Written by Shea Walsworth
Edited by Beth Zollars
2 Minute Read Time
I am thrilled to have our next guest contributor for our feature segment “2 Minute Mom”. I met Shea several years ago when our kids were in school together, hers bookending mine.
She was one of “THOSE MOMS”- (in a good way) showing up at school sparkly bright- poised, beautiful, warm and ready to take on what needed to be done for her kids and the school.
Myself, sightly always “a mess” – I wish I was more “Shea- Like”.
Fast forward, now an empty-nester she reflects on her experiences in the rear-view mirror and also going forward in her 2.0. How impactful the importance of having a support team “Mom Squad” and moreover knowing it is ok to lean on them while raising our kids into adulthood.
Here are Shea’s thoughts.
MORE THAN A MOM SQUAD
I’m not good at asking for help. Yet when I was facing the challenges of parenthood, I started with the What to Expect When You’re Expecting book series and later went to workshops on raising teenagers, but above all, the best resource has been fellow moms who have blazed the path before me.
These ladies are my heroes, my role models, my beloveds.
They probably don’t realize that they are in my life for a reason, but I look to them as more than a friend.
As I have come to know them, I have come to love and respect who they are and the beautiful ways they are mothering their grown children and grandchildren.
They emit wisdom and confidence. I’m a visual learner, so it helps me to see what my future self could look and be like.
When my son was born 21 years ago, I lamented that he didn’t come with an instruction manual. Two years later, my daughter was born in a new city, with a new pediatrician.
This time, I got what I wanted — a 40-page document with everything I needed to know for the first year. My pediatrician had written “READ THIS” in large letters at the top of page one. But the how-tos on bathing, feeding and sleep schedules were only designed to get me through the first year.
Fast forward to me now as a 50-year old mother, in the second stage of life, with my little ones suddenly beginning and finishing college.
Deep breath, because I don’t feel like I am old enough to be here.
What has kept me grounded and sane is surrounding myself with amazing women who inspire me.
I’ve collected them from my family circle, book club, neighborhood, fitness studio and church.
They filled me in on the roller coaster of menopause.
They inspired me to visit Blackberry Farm as an empty-nester.
They have showed me how to stay calm during wedding planning.
They laugh often.
They love big.
They have encouraged me when I’ve doubted myself. They have become like family, and my heart overflows with gratitude.
In them, I see glimpes of who I want to be as a maturing woman, as a mother of grown children, as a wife, as a grandmother. I observe and take note of their famlly rituals —whether it be Sunday dinners, regular sleepovers with grandchildren or annual multi-generational trips.
I pay attention to their patterns and observe what it looks like to be in the next phase of motherhood.
Over last summer, my family did a bucket-list safari to Tanzania.
It was an amazing adventure. I highly encourage it as a way to leave your comfort zone, get into the wild and unplug from technology. Note: pictures don’t do justice to those gorgeous sunsets.
The animal kingdom teaches its lessons up close and personal.
I was fascinated by the prides of lions, towers of giraffes and parades of elephants traveling in groups of 10-20 — led by the grandmother, followed by her daughters and their babies — sticking together to protect the children and teach them how to survive.
I love this picture of powerful, confident females who know there are strength in numbers. Where were the males? Well, quite frankly, they’re not that involved in daily family life. They hang out on the fringe sleeping, hunting when food is needed, and of course, coming around occasionally to mate.
You don’t have to go halfway around the world to appreciate this image of the circle of life — the older teaching the younger, the younger teaching the next generation and so on.
Receive, then give.
It’s a beautiful metaphor for the journey of motherhood, wherever you are, and the importance of having mom mentors.
It’s OK to lean on the experience of those who have gone before us.
We can survive on our own, but we thrive when we are part of a greater community.
Who do you lean on? Who creates your mom squad?
Comment below and thanks for visiting Elizabeth by the Sea.
Shea Walsworth is a former public relations consultant who shifted to full-time family CEO 15 years ago. She enjoys travel, volunteering, reading, cooking, and anything that involves her creative juices. She has been married for 26 years and has two college-aged children.