Three-time award-winning author Shantelle Bisson was born and raised in Toronto and splits her time between Toronto and her marina that she purchased in 2018, Shantilly's Place, in the Kawartha region of Ontario. Having just launched her third book 'Loving Yourself Without Losing Your Cool' which is structured by Shantelle's own personal omissions -- she…
Motherhood, It all started with a cup of coffee. Well, actually a box of coffee. Like wine, the box is cool.
As a second time mom, I knew how important it was for me to establish mom friends. My sister Carolyn and I had always imagined we would have children but never imagined we would be on maternity leave at the same time. With a five year gap between my first and second it felt a little like being a “new mom” all over, except I knew from experience that one day I would sleep again.
Chatting with some fellow mamas during a “Mommy and Me” sing along, I just wanted to hug them all and say, I promise you’re doing a f *cking rad job. I also wanted to be able to connect with the women on more than just the surface level at circle time. There I was sitting cross legged, clapping my hands, trying to sing, “The wheels on the bus go round and round…how are you?… let’s hang out!…” I wanted to find the kind of moms I could have a running group text with, a network I could message twenty-four hours a day because I knew someone would most likely be awake.
I was longing for deeper conversation about more than just my kid’s names and what snacks they like. The answer is Piper and Quinn, and goldfish crackers, by the way. Sure, my kids are great, but I’m great too. So, I did something totally crazy. Outrageous really. I was a wild woman. I invited them over. All of them. I posted my address on the bulletin board at the community center with a note that said, I’ll be here with coffee and donuts. If you need a friend, come over.
All weekend I wondered if anyone would show up. Tuesday morning, I kinda tidied my kitchen and hit the drive-thru for a box of coffee, and donuts. Then a crazy thing happened. Right on time, a parade of cars rolled down my street and stopped. Thirteen moms with babes and diaper bags in hand, walked in one after the other…and I knew right then, we all needed each other.
Remember the best first date you ever had? That morning was the closest I’d been to a first date in over ten years, and I wondered how to ask these women on a second date. What do I do? Do I text? How long do I wait? I was sweating through my all natural deodorant thinking about it. A little self doubt set in. Did they have fun? Did they like me? Did they like each other? I had to keep reapplying my natural deodorant.
The next week, I channelled some Brene Brown, gave myself the “be brave,” pep talk and hit the drive-thru once again. Not only did the “regulars” show up, they invited their friends. When moms I’d never met before started knocking on my door and stepping out of their comfort zones, just like I did, I was so proud. YES! You go, Mama! And this time my sister Carolyn and her three month old son, Reece came too. We looked at each other and we had all the feels. This was special.
Those early weeks and months after a baby arrives pull you into a world you never quite step out of again. Becoming a parent is like stepping into Narnia; once you’ve walked through that wardrobe you’re changed, even if you do eventually find your way back out.
Coffee Club as we called it then, was a simple idea but what has evolved from it are rich and meaningful relationships that are not simple at all. Meeting every week to be ourselves first and share our mom musings is something that fills us all up. The epiphany for Carolyn and me, as we watched all of our new friends share their stories and chat together over coffee was this…moms need other moms. Women need other women.
We realized The MomBabes was more than just a bunch of women in my living room. This could be a meaningful movement for ALL MOMS looking for something more genuine and real.
This is how the MomBabes community began, but why did we need it? How did we know we had to be brave? How did we know that one’s community can literally make the difference between struggling and surviving?
Three months earlier we had a near death experience. We didn’t die, our Dad did, and we were near. When you hold the hand of a dying person, you are hand in hand with death. You feel it. The wave comes over you, and it tugs you, but you know you’re strong enough to let go while you guide your loved one to the other side. We were wrapped in grief and welcoming babies into the world at the same time.
We don’t often consider grief and loss as part of the process of entering motherhood. The enormous responsibility of parenting can hit hard and sometimes we’re left aching for our former lives. Kinda like our old self died. Nobody talks at the gender reveal parties or baby showers about the sense of loss that can come with having a child. It’s always a celebration but we rarely discuss the, “I’ll never be the same again,” realization.
Parental grief can also rise when you send that child to kindergarten, to college, or become empty nesters. Maybe it’s after a separation of friendship, or divorce, losing your job, or trying to restart your career after being home raising babies. The losses we have felt in 2020 alone feel suffocating.
Many moms don’t acknowledge the full spectrum of their feelings. Especially the less attractive ones. Loss and grief, fear, guilt and shame, even anger. We know, moms feel all the feels, but we also know that one of the best ways to heal is by sharing in a safe community, if we are brave enough to reach out to one.
About the Authors
Christina and Carolyn are Moms, sisters, podcasters, founders of The MomBabes community and authors of their debut book, The MomBabes: A Motherhood Anthology. Co-winners of the World’s okay-est Mom award, Christina and Carolyn are the friends every Mom deserves. They aren’t parenting experts, they’re real women using their personal desires for connection to build a community of women through sharing stories. The sisters keep busy working and wife-ing while chasing their kids and their dreams – all without spilling their coffee.
More from The MomBabes www.themombabes.com and @TheMomBabes
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