Dear Second Mom to My Kids:
When I look back at my own childhood, certain adults dominate my good memories. My parents, of course, and some great teachers in school helped mold me into who I have become. But there’s a handful of women who stand out as sources of comfort, as loving safe havens, as lights of guidance along the path of my young life.
Most of these women were my mom’s friends, my friends’ moms, or both. They were my mother figures when my own mother wasn’t there. They were women I could go to if I needed anything — a snack, a Band-Aid, a listening ear. They loved me like I was their own child when I was under their care.
They were my second moms, my “aunties,” my examples of “it takes a village” in action.
They were to me what you are to my children, and I can’t begin to express how thankful I am to you for filling that role.
When my kids are in your care, I know they are safe, and they know it too. You offer my kids security away from home, helping them build bonds of trust in a world that can often seem scary or daunting. You offer consoling hugs and kiss their boo-boos when they need it and encourage them to be brave and brush things off when they don’t.
Not only are they physically secure with you, but they are also emotionally safe too. We may not parent in exactly the same way, but our shared core values and respect for children offer my kids a similar-yet-different experience with loving guidance and discipline. From you, they are gaining diverse examples of good parenting, which I’m sure will follow them into their own parenting journeys, just as my second-mom examples have followed me into mine.
You serve as an example to my kids in so many ways. I love that they get to see good character qualities in a different adult personality than my own. We all benefit from seeing integrity, honesty, compassion, creativity, and other virtues reflected in diverse ways, but kids especially need to see that in the adults around them. I love that my children get to see your strengths and perhaps see that they mirror some of their own.
The fact that you welcome my children into your home and into your family life means the world to me. Your kind hospitality gives them an opportunity to feel at home away from home, but also lets them practice their manners and courtesy. And you take that responsibility on without hesitation, reminding them to say please and thank you, making sure they clean up after themselves if they forget, and providing consistent backup for the lessons we try to teach them. Your second mothering makes my parenting that much easier, and I happily return the favor.
I love that we can take each other’s kids to give one another much-needed breaks. I love that my children feel like part of your family and yours feel like part of mine. I love that we’ve figured out how to dance in and out of parenting roles with each other’s kids without stepping on too many toes. I love that you tell me when my kid is doing something that needs my attention.
I love that my kids have other moms as models. I love that they know they can go to you for help or support or for whatever they need in my absence. They may even go to you someday instead of me, for a personal problem or for guidance on how to handle an issue you’re particularly suited to. I love that too. I love that they are surrounded by mommy mentors that they — and I — can trust.
Thank you for being there for my kids. Thank you for opening your home and your heart to them. Thank you for filling in the gaps that I can’t fill. Thank you for loving my children as they grow and change, for cherishing who they are, and for honoring who they are becoming. Thank you for embracing them as if they were your own.
It takes a village to raise a child — and to raise a mother. You are my village, and I couldn’t be more grateful.