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.