ORLANDO (Christian Examiner) -- Last night I sat at dinner with an incredible group of blogging mommas. Intelligent. Hard-working. Funny. Strong. Beautiful. As we enjoyed delicious offerings, the stories swirled.
We talked about everything and our children were always part of the conversation.
Their education. Their bodily functions. Their emotions. Our emotions. Our successes. Our #MomFails. The technological world they live in. We live in. And how do we parent that?!
Somehow, on a crazy whim, armadillos even made their way to our table talk. I'm still not sure how.
And then, as the food had long been cleared from the table and our conversation slowed, we admitted the hard. We confessed this parenting journey is not for the faint. We looked deeply into the eyes of our sisters and acknowledged how wrenching this mom-life really is.
Wrenching because of the wondering.
Will our children will be okay?
Will they walk this big-wide world with courage and intelligence?
Will they ever learn to go to sleep without holding our hands?
How will exposure to the harsh realities of the world affect our children?
Will they follow the leader or will they be the leader?
Are we pushing too hard? Not hard enough?
Will potty training ever end?
Are we raising entitled children that only take or children who give to this world?
Should they go to public school? Private? Homeschool?
Will they navigate the Internet wisely?
What if I get it wrong?
We spend so much of our momma lives in the wondering. It often takes us to the edge, to the places where worry wreaks havoc, and we begin to believe we got it all wrong, leaving our children in therapy—forever.
But last night, I left dinner feeling less alone.
Because every momma knows the deep wonderings—the longings for our children to thrive in this world. That's why we so desperately need each other. Why we must cling to each other with white-tight knuckles. Our survival depends on it.
Because sometimes it is only another momma that can talk me off the ledge.
Only another momma understands the secrets our hearts never speak. Only another momma has ever really been there—ever really witnessed the sheer terror potty training and adolescence and senior graduation can bring to our tender-strong feminine hearts.
We need each other.
We don't need judgment and criticism for the different choices we make. Because while we know the burdens of motherhood, we will never walk in the shoes of any other but our own.
From breastfeeding to co-sleeping. From schooling choices to diet. From political views to religious convictions, we must pull back from our harsh words and realize, we need each other.
The deeper I'm entrenched in motherhood, the more I realize how much I rely on my momma friends and those who have already raised steady, grounded children. Those are the moms I sit beside just to drink their words of wisdom—because I may teach teens, but I've never mothered one.
I also want to whisper soft into the ears of new mommas. Because I have been there. I do know that pain and joy wrapped together in the life miracle.
The longer I'm a momma, the more I'm convinced it takes the village. The collective voices of feminine wisdom mentoring, guiding, loving each other through motherhood.
Singing words of encouragement into the souls of our sisters.
Your job is important.
You've got what it takes.
You were made for your children.
You're a good mom.
This is why we need each other. We can clutch hands around our children together and remind ourselves God created the woman because no one else on earth could nurture and guide and embrace in the way we can.
The beauty of motherhood is reflected in our children, yes. But it is also reflected in us. When we look into the eyes of another momma, we see our own beauty shining—showing the world our calling matters.
This is why mommas need each other.
Heather B. Iseminger, a high school English teacher and blogger at PetalsofJoy.org, lives with her husband of 16 years and two children in Central Florida, where they actively attend First Baptist Church in Eustis, Florida.