Nine years ago my son was born. The next day my husband went back to work. We were young, living paycheck to paycheck and couldn’t afford for him to “take time off”. My mom visited for a week and returned to back to her life in Florida. One week later, I found myself home alone in the sweltering valley heat of LA with a newborn that wouldn’t latch and I was a mess. It was a “hot juicy” mess. I had no clue what I was doing and all of my well-meaning friends couldn’t help because they were childless and preoccupied climbing the corporate ladder. Sure they stopped by, but they left just as swiftly and made comments like, I don’t know how you do it!
At the time I felt like the only woman in LA who just had a baby. Of course, that wasn’t true, but in my immediate world, I literally was the ONLY woman I knew who had a baby.
For the next couple of months, the days were excruciatingly long and interaction with adults outside of a grocery run or a Dr. apt was scarce. I was pumping every three hours and feeling lonely. Very lonely. I couldn’t connect with my single friends anymore. My husband was well-meaning, but little to no real help. The mommy struggle was real. Lonely and Real. One day, at a local event, I saw a group of beautiful Black Mothers chatting and laughing as their kiddies played within arms reach. I thought to myself what in the perfect unicorn world is this?
Out of desperation and astonishment I mustered up enough courage to go up to them and basically said, “I want in”!
To my surprise, they were friendly, open and all apart of a “Mommy Group”. They invited me to their next play-date and it was like I had died and gone to mommy heaven. For the first time, I could talk freely about poop and breastfeeding or babysitters, nannies, pre-schools, feeling exhausted and not feeling like I had to censor myself.
Over time I continued to attend play dates and eventually joined MOCHA MOMS INC. We’re African American moms but that similarity is about it. Our village has moms who are single, married, divorced, widowed, gay, working, stay at home, you name it. They’re moms who make peanut butter from scratch and gluten, sugar, processed free and then there are moms who haven’t turned on their stove since last Thanksgiving. There are moms who have disposable income and others who.... well... who don’t. You get the picture. It’s an eclectic motley crew of women who are united by one thing, MOTHERHOOD.
I love the fact that I can converse with so many different moms. I’ve learned so much from each of them and my definition of motherhood has been challenged in the best possible way. The best part of being in MOCHA MOMS is that our kids are growing up together as friends. Like so many people in LA our extended family is in another state. I’ve known these women for almost a decade and they’re my “framily”. My son has friends that he’s known since before he could talk.
With the birth of my daughter, I’m comforted with a network of moms who support me every step of the way. They even brought me dinner everyday for a week after my daughter was born. I was able to score the best hand me down clothes and shoes a mom could ask for.
You often hear the phrase, “It takes a Village to raise a child” but I firmly believe that the “village” is meant to uplift us moms just as much as our children.