Lately it seems all the headlines I read online or in the paper sound something like: “What American parents are getting wrong” “American parenting is killing marriage” “French Kids Eat Everything” “Danish kids are the happiest in the world” and on and on. I’ve even had articles shared with me announcing that parents these days are ruining their children, giving reasons that contradict each other. I’ve grown a bit tired of all the negativity around parenting in the U.S. and wanted to get something off my chest as I sit here looking at these photos from a rendezvous we had with one of my first “mom friends” and her adorable family. This might not be what you signed up for. Like I’ve said more than once though, “I couldn’t help myself.”
Yes, maybe there is much to improve on, but there is one thing I believe parents in the U.S. are thriving at. From the start of your parenting journey, there is support and community in all forms and it doesn’t go away. When I had Grace two and a half years ago, I was quickly being told about “Mommy and Me” music classes, invited to baby storytimes, given pregnancy tips, added to breastfeeding support groups, baby-wearing meetups, birthing classes and basically anything baby/pregnancy/parenting related. Now, friends will even set up a meal delivery train for you so you won’t starve in those early months. This support continues well into parenting, whether it be a little comment from a stranger at a grocery store, small talk at the park or an invite to a kid’s birthday party. I hear and ask, “How are you doing?” and “How’s it going?” over and over. Moms in this country support other moms. Even introverted moms who don’t want to get out much can find support on social media groups and have a good laugh from the endless Scary Mommy articles. Not to mention the wide range of organizations out there to help parents in need from birth and onward.
I have met, laughed and even cried a bit with moms of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientations, working, not working, older, younger, etc. I have had some of the best conversations with moms I haven’t ever seen again, yet we happened to be at the same park that day, and we both were what each other needed, to be able to relate. I have become friends with amazing women who started out as my “mom friends” and now they are just my friends. I know that I can reach out to any one of them on any given day and they will be there, even if just to vent about something trivial. I now look forward to getting together with them minus kids and plus lots of wine.
No job, no social status, no soul searching trip around the world, no advanced degree, no years of being a nanny and working with kids can prepare you for having your own. Some days are blissful, some are miserable. No matter what you’ve done in your life before kids, nothing will exempt you (apparently not even if you are the Duchess of Cambridge) from a teething clingy baby or an embarrassing toddler having an off day. When you have children, you are starting from ground zero and we are all in it together. You will need support whether you want to admit it or not. When they say it takes a village, it really does – parents in the U.S. get that and we take care of one another. We value the village, the tribe, and I’m glad to be raising my kids here.
Well, now that that’s off my chest, I thought I’d share a few pictures from a delightful day trip to visit the open air, seasonal Honeysuckle Tea House located in back roads Chapel Hill. If it’s any indication in the photos, we all very much enjoyed ourselves. Tea and treats for the adults, sand, swings and Locopops for the kids. I can’t even begin to describe their amazingly curated tea collection – so many I’d never even heard of before! The matcha lavender latte, the lounging in the hammocks, even with the heat and child monitoring, it all felt very Zen. It was a nice change of scenery from living smack dab in the middle of the constantly growing and developing Raleigh. Literally we are right next to a parking deck and there has been construction surrounding our neighborhood for more than a year! The Tea House on the other hand is surrounded by nature, thriving herb and flower beds, berry patches and more. They call it a pastoral oasis and it is. If you are anywhere in the Triangle area, it’s certainly worth a visit!
Hope you enjoyed the photos! -Addie