A year or so ago at library story time, I informed a mom that her shirt was on inside out and then I kept an eye on her child while she ran to the restroom to rectify her wardrobe malfunction. Upon her swift return, she expressed her thanks and uttered a phrase I’ve heard countless times since becoming a mom, “It takes a village, huh?”
We’ve all heard this phrase, right? The saying used to hold very little meaning for me as a self- reliant stay-at-home-mom to one. I didn’t need a village. My oldest and I filled our days with mommy and me music class, library story time, zoo play dates, and lazy days at home. And then, the news that would change our lives forever: “Three sacs, three babies, three heartbeats.” Triplets. The question I began to hear the most was, “Do you have help?!” Because we live so close to much of our family, we do have plenty of help, luckily for us. With four children under 2 and a half, the idea of not depending on others went completely out the window. And by God’s good grace, my village began to form.
I joined Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples when I was still pregnant with my triplets, who are now 3. For a while after they were born, I wasn’t able to attend meetings or events for months just because of the logistics of having a toddler and three newborns to leave behind. Once my babes were a bit easier for my husband to put down for bed by himself, I was able to re-enter the land of the living and start joining in on meetings and events. Meanwhile, the very active FWMoM Facebook page kept me in the loop and connected to my fellow moms of multiples.
On the page, questions are asked, encouragement is given, solutions are brainstormed, and support is offered freely. What an amazing age to live in; I may have never met you but you can reach out to me and give some of the best advice! Since I’ve been part of the community now for three and a half years, I have been on both the receiving and the dispensing end of guidance and I’ve seen moms go from bravely reaching out for help in their post-partum anxiety to reaching out from the other side to offer reassurance that it does, in fact, get better.
A very practical way that moms can be of assistance to other moms is sharing belongings between families, very evident in our extremely popular members-only buy/sell/trade page. Daily you can find matching twin clothing sets being posted for purchase at a fraction of the original cost, free formula and diapers being offered up, and toys being passed along from older kids to younger kids. There is one infant swing currently being passed around from mom to mom free of cost; it’s on its way to the fourth FWMoM family! These hand-me-downs are especially important when a family is trying to provide quality items for multiple kids of the same age.
For me, the place where my village truly began to build and relationships continue to solidify is in-person connections. At meetings and social events, it’s so nice to be able to leave our family worries behind at home and walk into a space full of other moms who “get it,” where I can count on my heart being filled by true conversations with other adults (at times, a rarity!) and I can be a PERSON for a while; a WOMAN, not singularly a MOM. Additionally, at family events and play dates, I always know my fellow MoMs have my back. They keep an eye on my kids and I do the same for them. Having been a part of other mom groups, I can say with authority that moms of multiples do this better than any other moms! The thought of taking my four young kids to the children’s museum or a trampoline park by myself induces anxiety but if my FWMoM friends will be there, I have no stress because I know they will watch out for my kids and help me in any way I may need.
Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples members have possibly only one commonality drawing us together. We come from different backgrounds, up-bringing, belief systems, political parties, etc. But the one thing that draws us together is the unique experience of raising children of multiple births. Once we’re drawn together, we begin building the relationships that create a “tribe.” Our battles can be fought together, and our victories can be celebrated together, as they should be! Even better, our kids are part of our tribe, too. When my kids ride with me to deliver meals to new moms and we talk about how others did the same for us when our babies were little, they see me serving other moms and they see what it’s like to belong to something bigger and greater than themselves. Our children need to learn how to be part of a community, to give back, serve others, and share love. As moms, we can look for opportunities to be the village to other moms. And in doing so, we teach our children this way of living, too.
Emily Dennis is mom to 5 year old Caroline and 3 year old triplets, Jameson, Shepherd, and Audrey. She serves FWMoM as the social coordinator.