This summer, we did some awesome stuff.  We beached, we swam, we picked berries, we got chickens.  We road tripped.  Did we ever road trip.  I piled all of the little darlings into the white minivan, and we drove through five states to visit our friends from waaaay back.  The three of us met and roomed together in college, which simultaneously seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago. We each have three kids, who all turned out to be girls (except one, who, for obvious reasons found somewhere else to go during the girl fest that invaded his house).

We fell into easy conversation catching up on what had happened since we were last together.  When was that, anyway? We laughed.  We tried on bridesmaid dresses from our weddings. Yes, it was very late at night.  Yes, there is a photo that got posted on social media.  No, it is not flattering.

What impressed me the most, besides how quickly the kids declared themselves the second generation of besties, was how different each of us are and how different we are as mothers.  But that we’re all doing an awesome job and raising amazing kids!

Working full-time, part-time, stay at home; living in suburbs, country, beach town; natural birth, “give me the drugs,” c-sections; private school, public school, homeschool; there are so many different way to have and raise a child!

In this age of infinite Pinterest ideas and constantly being fed images of only your friends’ happiest moments on Instagram and Facebook, it’s easy to feel subpar as a mom.  Why didn’t I make birthday party invitations with matching centerpieces and favors for my child’s party?  How did she get all four of her children to look at the camera and smile at the same time?  They must be happier, smarter, healthier, more content.  We could go on and on (and, believe me, I do).

Sometimes you just need to hear that you’re doing a good job.  Actually, I need to hear it a lot.  And I’m here to say it to you.  YOU’RE DOING A GOOD JOB!  You’re an amazing mom who makes hard decisions and personal sacrifices every day.  Since the day you found out you were pregnant you’ve given your all to this endeavor called motherhood.  No, you haven’t always kept your cool when you should have.  You haven’t always made the best decisions.  You’ve fed them ice cream for breakfast and got mixed up on which day was pajama day at school (yes, I actually sent my kid to school in pajamas the day before pajama day).  Motherhood is love, not perfection.

Even though we each do it our own way, we moms need each other.  We need each other, not so we can make comparisons about who is doing it better, but so that we know we’re not alone in the struggles.  I need to know that I’m not the only one who sometimes yells at my kids, who sometimes needs a night off, who sometimes throws a frozen pizza on the table and calls it dinner, who sometimes steals away to the bathroom to eat my secret stash of dark chocolate without interruptions.

We need those moments with other moms, whether they happen often or just once in awhile to remind us that this motherhood thing is tough but good, that everyone has their own way, that you’re doing it well.  To give one another a good, old fashioned pat on the back.