It was a February Michigan blizzard. My 18-month-old and 3-year-old were sick for the 80th time that season. I knew my toddler's ear infection was back yet again because her ear-splitting screams were relentless. I made a doctor appointment, layered the kids with coats and hats, and piled them into the SUV. I put the four-by-four on and floored it backwards, but it wasn't enough.
We got stuck in the thigh-high snow. I shoveled and shoveled, but nothing worked. The tires kept spinning. Starting to unravel, I called my mum mentor. She sped over in her pajamas and gave me her car. She put the car seats and my kids into her car while I wiped my pathetic tears. Without my mum mentor that day, and many days for that matter, I'd be lost in this labyrinth of motherhood.
Every mum needs a mum mentor. You know, the mum who's ahead of you in this child-rearing business. I met my mum mentor about three years ago when I had a 2-year-old and a newborn. This feisty, gritty woman has five — yes, five — children. It's a match made in neighbour heaven. She's 100 percent Italian; I'm 100 percent Greek. Let's just say our conversations get loud and deep quickly. I love her.
But our camaraderie goes beyond the sisterhood bond. She's helped me through this sticky motherhood thing more than she knows. Her wisdom is greater than any parenting book I could ever buy off Amazon.
Here are the top six reasons you need a mum mentor.
- She will rationalize your insanity. Somehow a myth originated showcasing mothers as the smiley, Carol Brady types. We all know this to be as fictitious as any fairy tale we read. As mums, we feel like we should always be put-together. But the mum mentor reminds you, "Hey, it's OK to go insane. This sh*t is tough, and it's not going to get any easier anytime soon. Losing it now and then is completely normal."
- You can learn from her mistakes. The mum mentor owns up to her parenting mistakes because she's wise and confident enough to know that it's part of the gig. She will help you through whatever you're going through by sharing her own mistakes.
- She'll give you her mad-awesome parenting tricks. Getting your baby to sleep through the night, easing teething, controlling the threenager tantrums, or weaning from the boob: the mum mentor will give you her timeless tricks to get you over the toughest kid phases. These are secrets you can't find on any parenting blog.
- She's an ear to vent to. This is probably the most common perk of the mum mentor. There are times when it seems like my mum mentor and I vent daily to each other. With motherhood, it's a necessity.
- She'll remind you that it's true: bigger kids equal bigger problems. The mum mentor will likely share her struggles with her teenager. Suddenly, hearing about giving kids the sex talk will make your sleepless nights seem almost enjoyable.
- Wine — All. The. Wine. Hell yes. Bonfire plus wine equals creating your own sequel to Bad Mums. This bonding that almost always leads to F-bombs will go beyond the mom-mentor relationship and will most definitely last through the empty-nest years.
No mum is perfect, and having the ability to share in your daily blunders is crucial in this life of raising kids. Sometimes the mum mentor is your neighbour or a friend from church, or you might be lucky enough to have her as a family member. Either way, the mum mentor is someone who will enrich your life. If you don't have one already, get yourself one now. Then, the next time you get stuck in the snow, you will have someone to dig you out.