I belong to, arguably the oldest union in the world, ‘The United Federation of Moms.”
I was issued my card 13 years ago when I had my first child. I held my beautiful baby boy in my arms and became a proud member.
Whenever I’m facing a particular pesky parenting problem with one of my children, I fall back on the safety of my fellow members.
Mom: Why can’t I have ice cream for breakfast? Why can’t I jump off my bunk bed into 20 pillows? Why can’t I go without my hat and scarf during a blizzard?
I have found the quickest answer to be, “It’s against union rules.” Believe it or not, this works most of the time.
I found my relationship with other mothers to be vital to my sanity as well as my parenting.
Who but another mother knows what it feels like to love somebody so much you feel like your heart is going to explode?
Or be driven so crazy by the same child that you find yourself singing “brush your teeth and go to bed” to the tune of “Jingle Bells,” just because you’re getting tired of your own voice and you need a little variety.
When I had my first child, Tom, we had recently moved to Queens from Manhattan, and I found myself a little isolated, caught between the world I knew and a world I hadn’t completely accepted.
I retired from my office job and found myself alone and lonely. The long hours my husband worked seemed endless now that I was by myself with my wonderful, but completely baffling, baby.
I needed friends.
I often joked that I felt like a single woman cruising the bars when I would go out searching for mom friends. I would walk through my neighborhood in Queens looking for women pushing strollers.
I went to Dunkin’ Donuts so often in that first year that the people behind the counter bought my son a Christmas gift. He still has the stuffed bear!
I still remember the day I met Debbie. She was walking to Dunkin’ Donuts, and I was on my way home. We exchanged numbers and a friendship was born. Many cups of coffee were drunk quieting and entertaining babies.
Soon after I met Debbie, we met a few other moms and formed a mothers’group. Our union local was born!
We cheered each milestone our children reached and worried when there was a problem. We saw each other through sleepless nights, trips to emergency rooms, speech delays, and the Terrible Twos.
The other day I was looking over some pictures from Tom’s first birthday party, and there we all were. A group of tired, but very happy moms. We were sitting in my basement that was decorated with Blues Clues balloons, holding our babies, and feeding them their first tastes of pizza and cake.
Eventually we moved from our house in Queens. It was really hard for both me and a two-year-old Tom to leave the safety of our friends who had become so important to us.
But time moved on, and so did our friends. As our families got bigger with more children and our time started to be structured around preschool and other activities, time together got less and less. New friendships were made, and new alliances were formed.
But the lessons I learned and the memories I have from that very sweet time in my life will stay with me forever.
I needed those women to get me through the baby and toddler years, just like I need the friends I have today that see me through middle school, homework, and cases of bad attitudes.
I am a far better mother because of my mommy friendships.
And, a very proud member of the United Federation of Moms.
January 12th marked the first anniversary of this site. Thank you for spending a few minutes each week reading about my crazy life with my possessed dishwasher. It means more to me than you will ever know.
See you Sunday.
Rebel Sweetheart says
Happy Anniversary, dishwasher! And of course, to you, Kathy! 😀
Thank you very much, of course I will pass on your good wishes to the crazed appliance!! Lol!!
Spilled Milkshake says
Happy Anniversary!! Mommy friendships are the best, aren’t they?
Thank you my dear friend!! Mommy friendships are great, and I think so important to moms. Especially if you are a stay-at-home-mom. Thanks for being such a great blogging friend! xo
Diane - It's All Good Until You Burn Dinner says
Great post. I love how we have certain friends for certain times of our lives. Some friends come and go, but some are there forever.
Thanks for blacking out yesterday, too. I didn’t blackout but ran a post called “SOPA in a Nutshell” to give people who may not understand parts of the act a better understanding.
Diane, it is funny how some people come into our lives at the right time and then do seem to just drift out only to be replaced by a new set of people for a new chapter.
Thanks for the support regarding blacking out yesterday. I’m glad you posted something about it on your site yesterday, it’s important for us to know what is going on in our own “backyard”. Thanks so much for your visit!
I enjoyed reading your post! I was one of the first in my group to have a child so I didn’t really have a lot of friends to talk to about the ups and downs of parenting. At least now some of my friends are catching up and I love talking to them about mom stuff.
Anne, it must be tough when you are the first in your group to have kids. I was the first of my sisters to have kids and it’s funny to watch my sisters go through some of the same things I have. I remember when my one sister and I were going through potty training our kids, and my sister who at the time had no children would tell us we waited too long and could just not understand what all the fuss was about. Now she has a three year old and now knows what all the fuss is about!! Lol! Thanks so much for dropping by!!
Standing for Something says
Kathy~ This is SO true. I often contemplate the same thing–how grateful I am for friendships with other mothers. I would be lost without someone to vent, laugh, cry and just get away with. Friends are blessing like no other, especially during those trying and isolating first years….and beyond. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks so much for commenting! I was surprised by just how much I needed my mom friends, especially in those first few years. You are right, it can be so isolating at times in the beginning. I’m very lucky that my husband is my best friend, but as much as he may try to understand, there is nothing like someone who is in the exact trench you are to make you feel better!! Thanks again for stopping by! xo
Friends are an amazing thing. We certainly appreciate them more when we or they have moved on. My first year after we moved away from friends, I went to Wal-Mart just to get out and move around. I bet I went 5-6 times a week!
Liz that’s funny about Wal-Mart, I think Wal-Mart, Dunkin Dougnuts, Startbuck, Target, and some of the other stores get a lot of traffic from mom’s just trying to connect to the world! I don’t think we were really meant to be so isolated from each other. Liz I wanted to thank you so much for your support of me and the dishwasher, you were my very first follower here!! Love you!!
