I Learned Everything From “Sex and the City” & Motherhood

I Learned Everything From "Sex and the City" & Motherhood | Twin Cities Mom CollectiveAs a person who has moved frequently in adulthood, I collect friends like I curate my wardrobe. I have mom friends and work friends, church friends and childhood friends. Friends I meet for coffee, and friends I only meet on my Instagram feed.  Then there are what I think of as my Samantha, Charlotte, Miranda, and Carrie—my Sex and the City girlfriends. 

Our friendship began over the all-you-can-eat pasta bar at the student union our first year of college, and it only grew and strengthened in our twenties when we followed each other to the big city, chasing dreams as high as Carrie Bradshaw’s heels. Just like every other 20 something in the early aughts, Sex and the City was our church. Our sanctuary was in our three bedroom walk up apartment, around the dented coffee table and the microsuede slipcover couches, a menagerie of castoff furniture handed down by our parents when they upgraded to the good furniture. We communed over wine, the cheap kind of course, and take out sushi. And then we collectively absorbed the wisdom preached to us by the show’s four leading ladies on how to be fabulous.

Through every struggle that came our way, from bad breakups to uncertain career shifts, we walked through it together. And just like Samantha and Miranda, Charlotte and Carrie, we discussed it in detail over cosmopolitans at happy hour or hangover relieving coffee at the cafe around the corner. Beyond sex and love, that show taught us that our friends are the ones who will sit with us through crisis. To our carefree and optimistic minds, it would be like this forever.

But that was all before children, of course.

***

“It’s a girl!” The text came across the phone on a Thursday night while I rushed to make dinner for my own two children.

I puddled in instant tears. After a long awaited pregnancy, my dear friend just delivered her first baby. The relief, the joy, all of it wrapped into that simple text to our girlfriend group.

As I stared at the phone willing the new parents to tame this anxious audience with a picture of the new baby, I felt a wave of different tears. These tears felt less like joy and more like sadness. Suddenly the miles between me and the new mom were too many.

I was of the first of us to have a baby. My girlfriends rallied around me like the adopted aunts that they were. They brought meals, held babies, distracted me from the fears of new motherhood with their normal, childless lives. Now it was my turn to care for my friend as a new mom.

I wanted to show up at the hospital with a bottle of champagne and a tiny baby hat.

Because that is what my friends did for me.

I wanted to come over with a bag of Thai takeout and hold the new baby while the parents scarfed down a meal as fast as they could.

Because that is what my friends did for me.

I wanted to meet her for brunch and talk to her about Real Housewives of Wherever, or my job, or her wedding, or that crazy blind date, or anything and everything that had nothing to do with spit up and nipple shields and nap schedules.

Because that is what my friends did for me.

When I first became a mother, my girlfriends physically surrounded me with love and kindness and helping hands because that is what we always did for each other in need. We gathered around a table and talked about everything or nothing, just like Samantha and Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte.

But it’s no secret that life isn’t always as it appears on screen. We “grew up.” We got married, moved away, settled down in four different plane rides away from the life we thought we would live together. The coffee shop around the corner was not as available as we thought it would be. Not when we lived states away. Not while I had my own little mouths to feed and babies to hold. It felt like the greatest irony—in a moment when new motherhood had us needing our friendships the most, mothering was the very thing that kept us from each other. In this moment, I felt a million miles and a million stages away.

But then she reached out. We chatted on the phone about all of the exhaustion that surround that first day/week/month of new life. A group text flew around as the seasoned mothers shared our own stories of postpartum life, the good, the bad, the honest, and the ridiculous.

It occurred to me then that there was more to supporting a friend than I once knew.

I may not be able to show up at her door with a casserole, but I could send her the link to my favorite sound machine app. I may not be able to hold her baby, but I could respond to a text message at 3 AM because she is up feeding and I am up worrying, as all moms do. I may not be able to distract her with a conversation over brunch but I could distract her with a funny meme or opinions on the efficacy of night cream, and she can get to that conversation in her own time, probably at 3 AM.

Even when we couldn’t be together, I could be there for my friends.

I had no idea how much I would need this wisdom one day.

***

I sit at the breakfast table, hot coffee in hand, and chat with my girlfriends. There is a crisis in our world today and we address it with the same attention we bring to toddler meltdowns and celebrity gossip.

Ok here we go. I put a bra on and I am headed downstairs to work! Wish me luck!

Help, how am I going to give him a haircut?

You have to read this post, y’all; I needed this laugh today. 

Their words, affirmations, cheers, and prayers land on my weary heart. Tears flood my face but so does a smile. I feel their love and support wrapping me in comfort, as steady as it ever was.

Only the chairs at my table are empty. There is a global pandemic outside our walls, with no access to community but through the technology in our hands. We are feeling terrified and isolated. 

And yet, with their words in my ears, or my hands as the case may be, I don’t feel alone. It is almost as if my dearest friends are right here at this table, talking over coffee about our fears and uncertainties, like we have always done.

Because this IS as we have always done. They are the friends that gather around me in spirit, drop off pep talks instead of casseroles, wrap me in words instead of hugs, and guide me through every crisis, big or small. Perhaps we have prepared for this moment of social isolation all along. We know how to care for our friends from far away because it is what we first learned to do, when all we had was a phone and a text message chain.

I think back to those early days when I longed to sit with my friend and her new baby. As new mothers, we need the meals and the extra hands and the distractions. We need the friends that can be there in person and help us through the everyday. But we also need the support, the cheers, and the hysterical gifs that remind us to smile again. Honest friendships show up in a variety of ways. There was wisdom to collect from the preachings of Sex and the City, about sex and love and most importantly how to be there for my friends through crisis. But it is motherhood that taught me the most important lesson of all—how to do this from afar.

Today, when it feels like the whole world is a million miles away, I am grateful I can still gather with my friends, one text message at a time.

Rachel Nevergall
Rachel, the creative free-spirited one, met her husband, the organized practical one, discovered he was WAY better at cleaning the kitchen and realized he was one she should hang on to. Together they have three children born in three different states but since landing in their south Minneapolis neighborhood two years ago decided with the access to good ski trails, running paths and beach side picnics, this might just be their forever home. Rachel is the curator of family adventures, builder of epic train tracks, lover of all of the library books, and writer in the in-between. She shares about the confluence of her child development background and the realities of parenting on her blog Raise and Shine Blog.

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