Tammy S. laments, “I feel like I don't get a chance to have an adult conversation or make new friends as my son is my world and all my focus is on him. I feel I don't have the time to do anything for myself.”
Tammy you’re not alone! This week I heard from 200 women who felt the same way. They said, “I love my child, but parenting makes me lose my patience, feel isolated, and I’m afraid this will go on forever. Oh, and I think the women’s movement has failed!”
I believe the women’s movement is alive and stronger than ever. Not only that, I believe that women are the answer to what these women feel is missing in their lives.
Having It Your Way
Because of the women’s movement, we moms can negotiate things at home and at work.
Moms can negotiate a 50-50, or a 30-70 split regarding who does what. The division of housework, yard work, groceries, finances, who gets a break and when, can be negotiated any way a couple wants.
Because of the women’s movement you can negotiate or you can decide not to negotiate. The point is you get to decide what your life looks like.
My grandmother and the women in her era weren’t that lucky. There were exceptions of course, but for the most part there were no negotiations about a women’s life.
My grandmother did everything with no help from my grandfather. She made all the meals, cleaned the house, washed the laundry, ironed the clothes (every day), did the yard work, and went grocery shopping. All chores had to be done by 4 p.m. so she could begin dinner; it had to be on the table by 6 p.m. when my grandfather walked in. There were no choices. Believe me, I asked.
My grandmother never had a job, let alone a career. Her career was my grandfather first, and then her kids. And when her kids grew up and had kids of their own, she watched us, too, from time to time.
When the women’s movement came along, all of that changed. Today’s woman has the opportunity to make her life any way she wants it to be.
There is however, one thing that my grandmother and her friends had that today’s woman, at least in this country, rarely have. And it’s the one thing that I believe answers the question, “Moms, are you getting what you need?”
Grandma had a “tribe.” She had good friends that met briefly for coffee at least 3 days a week.
My grandmother and her tribe designed their day so they could get together to chat, bitch, laugh, and support each other. Grandma’s tri-weekly coffee klatsches helped the women to feel connected. They did what women do; they talked and worked things out. Their connection to each other chased away the feelings of loneliness. It filled them up so they could handle the role of mommy 24/7.
I think, even as empowered as today’s woman is, she still longs for connection. Women need other women. Women process how life is going by talking to other women. We need other females to bring us back to ourselves. I think that’s one reason why parenting feels so isolated and hard these days.
A Tribe of Your Own
So what can you do?
Create your own “tribe.” Ask some of your friends, or women from the park, or from your moms' or play groups if they’d like to meet at each others' homes a couple of times a week to support each other.
I know, you just gasped and said, “Oh that’s just what I need, a group of women judging me for having a messy house. That just puts more pressure on me!”
There’s an easy way to remedy that—be honest. Tell the ladies that your house looks like a tornado landed and then forget about it.
Which is more important, letting a messy house get in the way of connecting to other women, or meeting with supportive women so you can fill up with female energy and then return to daily life feeling a bit more positive?
Women and mothering have come a long way; let's take it one step further and go the distance. Let’s meet with those of like minds and support each other to get through the intense times.
Give it a shot this summer; you’ll be surprised at what having a “tribe” of supportive women will do for you!
Sharon Silver is a parenting educator and the founder of Proactive Parenting. She's also the author of Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Discipline Consciously and Become the Parent You Want to Be.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.