I’m almost three years into motherhood and can safely say I still have no idea what I am doing.
When my second daughter arrived seven months ago, people confidently said: ‘You’ll know what you’re doing then’. With all the caffeine-fuelled bravado I could muster, I beamed back ‘yes, so much easier second time round’, while manically trying to prevent Precious First Born from scooting on the road and wondering when I last fed the baby.
The only thing I know for certain is that women are amazing.
Inspiring, uplifting, encouraging and utterly amazing. And thanks to social media, WhatsApp, email, Skype and the gazillion other ways we can communicate with actual IRL friends, we are a worldwide force to be reckoned with.
I adored everything about my little possums even before their very first gasps of air. What I hadn’t anticipated, however, is the overwhelming love, gratitude and respect I would feel for my circle of female friends.
The friend that packed me a hospital bag full of things I would need when the baby arrived (it’s a true friend who braves the maternity section of the M&S underwear department for you).
The friend who brought me Ben and Jerry (Phish Food, no less) and took my husband and children out after I had an infected tooth removed (the same friend who I text daily and who knows that the crying / shot gun emoji combo will be followed by the dancing girls / cocktail duo come 7pm).
My best friend who calls every week from Australia, ‘just to clock in’ even though her super-fly lifestyle is infinitely more interesting than my South-West London existence.
My oldest friend who flew across the world for a weekend to be at her God Daughter’s christening.
My big sister who, with two young children of her own, has paved a comfortable path for me to follow.
The colleague-turned-BFF who I call for a rant but end up in tears of laughter with.
The post-natal personal trainer, a survivor of breast cancer at the age of 26, who inspires more than just a beach body.
And the greatest gal pal of all, my mum, who listens tirelessly, advises cautiously and loves unconditionally (thank god). Who comes to stay and gets up at 5am with my two-year-old (sometimes jet lag is a blessing). Whose embrace still provides the same complete comfort it did when I was five.
This is the modern-day village of women with whom I am navigating the maze of motherhood.
Since having my babies, adulthood has got real. Mortgages, schools and car seats replace sex, snogging and scandal as dinner party conversations.
When fellow couples give one another ‘the look’ that signals its time for bed, it’s not for any kind of romantic liaison, it’s because if they don’t leave NOW they will have to pay the babysitter for another hour (and the thought of the breakfast shift with a hangover is terrifying).
‘Having it all’ really means ‘having it all to worry about’.
Trying to raise and run a family while furthering a career and mastering gluten / sugar / dairy-free muffins for play dates is a 24/7 occupation.
Yet in between the day-to-day of trying to figure out what the hell we’re all meant to be doing, this tribe of women is making time to check in with one another. To support and encourage. To comfort and console. To love, honour and puree.
The Spice Girls called it, Taylor and her girl squad champion it and I for one feel bloody lucky to be part of it.
I reckon that women are stronger than ever and the world is a better place for it.