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Challenge: Finding Your Village

A mother's community

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They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I believe it takes a community of amazing and strong women to shape a mother. To find a group of women from all seasons of life, who help you and encourage you to be the best version of yourself everyday, is one of the most powerful gifts a mother and woman can have.

To my mom: Thank you. I am the woman I am today because of you, the stubbornness is dad, but the rest is you. So, thank you. Thank you for teaching me to love unconditionally; with my whole heart, everyone, regardless of differences. For encouraging me to be strong and to lead. For having the magic words to calm my soul when I need it most. For all the times you have laughed with me and cried with me and even the times you drive me crazy. For cleaning my bathrooms when I was four weeks postpartum and in tears because it was all just too much and without saying a word you knew. For the everyday phone calls on the way home from work just catching up on what the day brought us.

Thank you.

For reminding me to stop and take a breath and savor these moments even on the days when it seems hard. For all of those years you knew me better than I knew myself and loved me far more than I could understand. A mother's love has no end. I get it now.

To my mom friends: Thank you. Thank you for all the times you text just to check in and see how we are doing. For loving my baby as if he were your own. For every encouraging text, phone call, and card reminding me that even on my worst days, I am a great mom. For the time you brought wine and your best lasagna casserole that I still can't make as well as you can even though you gave me the recipe.

Thank you.

For all the times you have held me up when I didn't even know I needed it, until you were there. For never showing judgement when you know I am in a mom rut, but offering up a Target run and a Starbucks together to clear my head. For the 10 angry text messages I send you in a row at 9:45 pm when my child refuses bedtime and my sanity is at an all-time low. Multiple times on multiple days. Each time, reminding me that like all things - it will pass. For letting me vent when I am just tired. so. tired. and I'm complaining about this, that, or the other and how I can never get ahead - even though you have the same things going on in your life right now, too. For play dates that really consist of incomplete conversations while correcting toddlers, but each time I leave refreshed and happy.

We have been through so much together. Vacations, celebrations, loss of family members, incredible hardships and life-changing events like motherhood. But one thing that is constant in all of these is you, my friend. You are "my person"and for that I will be forever grateful.

To my friends without kids: Thank you. For reminding me that I am more than just a parent. In the midst of teething and sleep deprivation you still see me as the individual I was B.C. (before children). You remind me to keep dreaming to keep pushing to do ALL the things. For your enthusiasm as you watch my child grow and learn. To see my child through your eyes, to see the amazement you see in the little things that I so often take for granted serves as a beautiful reminder of just how wonderful my kiddo really is.

Thank you.

For never holding me to unrealistic parenting standards of perfection. For acknowledging that while you are living your own life and living it well, parenting is in fact - hard. For all the times you check in on me to see how I am doing, reminding me that I can't take care of my family if I'm not taking care of myself. For being there through it all - pushing, celebrating and reminding me to never give up. You give me more strength than you know.

To my coworkers: Thank you. Thank you for understanding when I need to leave work early to tend to a sick kiddo for the 18th time and offering no judgement. For picking up my workload while I was away on my honeymoon and maternity leave and every sickness in between. It is rare that you find an all women work group that works well together, but we do - and we do it well. Sure we have our share of disagreements and sometimes we may even drive each other crazy, but there is no judging or competition. I am lucky to work with women who support each other and encourage one another each and every day. Women that empower one another to shatter the glass ceiling, that challenges but respects each others differences. You inspire me daily.

So today, I wanted to stop and say thank you - even though thank you will never be enough. The mother and woman I am today, is because of the community of women I have in my life. Each and every one of you are remarkable, strong women who demonstrate daily just how capable and courageous a woman can be. And I consider myself lucky to have each and every one of you in my life.

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