Playdates.

When my kids were really small we did the ‘playdates.’
They are somewhat required.
It’s like an unwritten rule of motherhood.

And it’s not necessarily just for the health and socialization of the child.
Let’s be real.
The playdate is more for the moms:
More for their sanity,
A way for them to not feel so alone.

Oh, yes, the kids think they are great, and friendships are developed.

But it’s for moms.
Especially in the toddler/preschool years.

And there is something about those young years of parenting that makes moms bond together.
Almost a sense that there is no way we can do this alone.

We will go crazy if we do this alone.

I think of all the groups out there.
The mommy and me classes.
The Mothers of Preschoolers organized groups.

And then you kid goes to school…

And there is a sense of being alone

Because the sense of community fizzles,
The camaraderie goes away,
And you are off to parent alone.

No, not completely alone.
There are ways to connect at schools and through church groups still, yes.
There will be parents you go through the soccer season with.
But it’s not the same.
Not quite.

I remember sensing the loneliness one time in the store Justice.
Anyone who has an elementary school girl has probably set foot in this store.
Oh, Justice…

Following my daughter around, blinded by sequins and bold colors,
I look up and see a fellow mom.

We give each other a look,
A knowing look.
A look that says, “I’m here with ya. I feel your sequin blindness.”
“I get you. We are in this thing together.”

It was one single look.
One knowing look.
A look that said so much.

A look that seemed to say, “Who in their right mind would want a shirt with a sparkling purple panda eating an ice cream cone on it?”
And, “Are these crazy leggings for real?”
All at the same time.

And although we were in the same parenting boat, there was a sense we were both alone in it.

And to be truthful,
Elementary school
Middle school
High school…

Those are the crucial years.
Those are the years when you need to not be alone as a parent.

Because, yes, it is nice to have someone to vent to about the trials of potty training.
That is important.
But what about when the issues of bullying come up?
Who do you freak out to when it’s time to have ‘the talk’?
Or face driver’s ed?

It is in those times when you are truly shaping the very character of your children
When you are teaching them values and letting them fail
When they begin to have a mind of their own, and you are preparing them for adulthood.

Yet those are the times when, as a mom, you can feel the most alone.

You will always question the choices that you make.
The parenting decisions
The discipline you choose

Are you being too harsh?
Are you being too lenient?

You will be wondering the whole time if you are doing everything you can to make them the best possible adults.
You will be wondering if you have prepared them fully,
Completely.

I pray we band together in these years like we did in the early years of parenting.
When we gave each other advice about colic and sleep training.

I pray we are able to walk this parenting journey hand-in-hand with someone
Who can encourage
Who can listen
Who can give advice.

Be that person to walk beside another.
Make the choice to be there.

Every step of the way.

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