“From the outside looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside looking out, you can never explain it.”
As I get older and (I’d like to think) wiser, I can’t help but look back on the road that led me to where I am today. I only graduated with my undergraduate degree four years ago, but being married and a mom makes it feel like it has been three times as long. Instead of drinking wine out of a bag, I go for a moderately priced bottle, and my evenings are spent picking up toddler toys and cuddling on the couch with my husband instead of doing whiskey shots and dancing to bad Top 40 music.
I always was designated the “mom” of my friend groups, not in that I always carried the Advil, was the first to show up with ice cream during a breakup, or because I really knew how to rock some high-waisted jeans, but because I just always felt that it was a part of who I was. When I was pregnant, I took classes, I read books, and I consulted with online moms groups way more than I’d like to admit. Here I am now, the parent of a 14-month-old in the trenches of toddlerhood, wondering how I made it through my first year and how I learned to parent. Then I had an unbelievable revelation: My sorority prepared me for motherhood.
You’re probably imagining every awful stereotype that has been perpetuated by the film industry and the news, but that’s what those are, stereotypes. I gained so many valuable life lessons from being a part of my sorority, and so many of those can be applied to motherhood:
1. I can withstand impressive volumes and decibels of noise.
There is no noise level like the noise level of a room of 150 girls before a chapter meeting. Nothing except the noise of a toddler running rampant on a bunch of Fisher-Price toys. Not only do I have the ability to handle decibels of that caliber, I can also command a room of loud college girls or toddlers within seconds.
2. I am all about singing songs.
I still love the songs we sang in my chapter. I sing them to my child pretty often. Especially a lullaby which (in my most wishful of thinking) would put my child to sleep. Either way, those recruitment songs with their catchy beats and hand motions and clapping trained me perfectly for what I endure on a daily basis. “If You’re Happy and You Know It”? “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”? Literally any Disney hit from the past 30 years? Get on my level, y’all.
3. I can pull an all-nighter and still fully function the following day.
All-nighters in college and all-nighters as a parent are two different worlds. One thing that they do have in common is that every time I’ve done it, I’ve been surprised that I survived. I would like to thank my days as a sorority girl for my ability to withstand functioning on two hours of sleep with a boxed wine hangover all while volunteering at 8 a.m. I now stay away from the boxed wine and drink the good stuff, but this is just as applicable when you’re parenting with a hangover. I would also like to thank my days as a sleep-deprived sorority girl for teaching me how to utilize dry shampoo and make myself look like a human being. Seriously, I’d be nothing without you.
Advice for new moms: Invest in dry shampoo before you even make it into the third trimester of pregnancy, you’ll thank me later.
4. I recognize the importance of tradition.
5. Crafting is a necessary skill in life.
I’ve always been on the crafty side of things. I’m not an artist by any stretch, but I am pretty damn creative and I can get crafty when I need to. My child is only a toddler, so the crafting only goes so far at the moment with Halloween costumes and homemade decorations for his 1st birthday party. If my obsessive crafting for twins (twin littles, that is) taught me anything it’s that I need to always use a stencil when it comes to lettering, and that crafting is good for the soul. Stay tuned for some future science projects, because they’ll be fucking epic.
6. Catty girls are a fact of life.
7. There is strength in numbers.
8. I’m all about squad gear.
9. Sorority wardrobe and mom wardrobe go hand in hand.
Speaking of mom shirts, let’s talk about how my sorority prepared me for the greatest thing of all: looking cute and comfy. Am I aware that walking around in a huge T-shirt and running shorts (that I never run in) makes me look like I rolled out of bed? Yes. Do I care? No. I dressed like that in college on campus, and it was socially acceptable. Now that I’m a mom I can do the same exact thing, and it’s still acceptable. Beautiful. Half the time I think the barista at Starbucks is impressed when she sees that I put on mascara or that I’m wearing a shirt that matches.
My sorority gave me so many amazing memories, incredible friends, and to my amazement, the skill set I needed to take on the craziest sisterhood of all: motherhood.