The Mud-Don’t-Scare-Me Mom Tribe

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My youngest son is 21 months old and is able to find a mud puddle in a dry park the same way I’m able to find a Starbucks in a new mall. Today was no exception, but instead of throwing my day into chaos, the mudpocolyps was managed with humor, a garden hose and the help of two great ladies.

Since moving nine months ago I’ve been trying to find like-minded moms of children the same general age and temperament of my boys. This proved to be much more difficult than I had anticipated, but after joining countless area mom groups and trolling the neighborhood parks I am finally beginning to feel like I’m finding my niche. I’ve been meeting up with a couple of moms regularly for a few months now and today it was clear that we are all part of the same tribe- the mud-don’t-scare-me tribe. Finding your Mom Tribe is kind of a big deal-especially when your children are covered in mud at a park.

So, when my curly headed cutie began to splash in the mud with the joy and thoroughness of a hippopotamus at a safari day spa, these ladies didn’t cast me an “I can not believe she’s letting him do that” look.  Instead, they laughed along with me. Then when my 3 year old became so engrossed in play with their children that he had a potty accident I felt no fear of judgement when I sighed and said to him, “alright, take off your pants and join your brother if you want.”

This moment was the toddler exemplification of the phrase “in for a penny, in for a pound.”

While I was overseeing this bacchanal of mud, one of the moms found a garden hose and the other mom found the spicket. It is this kind of practical, judgement free, and resourceful problem solving that defines members of the mud-don’t-scare-me tribe.

Within 10 minutes both boys where hosed down and I was more than ready to fasten them securely in our mud puddle free car. While I was driving my half naked boys home I was grateful that instead of crying from the stress of the seemingly impossible task of managing them I was laughing at the memory of their gleefully mud-spattered faces and counting my lucky stars that there are other moms out there who aren’t afraid of a little mud.

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Morning 11: It Takes a Village with Fully Fenced Parks to Raise a Child

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I don’t think I’d ever make any new mom friends if it weren’t for fully fenced parks. Constant fear of one’s child running into traffic kind of puts a damper on conversation.

But, that was not a problem this morning when I met a couple of other moms at a nearby-fully-fenced park. My boys were both resembled grubby little chimney sweeps by the end of the playdate due to my focus on our conversation, but I made connections with two other moms who are also interested in homeschooling their toddler/preschool aged kids.

Being the unapologetically proud independent American sort, I used to scoff at the old adage “it takes a village to raise a child”, but then I had kids. Not only is it impractical to shun community in favor of independence, but also it’s not in my children’s best interest. Building a community of like-minded moms has helped keep me sane when I need someone to talk to (or just text) during late night feedings , it’s given my sons a friend group that brings them such joy, and most importantly it gives us (the moms) the ability to model what friendship looks like among kids and adults.

Young children need a village of their peers to learn with and from. They need other kids to learn how to navigate social concepts like fairness, sharing, empathy, and tolerance. As much as I believe in the importance of teaching my children literacy and math at home I also deeply believe that the social and emotional lessons are the most important things they will learn in their early childhoods.

To ensure that my boys have opportunities to socialize I’m enrolling my oldest (3 years old) in a two day a week mother’s day out program this fall, and I’m seeking other families like the ones I met today (in the safety of the fenced park of course) who are interested in creating opportunities for our little ones to learn together. We will still aim for at least an hour a day of structured learning time every day, but I’m excited to find ways to build up our little village of friends through his new school and through many more playdates at the park.