Today we are officially leaving Seattle and moving south to Portland, OR and I could not be happier! My husband and I have lived in Seattle for 6 years now and have had many major life transitions here. We got engaged and then married, I completed my journey through Waldorf Teacher Training and finally, we had our son and he lived his first year here. We’ve always had an inkling to leave the city after my training was completed as that was our reason for moving here, but over the past year we have felt the conformation for this change.
In this city, I don’t have many close friends and family and when I say close, I mean within a mile of me! I of course have my wonderful PEPS group which is helpful, but not the same as family! It is too hard to drive 20-30 minutes to meet the almost daily needs of family when you have children. Especially in Seattle with all of the lakes that you must constantly work around and the crazy traffic! Going to Bellevue where a very dear friend lives is only a few miles away but is the biggest chore ever because of traffic and tolls! So I needed more; I needed a second family within walking distance that I would see all of the time and in Portland, this is what I will have!
I grew up with a girl that lived down the street from me. We met when we were around 6 or 8 and I saw her daily in the summer and most days during the rest of the year. Only now as an adult and mother I see how this benefited our mothers to be able to have a second family to support you just down the street! I’m told stories of how our mothers conspired with each other to get us out of the house for mom breaks, chores and errand running and this was much to our delight! We would make cookies with her mother and we would do art projects with my mother. Our childhood joys were keeping our mothers sane!
So now I will be living less than a mile from my childhood friend that also has a child 4 months younger than my son. (who, by the way, I can hear chatting in his sleep while I write this early in the morning of our move, too excited to sleep) I will regularly care for her child and see their family all of the time. We have plans to cook together every week, have monthly game nights, go on family vacations and generally see each other on a very regular basis. Having this community will not only benefit my sanity by allowing socialization but it gives me a fluffy pillow of support knowing that if I am truly struggling (like my challenge with ppd) I will have help and that I will be able to offer that same support to her family.
Raising children without this kind of support is very common these days and it is so unfortunate. My biggest wish is that one day all mothers can find a support system to help them and a community that children can be a part of. When children reach school age you do gain some of that community, but the first few years can be particularly isolating for new mothers and fathers. Fortunately, there are many resources that can help match you up with that support. Ideally, I would site the many resources, but I am moving today so I will have to leave that to you for now and update this later. For now, this is a great site with tips on finding the community you need.
What support systems did you find helpful for your new motherhood? Or is this still a struggle? I would love to hear your thoughts.