Thank God for Girlfriends

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The chaos of juggling kids is nothing new, but getting them back in the groove of school is beyond hectic!

Whether you are a working or a stay-at-home mom, juggling our families to get everybody out the door on time and picked up on time isn’t easy.  In my case, it’s manic.

Thankfully my DWTS season hasn’t started yet so I am easing everyone into their new schedules and slowly learning my own way. 

My biggest fear is forgetting anyone’s important extracurricular activities. So far it’s been carpool at 6:45 a.m. and dropping kids off at multiple locations. So far, so good and so many moms have been connecting to help each other out.  We are all in the same boat.

It’s not an easy gig for any woman no matter what your responsibilities are outside of the house. What I found recently in my life, as a woman, – that I didn’t necessarily have the privilege to have as a new mom – is a community of girlfriends to call upon and count on.

It truly does take a village, as corny as that sounds – whether it is a village, a community or just a couple close friends. You know, the ones that are on your emergency contact list, the ones you can call in the middle of the night. Hopefully you have at least one of those when s*!# is hitting the fan! Or that one girlfriend that you can go to for a pity party or bitch session – the one friend who listens and doesn’t criticize you and doesn’t try to solve your problems like your husband does. You know the girls I’m talking about. I think having that community and those people you can count on is a life-saver for any hectic family.

It’s 5:30 a.m. and while my house sleeps, I sneak out the door, do a quick Starbys drive-by and now I am on my way over to my girlfriend’s house to pick her up and take her to a very important doctor’s appointment. Not because her husband couldn’t do it, or because she didn’t have other options; I picked her up because she is a dear friend and I wanted to comfort her and be there for her. Funny thing is, she had a really hard time accepting help because she is sort of that “Super Mom, I-can-do-everything,” and she truly does. But I think there are some situations in life where you need to learn how to ask for help. You also need to learn how to accept help when it is offered to you. Our relationship, along with many of my other close girlfriends, has been “pitch and catch.”  I spent much of the summer at my girlfriend’s beach club and she spends many dinners at my house with her family and with pleasure, I cook up a gorgeous meal.

We switch off and have an unspoken language that mi casa, es su casa.

There are no gifts required, thank you’s are (of course) appreciated… but it is kind of just how we do it and run our fun lives. “I’m going to Karate, can I take your kid?  Oh, I am running late and can’t pick up Shaya, do you mind dropping him off at home? There is dance class this week and I am at Dancing With the Stars, do you mind taking my daughter? I’ll watch your son at my house.”

It’s just sort of this give and take, and quite honestly I don’t know how I would raise children and allow them to participate in their many activities if I didn’t have help. And I am not talking about the paid help, which is easier to find, I am talking about friendships and play dates and time with other children whose moms you know, trust and value. That is another big part of this – moms you TRUST. Do they raise their children the same way you do? Can you count on their value system? Do you know that they are watching your child like a hawk, like you would? Are they on top of everything? Are they on time? Are they loading them up with sugar when you aren’t around? Are they loving them when they get hurt? Are they patient when their kid is having an off day?

It’s all sorts of things. It takes a lot, I think, to take on the responsibility of another child. In my house, on any given day, I’ve got my four kids plus a friend – and for me, the more the merrier. I treat everybody in my house the way I treat my own kids. But when I have a guest or when I have another responsibility, I give them the same exact care that I would give my own children. And I am so happy to do it because I know there are going to be plenty of times when I am going to need the favor as well. So it is pitch and catch, sort of like a marriage. I never had a houseful growing up so I love that scene now and I truly am used to the chaos.  My husband must think I’m crazy but with my four kids, it’s really no different with six.

My friends are invaluable and learning how to accept help can be as difficult as asking for help. But once you can master the art of both, and most importantly, learn how to offer help – being a giver, not just a taker – I think it takes your friendship to a whole new level. It’s kind of like my mom. I know I can call on her for anything and she would be there in an instant. That is what true friendship is – giving and taking.

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