Building Community: Making Space for Other Adults

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When I was a young girl, there were a handful of women that I had my own relationship with. My own mother had very good women friends and she encouraged me to have my own one-on-one connection with them.

There was Victoria who lived across the walk street; I would cross the sidewalk to her house, we would make strawberry smoothies and play Monopoly on her front porch. There was Candace, a gorgeous thesbian filled with imagination; Candace sewed me a gold velvet Christmas stocking, took me to a grown-up cafe, and took me ice-skating. Victoria and Candace didn’t have their own children. My mom gave these women an outlet for mothering, tending and paying attention to a young child, as well as a life long relationship; these women are still in my life. I use the gold stocking each year and now Candace takes my three children to the library, cafes and ice-skating.

There were also the other mothers in my mom’s social circle, with whom she pro-actively encouraged me to forge my own relationship. This meant letting another mother hold me if I fell, or letting another mother show me how to use a caligraphy pen; even though my mom is a great cuddler and the queen of script, she gave other mothers an opportunity to get in close with me in a mattering moment. In doing so, I learned that I could trust other adults besides my parents. I learned how to clearly identify my needs and wants in any moment and how to articulate this to others. My mother was confident enough in her love for me to let me be truly loved by others.

My mother cared for me intuitively, deeply and passionately; she didn’t give responsibility to others because she couldn’t do it all; instead, she made a conscious decision to build intentional, deep, long-lasting community around me, and the opportunity for me to flex my ability to love and trust.

As it stands, all the women my mother let into my inner circle are in my life now. They are my “soul-aunties.” I call on them now as I raise my children. They are an active part in my children’s lives, and they help guide me as I navigate the parenting waters on a daily basis.

My mother could have kept a tighter circle around me and tended to my every need, but instead, she created space for others to step in and meet my needs. In doing this, my mom gave me the opportunity to learn the rhythm of another adult, to feel a collective circle of love, celebration and protection around me, and to widen my own ability to trust and to communicate.

The circle continues as I encourage my momma friends to get in deep with my three children. In the willingness to open the circle and  let others in, in a profound way, the love deepens and the seeds of long-lasting community are planted.

Are there other mommas in your circle? Have you ever let them meet your child’s need/request even if you are right there? Were there other significant adults in your childhood?

Love, Jessica

LoveParentingImage3emailedJessica leads L.O.V.E. Parenting classes in Los Angeles & privately in person, by telephone & world-wide with Skype. www.LoveParentingLA.com

Jessica Williams

About Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams created L.O.V.E. Parenting with a series of techniques for effective communication, deepened connection and more joy in parenting and life. Jessica is also the creator of www.UltimateParentingCourse.com with the best of today’s progressive parenting experts together in one program. Jessica is a featured expert internationally on both Mothering.com’s Ask An Expert and the upcoming www.KidsInTheHouse.com. Jessica is a regular contributor to Mothering Magazine’s All Things Mothering, LA Parent Magazine, LA Mom Magazine & DailyBuzzMoms. She has been interviewed on television and radio and taught workshops at family wellness centers, schools and doctor’s offices. Her BirthKit has helped women have a transformational & empowering birth. Jessica maintains a private coaching practice in her native Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and their three children. “Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss. “All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet. “I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea Bendewald.