I generally watch The Today Show in the mornings while I’m getting dressed. Honestly (and sadly), I get most of my news from that 15 minutes around the 8 o’clock hour that I watch.
Yesterday morning there was a segment about nanny poaching. Whatever, it probably sucks to have that happen, but free market, blah, blah, blah. The thing that caught my ear was some talking head who said, referring to being careful who you hang out with lest they steal your nanny: “You meet people in your mommy group. But they’re not really your friend.”
Jesus, can’t we all just get along? The stay-at-homers hate the workers. The workers hate the stay-at-homers. The breastfeeders hate the formula-feeders. The disposable diaper people hate the cloth diaper people. The family-bedders hate the cry-it-outers. The Alpha moms hate the Slacker moms. And vice versa.
Me? Sure I’ve passed judgment on others, no matter how much I try not to. (For the record: work from home, but consider myself a stay at homer; mostly breastfeeder; disposable diaper person; cry-it-outer, no idea about Alpha v. Slacker.)
But mostly I believe in the sisterhood.
I was introduced to the sisterhood late, in college. A slightly older acquaintance of mine had a very heavy crush on a guy who had a long-distance girlfriend. And my acquaintance was hot. And the guy obviously liked her. But when one of my friends suggested that she go for it, she said something that has stuck with me ever since: “I don’t do that. If we women don’t look out for each other, who’s going to? Not the men.” And that’s how I joined the sisterhood.
Now, just to clarify, I don’t think all men—or even most—are worms. And I don’t think you betray the sisterhood by thought alone, as my acquaintance did not.
I do, however, think the sisterhood is powerful. Women united are powerful.
I have felt the sisterhood surround me as I enter the special ed world. They have hugged me in the hall at school when they caught me crying after one of Jack’s meltdowns. They have talked to me and they have listened to me.
I have joined the sisterhood in my actions. I joined a subset of the sisterhood by becoming a parent. And I have found that the mommy-sisterhood is strong. And that, yes, some will judge and hate and make fun, but the ones that matter will support.
I have seen the sisterhood bolster my friends as they drive over the bumpy road of parenting. They have given advice on sleeping, on feeding, on teaching our children. They have lent ears when a sister needs to cry or needs to talk or just needs to sit with a group that won’t judge her for wearing sweatpants and no makeup.
I have become part of the sisterhood in recently helping my mother go through a rough patch. We called her daily and we listened to her feel sad, then feel happy, then feel sad, then feel confused, then feel happy again.
I have watched my mother become the sisterhood in helping her friend whose adult son unexpectedly passed away less than a week ago. She visits her friend and calls her friend and doesn’t think badly of her because she is on the edge.
I have become part of a sisterhood at least partly made up of those “mommy groups” the talking head on The Today Show was so disparaging of. We are trying to form a protective circle around our good friend WhyMommy as she faces the biggest fight of her life. The sisterhood is with you, WhyMommy. Lean on it. I know we (I) have leaned on you in the past for support. And I know that once you’ve won this battle, and it is something we can look back on, then you can be part of the buttress for the next sister who needs us.
And that is perhaps the best part of the sisterhood: somehow what you support can support you as well.