Elisabeth Hirsch says
You are an amazing mother AND friend :0)
I’m still in the toddler years–I have a couple sweet friends in particuliar who keep me sane lol 😉
Thank you so much Elisabeth, right back to you!!! xo
Michele Aguilar says
LOVED!!! A couple of my friends and I all had babies within months of each other. That helped a lot because we all went through similar things one right after the other so we were really able to help each other out. Thanks for sharing again!
You were so lucky to get to go through motherhood with your friends! My sister and her best friend have had both their children at around the same time and it’s so cute to see their kids develop such a strong friendship as well. Thanks so much for visiting! xo
Rebecca Hawkes says
Love it! “It’s against union rules.” Why didn’t I ever think of that answer!?
I had a Mommy Group (women I met during a prenatal exercise class) … such an amazing support. I even had to call one of them once in the middle of the night when I ended up in the emergency room and needed someone to take care of Mackenzie! (My husband was away on a business trip.)
Anyway, great post!
Rebecca the “It’s against union rules” really works too! Lol!!
Mommy friends are really an asset. Looking back I remember that since my mom did not have family close by it was her friends that helped her out, we stayed with “Aunt Patsy” a girlfriend of my mothers when my youngest sister was born, and her son stayed with us when her son was born. We need each other, as I said in response to Liz I really don’t think we were meant to be so isolated.
Thanks for your ongoing support! xo
Michelle @Special Mom Space says
Man that would have never worked for me! Well when my daughter was younger it wouldn’t have worked, She would have just said, “Well lets make up some new rules!” lol The thing with having a special needs kid (my CJ) is he never questions me…that’s because he can’t talk though lol. Yes I can laugh at my situation. Better than sitting around moping about it
Michelle, I have to say the kids never doubted me about the union thing, I think it just stunned them!
I knew I loved you! I laugh at our life too! xo
Mommy LaDy Club says
Kathy, That is classic…”against union rules”…love it! How neat that you have this group. I never really had a group as a step-mom, and wasn’t on the blogosphere either. It would have been nice.
Courtney I don’t think I could have survived staying home if I didn’t have those early mommy friends!! It must have been hard being a step-mom and not having a group to connect to. The blogosphere is great for that, isn’t it? Thanks for being such a great blogging friend!!! xo
I love this idea! Wish I had a union of mommies near me. I do have some co-workers with children, so we get to exchange parenting stories with each other. Whenever my son asks why he can’t do something, I tell him because his pediatrician says so. For some reason, she has clout in his mind, so he never questions it again. It’s crazy!
Great idea Laura, I never thought of that one!! You are one smart mommy!! xo
Karen Dawkins says
Cute post. I’ve been mulling over similar thoughts. Where would I be without other moms to walk with me? But now I’m off to be MOMMY and bowl with my sweetie! 🙂
Thanks so much for dropping by Karen! Hope you had fun bowling!! xo
Ah yes, the United Federation of Moms! I remember it well. Those times in life when you really do need a federation behind you to lean on for support. This is such a great post! So glad you have a network of moms to help you in your momhood journey!
Thanks so much Leah, I appreciate your support of me and the dishwasher!! xo
Oh my goodness, I love that answer!! “it’s against the union rules” Ha! Somehow I think temper tantrums would still happen around here even with that answer though. Lol! Happy Blogging Anniversary! Mine is coming up next month! Woo Hoo!
Rosann don’t be so sure it would not work!! Stranger things have happened!! I think it shocks them, they don’t expect that answer!! Lol! Thanks for the anniversary greetings. It’s hard to believe it’s only a year isn’t it? Blogging has become such an important part of my life, as I know it has to yours too!! Much love my friend!
Ninalazina info says
I love that ‘union rules’. Will have to try that with my 20 year olds! lol. Okay may not work with them nor the nine year old , who is constantly asking me to explain everything to him! Love your honest posts and congrats on your year online – I think it has been a year for my site also. I have learned lots in that time and hope to continue learning. Have a lovely.
I think my first son did not have as much opportunities as the others. I was alone most of the time and the internet was not how it is now – so you are lucky. I found it quite isolating, when I think back. My youngest son has done so much more and been so many more places, due to my involvement with other mums.
Have a great day.
Nina it’s funny my oldest got more socializing in the small mommy setting play groups than my youngest. By the time my youngest came along Tom was in kindergarten, going into first grade and our daughter was in preschool so Peter got more socializing with siblings at drop offs and mommy & me classes. Thanks so much for dropping by and giving me your great feedback!
haaha I understand you completely..against the rules really is funny..b/c they can’t think of an argument in rebuttal!
And I also miss those mommy friends that were my life line to sanity when my kids were young…
I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can!
It’s funny they can’t come up with an argument so it does give you a minute to re-group. So glad you came by and are joining the fun! I had a chance to drop by your site as well and am happy to follow you. Take care!
I’m glad decided to add this point. It hits home the need, moms or not, to have good girlfriends. xo
I love this post, and totally get it, too! I’m gonna try that line on my kids–kinda helps to have thousands of years and billions of other mothers to back me up, ha! (Watch out, kids!!!!)
You are amazing! Congratulations on your blogger anniversary.
Having a community of moms around to support you and share ideas with each other is essential. Otherwise motherhood can become quite isolating. Happy anniversary!
Sarah @ made in usa challenge
Camille Griffiths says
Hey, just wanted to say I love reading your blog. =) I don’t usually comment but I read it regularly!