Updated: Apr 5
I didn’t realize that day I’d be getting a lesson on how to stop eating in the bathroom alone and to instead, make new friends. I should be honest up front though and admit that I believe it was the extra mayo on my cheese and pickle sandwich that had started the whole thing.
That particular day, my mom had made me a cheese and pickle sandwich with extra mayo, and let me tell you I LOVED extra mayo cheese and pickle sandwiches. The problem was there was a particularly horrendous smell in the bathroom that day and while I would usually just throw my lunch away if I couldn’t stomach it, I was not about to throw this one away. So I packed it up and headed outside, desperate to find a seat where I could really dig into my extra mayo cheese and pickle sandwich.
There sat my entire class, all of them seemingly enjoying their lunch in the California sunshine. I scanned the tables and stopped at the table with the girl who had the biggest and brightest smile ever. Her name was Natalie and she’d introduced herself to me the first week of school. And since then, she always smiled at me whenever our paths crossed.
I bet she’d be my friend.
I bet I could eat my extra mayo cheese and pickle sandwich at her table.
I walked confidently to the table she was sitting at with two other girls, all of them laughing at something I knew nothing about. Not missing a beat, or possessing much tact, I inserted myself into their conversation by blurting out, “Can I sit with you guys?”. And you know what, that was all it took. Those three 12 year olds embraced me from the moment I sat down next to them and started eating my delicious sandwich. I don’t remember what was said after that but I do remember that it was like we'd all been friends forever. And me and Natalie, the girl with the brightest smile and kindest eyes, became fast friends.
I can’t believe that was 25 years ago. And luckily, now the only times I eat in the bathroom are when I need to eat something sweet that I told my kids wasn’t good for them. While I do eat extra mayo cheese and pickle sandwiches on rare occasions, they now hurt my tummy. But one thing remains the same. Natalie is still one of my best friends. She’s a soul sister who the universe placed in my life for not only the purpose of true friendship but for creating positive change together in the world. She and I went on to co-found The Maternal Revolution together. Needless to say, she brings lots of joy to my life. And I’m so grateful that I loved extra mayo sandwiches so much that I inserted myself into a group of friends who embraced me so.
The thing is, and maybe you’ve experienced this too, as I grew older there were times I was afraid to befriend other women and mamas. And if I’m being honest, sometimes it was because of their talents, or their beauty, or their intelligence, or their seemingly great life. Has that ever happened to you, too? It sure makes me sad to think of the wonderful women I could have been blessed by, all that joy, if I hadn’t closed myself off or been threatened by them. Of course, there have been many times I’ve tried to befriend women and mamas only to be left thinking I should have just stayed in the bathroom and eaten lunch alone. Metaphorically speaking of course. Well, mostly.
I know each one of us has our own friendship stories and journeys and I know deep in my bones just how important those are. In fact, Natalie and I talk a lot about how important friendship and the sisterhood of motherhood is. And that’s because we truly believe that’s where a real maternal revolution begins. That’s where equality has to start, where respect begins, and where support can grow from the inside out. Revolutionizing motherhood isn’t just about making changes to social policies. It’s about revolutionizing the way we interact with each other. It’s about changing the way motherhood looks and feels for ALL of us.
The problem is, it seems like so many of us mamas, so often of the time, sit alone in metaphorical bathrooms eating our metaphorical lunches by ourselves. We can be so closed off, for reasons that vary greatly, to one another. Closed off to the power, joy, support, and love that comes in the form of friendship and sisterhood.
So I ask you this important question, what’s more revolutionary than mamas not having to eat their extra mayo cheese and pickle sandwiches by themselves in the bathroom anymore? What could be more revolutionary than THAT?! I certainly can’t think of anything.