The Sisterhood of Motherhood


Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

Oh, Motherhood.

If this is a journey you are lucky enough to go on, it will be the most rewarding rollercoaster ride you will ever take. It will also be the most exhausting, emotionally taxing, guilt-ridden and scary thing you will have ever done before or will ever do again. Nothing will fill you up or deplete you more than Motherhood. And we while we do our very best, determined to make the best choices we can for the tiny humans we are entrusted with and that we love so fiercely, we will be judged severely every step of the way. Breast Vs Bottle. C-section Vs Natural Birth. Self-settle vs Co-sleep. Stay-at-home vs Working Mum. The moment we are pregnant, until the time our children leave the nest, everyone has an opinion and are all too eager to offer often unsolicited advice. (No Peggy, we really don’t care if your son was eating solids at two weeks old back in 1969).

But, then something remarkable happens somewhere in-between the Plunket groups, the preschool pick-ups and the school gates: beautiful alliances are formed. One coffee at a time, sleep deprived but determined, mothers form a bond that transgresses all judgment, age and demographic. The Sisterhood of Motherhood is born. This is what saves us. These are the women who get it. These are our friends who can come over anytime, and don’t care that we haven’t brushed our hair and little Robbie has just drawn all over his baby sister with a sharpie. Like comrades in arms, we look after each other’s children when one of our crew needs a break. We are there with a casserole and a bottle of red in a heartbeat. If Mary’s Mum can’t make it to assembly when little Mary gets a certificate, we will clap so hard for her in her Mothers absence, she will feel like she has won the Nobel prize. We will video it on our phone so her mother can see her big moment later. No judgment passed, no guilt required. Because here is the thing: in the Sisterhood, as Glennon Melton says, ‘there is no such thing as other people’s children’. We will cheer hard for our friends children. We will cheer hard for our friends too.

Back when we all lived in caves and nobody knew what the word organic meant, and the Google doctor wasn’t a thing, we didn’t do this whole parenting gig alone. We had a tribe, and it was all hands-on deck when it came to the colossal task of raising good humans. The well-known saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is a proverb originating from tribal Africa, hundreds of years ago. I am not talking about the Peggy’s of this world and their well-meaning but incredibly irritating, unsolicited ‘judgy’ advice. I am talking about the support that comes from those in the trenches with you, or at the very least remember what it was really like to have been there: our mum-friends. The no judgment, ‘I’ve got-your-back kind’ of support crew. Behind every school play, preschool picnic or sports event, I can guarantee that what you do not see is the hundreds of group text messages as mothers cover each other’s kids, making sure every child gets to every sports game and every school disco, even when both parents are working or have children with triple-booked activities. It may look effortless, but behind the scenes is a logistical work of art. All this talk of sisterhood is not to say that husbands and fathers are not important. Our husbands and partners are incredibly important, both in parenthood and this crazy ride of life. Vital. Fathers that toe the line are absolute life savers, and their children are so lucky to have such hands-on Dads: they will be better adults for it. But what we as women often need when it comes to a good vent and a shoulder to lean on though is, quite simply, each other.

It’s a sacred and beautiful thing.

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© 2016 Claire Inkson. All photographs copyright Claire Inkson

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