… also a mother of 4… “Now is when you need to put your super woman cape away and start asking for help. People want to help… stop trying to be the hero and let your friends and those who love you help you when you need it!”

My closest friends on the block, when they see me outside, dragging a screaming toddler through the streets to take the others to school… suddenly that morning a Starbucks shows up on my porch or that evening a bottle of wine appears with 2 wine glasses and a listening ear.

I have a wonderful village… and it is because of them that my kids are turning out to be the special, young people they are. The advice of my friends and family, the offers to lend a hand, the straight forward truths they aren’t afraid to share… all of that is something I appreciate more than words could ever express.

Take a moment, like I did, and share an unexpected card with your friends to say thank you. They may not even remember what they’ve said to impact the way you parent, but letting them know you remember will mean the world. Oh… and drop by with wine or coffee. After all, it’s important to keep your village nice and fueled.

Disclosure: I am honored to be a 2012 paid brand ambassador for Hallmark Life is a Special Occasion. All opinions expressed are my own. For special discounts, product offerings and news about Hallmark, feel free to sign up for their newsletter.

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  1. says

    What a beautiful post. :) Good to know I’m not the only one who still buy and write cards to my friends and family for special occasion, or for no reason at all. I think taking the time to write someone a card that they can actually hold in their hands is priceless.

    • says

      You’ll have such fun with your new baby, Jen… and knowing you, I am sure your friends are just as awesome as you are, so you’ll have lots of loving support!

  2. says

    Hallmark is lucky to have you as an ambassador. This sorta makes me want to run out and buy all these cards immediately. Cant tell you how much I love this post!!

    • says

      I feel very blessed to work with such a great company. They challenge me to be more thoughtful, write about things that are more meaningful, and to appreciate all those little moments.

      Thanks for your kind comment!

  3. Lisa says

    Beautiful post (squee, newborn + mommy pic!)! I love your sister’s advice, as well as your mom’s about popping a Midol (um, that’s strange, I’ve been told that a time or two or … hey, who’s counting?)
    Anyhoo … your village people rock, as do you! :)

  4. Pat Wogan says

    Ah, Kristen, you do have a good village…the one in your neighborhood being all the more important because family is so far away! You are doing a great job! I’m honored that you mentioned me as part of your village. Love you. Mom (And the advice I gave sounds just like the advice my Mom gave me.)

  5. says

    What a fabulous post! Sometimes we don’t realize just how big our “village” is until we look back and take a moment. You have some amazing people in your world!

  6. says

    The photo of you is so precious and the words, oh, each and every one touched my heart. I was a complete mess when I gave birth, thousands of miles away from my mom and sister, with no one to call in the middle of the night.
    Your village sounds like the perfect place to raise kids!

    • says

      Being so far away from people when you are in such a vulnerable state of mind has got to be so hard. I always had my mom or mil stay with me for a week after the baby, but I remember that feeling when my husband went back to work and all the help went away… now what? It was overwhelming, to say the least!

      Thanks for the nice comments!

  7. says

    I enjoyed this so much — it brought back lots of memories of similar feelings. I think it was most tough when I had my second — my first wasn’t quite 18 mos. and I had just moved. Plus, I was the first of my friends to have kids, so was without the support of someone close who “got it.” Whoa.

    You do have quite the village! Seeing the cards also reminds me how much I used to enjoy writing a real note and sending it through the mail. It’s nice to get them, too.

    • says

      Thank you, Kelly! My first two were 22 months apart and I remembered being overwhelmed by that. I can’t imagine 18 months and then no one around who had blazed the trail before you. That’s a lot to deal with!

      I appreciate your kind comment. I’m lucky to be surrounded by great people, indeed!

  8. says

    Beautiful!!! Even now, with 3 teens and 1 tween, asking for help is still one of the hardest thing for me to do. Then again, if someone offers…well…YES, PLEASE and THANK YOU!!!

    • says

      It is hard… I always think “I got myself into this mess…why should I burden other people with it”. But, people love to help… you just have to be bold enough to ASK.

  9. says

    TOTALLY wants to make me run out and buy Hallmark cards! Going now to see if there is a store here that carries them!

    It DOES take a village — thanks for the reminder to say thank you to our personal village of people!

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