We were outnumbered. Four girlfriends.  FIVE children under three with one more on the way.

We were officially outnumbered.

On Friday evening, Levi and I dropped Dave off to work and headed over to meet up with some of my favourite girlfriends.  All of us are mothers now.  Newborns, toddlers and womb-babies all a-go around us as we attempt to catch up on the chaos of life with each other.  Times have most definitely changed.  Broken conversations in between attending to the little ones; tears, delirious overtired laughter, trying to catch each other up on the latest goings on, struggles and joys.  Ordering in food instead of cooking because, REALLY.  FIVE UNDER THREE.

The scene was chaotic, yet warm and familiar and as I looked around at these strong beautiful women, I felt so grateful to be able to mother alongside them.  There we were in our fragile, worn out spirits, yet not thinking twice about picking up another ones crying child when they fell, changing nappies so that someone else could do a feed; stealing short, comforting conversations letting each other know that we are heard.  We are understood.  We are the same.  What a privilege to have friends to ride this parenting rollercoaster with.

There is no room for disguises in these early parenting friendships.  It's not supposed to look easy.  Parenting is hard and it exposes us.  It reflects back at you in sharp and unexpected ways.  But the struggle unites us; that's the story the world over.  The tiredness, the questions, the guilt, the frustration -  you won't get by unless you have friends to empty all of that out in front of.  Trust me.  You just won't.   And somehow, you find yourself stronger when you know you're not alone.  Some of my hardest parenting stages have been eased by a short confirming conversation with a friend who tells me they have been there, acknowledged it was hard and assures me I will live to tell the tale.  Empathy is powerful.  None of us really know what we are doing too much.  We are all doing our best, mustering up the energy to love our children well every day.

Friendship certainly does look different these days; a little less spontaneous but a lot more honest.