by Nancy Peplinsky, Holistic Moms Network Founder

Parenting can be a lonely job. Raising a child often means putting aside your own desires and choices to dedicate your time to the care of another. In the early days of parenthood the demands can be exhausting. Feeding and caring for your new babe on little sleep and almost no personal space or time can be alienating and exhausting. Among moms we joke that the newborn stage is being “in the trenches”. Showering, ha! Getting dressed? Makeup? Laundry? Nope. “Is it like this for everyone? Why is it so hard?, we ask ourselves. We get enveloped in a fog of sleeplessness and exhaustion. Waves of challenges lie ahead – weaning, schooling, behavioral issues, the dreaded teen years, the empty nest. Sometimes all we need is a sounding board and to know that we aren’t doing anything wrong – that this is parenting.

This is where community comes to the rescue. Being part of a parenting support group can literally save your sanity. Our parenthood self-talk is a beast. We wonder if we are the only ones who struggle with the guilt over wanting to always be there versus wanting our own lives back. We question if we are “good enough” as parents. We criticize ourselves when we lose our patience with our kids; when our own parenting style flies out the window. We beat ourselves up.

The good news? We all do it. Those trenches are filled with others who have been there. Others who get it. Others who can laugh with you, cry with you, and nod in agreement having experienced the very same feelings, situations, and doubts. We have our parenting war stories. Our toddler flushing our iPhone down the toilet. The painting of the family pet. The teen parties. The young adult late night phone calls resulting from bad decision making. Together we can commiserate. In community, we can feel connected. Supported. Not alone. Nothing can be more powerful.

Even when life takes us on its twists and turns, even when we have no time to sit together, to be together, we inherently know that we are all out there. We are all in this – relishing the joys of parenting and battling through the struggles. We can pop online and ask a question; we can join in a group session or Zoom call; we can squeeze in a gathering; and we can feel that sense of reassurance and safety that we crave. Being connected matters.

At HMN, we are honored to be celebrating 19 years of our community. Nineteen years of laughter and of tears, of challenges and celebrations. We are so grateful to have been able to find all of you, to share in your parenting journeys, and to build friendships that we never knew were possible. Our parenting veterans help mentor the new recruits, our leaders help us to find safe spaces to share, and each and every member brings something powerful to our community. We are so grateful to continue to serve this mission for all parents. We know the depth of how much support matters and are overcome with gratitude to be a part of your life. Thank you for being a part of the Holistic Moms Network, for your support, and for your love. We could not be prouder than we are to share this community with all of you.