I just finished my second three year old class (I dubbed it TITs - Toddlers in Training) - and can say with full confidence that this is the best thing I've done for myself in a while. Along with eight other women, we've cried, complained, learned new strategies, and downed more carbohydrates than marathon trainers. It's the most simple formula in the world: sit in a circle, listen to the teacher, watch some 1970's video (where daddy's have fro's and sideburns and moms have Dallas mall hair) and share experiences. And yet, with this immense simplicity comes enormous comfort in the truth that none of us are alone.
I come from a big family. We all chatted. We all yelled over each other. And while sometimes someone felt left out, or feelings were bruised, over all, we felt united in togetherness. It seems so natural that motherhood works this way too. We can't do this alone.
As Marrit Ingman's memoir pointed out (better than I am about to) it's not about competition. It's not about who looks better in their Seven Islands of the World jeans after giving birth (or whatever that designer is called). It's not about who co-sleeps, breast feeds, has a nanny, has a maid, lives with their mom, is single or married. All mothers are trying to raise psychologically sound children while keeping themselves sane, too. This cannot be done alone. No matter how cute you decorate the nursery, there's the most comfort in the presence of another human being.
With all this talk about community, there is some irony that the love of my life is the solitary profession of writing. I guess even busy moms need their alone time. But when I emerge from my self-enclosed bubble, let me be the first to smile and say I'm so glad other moms (and non-moms) are part of my life.
Mr. Rogers said it best: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"