I quit Girl Scouts. Even at the ripe old age of 7, I knew that I was not cut out for time in a circle “caring and sharing.” I didn’t want to spend my time doing some lame craft, singing or talking. I wanted to join the Boy Scouts and learn how to start a fire with my fingernail and a rock (In addition to false self-perception, I also had a pretty false idea of what scouting was all about –cut me a break, I was 7).
Into my young adulthood, this self-perception followed me. I was tough, and unemotional. I had girlfriends like me, focused, driven, achievement oriented and strong. I had a job that I loved. It was hard, but I rose to the challenge. At the end of the day I had something to show for my effort. My projects got done.
I could pull an all-nighter, ace the presentation and make it to the celebration dinner. There was no way that something as small and normal as having a baby would change that. Until it did – I had a baby. All of a sudden, I didn’t have my sh*t together anymore. It gave a new meaning to the word ‘hard’ with levels of sleep deprivation that I could not have imagined and the constant drain of work with no measurable outcome.
Even my most ‘accomplished’ friends say that having a baby has been the most difficult (and rewarding) experience of their lives. In a moment of brutal honesty, a physician friend told me that six weeks with a newborn made years of 36-hour call look like a walk in the park.
I didn’t realize it, but after I had my baby, I needed a new group of friends – not a group of people that was going to tell me about their new promotion, or research grant or Six Sigma course. After I had my baby, I needed real ‘caring and sharing’. I needed to know that I was not alone in having my world turned upside down. That I was not alone in going from a know-it-all, do-it-all, be-it-all, to someone who was ruled by this tiny eating, puking, pooping machine.
As I struggled to find my way, I found Katie Madden. Thank God for Katie. She gently encouraged me to come to her group. Why? I thought. What can a group of other moms do for me? I don’t do caring and sharing, I don’t need a support group, support groups are for wimps. I could not fathom how it would be valuable, but I went anyway. What I found was different than what I had expected. These were real women. Real women like me. Real women struggling with babies. Real women making transitions from work to home and back again.
Katie runs a no nonsense group. Sure, there is sharing and yes, there is some genuine caring, but it is tempered with Katie’s practical approach, humor and always peppered with some well placed profanity. In this new role, where there had been so much discomfort, I was all of a sudden at ease. With these women, who were being honest and open, it was okay to be unsure.
The spirit of Katie’s group is part of foundation of The Mothers’ Space. We are seeking to create a place for ALL mothers to find support, connections and growth. So, even if you are a badass at your day job – where you’ve got it all under control, I invite you to come sit with us. Have a cup of coffee. Sit in a circle. You might be surprised too and I promise, we won’t ask you to sell cookies.