The Sling Diaries, Volume VII. A photo-documentary chronicling the art of baby wearing in the lives of families around the world. Over the course of six months, Sling Diarists will create their own Sling Diary though a series of diary entries interpreting a unique theme given to them each month.
Meet all of our Sling Diarists here.
ON KINSHIPI remember feeling nervous. More nervous than my first date with my husband. More nervous than the first day of graduate school. What if they didn't like me, or, even worse, what if their kids didn't like my kid. It was my first time attending a local playgroup at a store close to my house and the friend I was supposed to go with had canceled at the last minute. I was already in the car and debated turning around and going home, but I was so desperate to be around adults and to be out of the house, so I decided to just go head and go. James was just shy of 6 months old and I hadn't found a group of "mom friends" yet.
I felt lonely, like I was missing a crucial part of the motherhood experience. A few of my close friends had kids or were expecting, but I didn't have a steady group of friends with kids around the same age as mine to get together with on a regular basis -- you know, Mom Friends. Off to the group I went and I felt SO AWKWARD. Do I introduce myself? Do I just hang out with my babe and hope someone says hi? Do I leave? Before I could drive myself crazy with questions, James had scooted/rolled over to a group of babies and all of a sudden we were sitting with a group of mamas and their babies, chatting about introducing solids, breastfeeding, teething, and our favorite toys. It felt natural and so good to talk with other mamas. The playgroup ended, and what was supposed to be an hour of playtime turned into 2 more hours of sitting and chatting with these women that embraced me at a time when I needed it most. We were strangers but in that moment we found a thread that bound us together. Two years later, we're all still in touch, we've added 3 new babies, and our once little babes are well into toddlerhood.
Over the last two and half years, my tribe has grown. I'm a lucky one. I have found mamas in my sisters, my friends, and my family. It makes my mama heart burst just thinking about the overwhelming amount of love that my boys and I have received. In this season of my life, I've reconnected with old friends and held space for new friends. We've gathered and celebrated birthdays and holidays together. We've welcomed our second (and third!) babies. When I struggled through morning sickness and extreme fatigue during my pregnancy with Sam, it was these women that showed up, ran after my rambunctious toddler, and just sat with me when it felt like too much. We've been through the most incredibly joyous times and we've overcome some devastating losses. Some have moved away and others have moved closer. And we continue to support each other (thank goodness for FaceTime). We've laughed together, commiserated over sleepless nights and stories of the terrible twos. We've shared countless cups of coffee. Our once carefree childless weekends away have now become carefully planned trips filled with nap times, snacks and making sure we've packed enough toys to keep everyone entertained. We've loved on each others kids, we've scooped up one another's babies and we've shared countless exhausted laughs and frustrated cries. We've held each other through this crazy ride of motherhood.
There are things I never considered before I became a mother, and finding village of support outside of my family ended up being at the top of that list. I thought that I would have children and I would be their mom, and that would be that — everything else, every other part of my life would be the same. But the reality of it is, becoming a parent is so much more than the title of ‘mama’. It moves you to examine every single part of your life; it changes every fiber of your being. You look at the relationships in your life in a new way, because you have to.
You've been given this tiny creature that now belongs to you and has changed your entire worldview. Finding my tribe, my village was so much more than having a playgroup for my son. These people became part of my life and a part of my children's lives. They filled a part of soul that I didn't know was missing. They became part of our family.