We Stand Together

Written by Contributing Author Jenna Vela

motherhood interview

There was a day last week where my morning was so hectic that it pretty much took my breath away. My oldest is out the door just in time to catch her bus, and she definitely left with a smear of peanut butter on her cheek. As I’m getting my other two into the car my 2-year-old has the blowout of the century. Perfect. The 4-year-old is having a meltdown because her favorite dress is dirty and she hates the pants she’s wearing. Alas, there’s poop everywhere and we’re ten minutes late but finally get on the road. In the midst of all of this, I realize that I forgot to eat breakfast. Everything intensifies in those moments… have you noticed that? The hunger hit me so fast that I reached back behind me and searched the floor to see what I could find. “Mom, wait! Those french fries are super old and gross and probably smell like old socks,” my Annie says. I agree with her and eat them anyway.

Being a mom is funny like that. It’s like the best thing in the world but sometimes it’s also the worst thing in the world. Motherhood is up and down and insane and beautiful and makes you want to rip your hair out and hide in your closet, but also makes you cry the ugly happy cry because you’re so damn grateful.

At the end of the day there is one thing that we all share through this journey of madness: LOVE. Love for our children. Love for our little families. In my opinion though, one of the most important types of love is the love that we have for each other.

I go to the YMCA five to six days a week. I drop my kids off in the childcare (which they happen to love, thank goodness), and I take a little time to better myself. I stretch, I breathe, I turn on music, grab my best friend and we get to work. We have two hours to kill it together, and you better believe we make the most of it. A lot of times we end up laughing and looking like idiots, and other times we barely talk because we are focused on the work we came to do. Lately, I’ve been noticing other moms doing the same thing. They’re looking straight into the mirror and they are sweating, focusing, and working hard. We are spread throughout the gym—some running on the treadmill, some coming and going from yoga, some walking around looking a little weary on what to do next.

It hit me the other day that this gym of random, quiet mothers is kind of like a big secret melting pot of love. We smile as we pass each other. We stop and say, “You’re lookin’ good, mama.” We don’t know each other personally, but we’ve become comrades here in our place of self-betterment. Eventually we learn each other’s names, maybe how many kids we have… We congratulate each other on the little victories while we pass by, like busting out three sets of heavy curls even though we only got a couple hours of sleep the night before. We hardly know each other, but we take care of one another. Even a simple “Hey friend” can make all the difference.

Slowly, but very steadily and without any focused effort, a tiny community of support, encouragement, laughter, and love is created. And seriously, that’s what I need as a mom. I need to feel love, encouragement, and some good old solidarity from other women who are in the trenches with me. I’ll forever appreciate a quick glance across the room followed by a smile and a strong nod, and all of a sudden I feel like I can conquer anything. That’s what we are supposed to do as women… we rally, we help each other, we listen, we cry together, laugh at inappropriate things together, take care of each other’s kids, and ultimately without even knowing it, we end up taking care of each other. It’s all because we are filled with that love that stems from being a mom…and spreading it around to others in our same boat is one of the most selfless acts we can do.

You are beautiful, smart, hardworking, kind, patient, and a million other things, my fellow mothers. I support you. I applaud you. I salute you.

Most importantly, I love you.
Have a couple old french fries on me and let’s do this.