As the first grandchild on both sides of the family, the task of “naming” the grandparents fell to me. I immediately (at the ripe old age of 18 months) christened my grandpa “Memaw”. Thinking ahead to the confusions that might cause, my parents redirected that title to my grandmother and set me to naming my grandpa for the second time. I came up with “Bepop.”
Memaw, and her mother, who we called “Big Mommy,” and my other grandma and great-grandmothers lived in such different eras than the one I find myself in, but I know they would still have wisdom to share. I wish I could ask them about table manners and helping our children navigate friendships and how to get our kids to clean up after themselves. But there’s one piece of advice that I know they would give me, even though they’re not here to do it.
All of my grandmas and great-grandmas valued family. They gathered people around their tables to eat and play card games and talk about all the latest goings-on. The grandmas watched the little ones or cooked the meal or washed the dishes, so the young mamas got a little bit of a break. They pointed out ways to navigate life, tips and tricks learned through a lifetime of experience. I think they would be sad to see the lack of community most mamas experience today. There is so much rest and peace, camaraderie and friendship, available in a community of women who care for each other. It doesn’t have to be cat fights and comparison games; relationships really can be full of rest and peace and joy, integrity and honesty. A safe place to let down and really be you.
If you don’t have a place to go like that, a place where you can admit your fears and failings and expect to find encouragement, please join our Facebook group @ParentingSunshine. We can be an online safe place for you, but hopefully–and much more importantly–it will be a place for you to find other mamas and grandmas in your local area that can encourage you and build you up, offer solid advice when it is needed, and a warm hug when you’re struggling.
Another resource I’d love to share is MomHeart groups. I’ve personally never been a part of one, but I have followed Sally Clarkson for a while and know that her heart is for the same kind of friendships I have described. They have a Facebook group here and a little more info about the groups at Sally Clarkson’s blog as well.
How do you fit into all this? Do you have a group of women who you lean on, or do you feel alone? I’d love to connect with you in the comments below, or at Parenting Sunshine on Facebook.