Over the past five weeks, we’ve walked along the motherhood journeys of some pretty amazing women! I admire each of them because they are tenacious, creative, intelligent and kind. Most importantly, they’re passionate about the sphere of motherhood they occupy!
We now arrive at the finale to this series and it brings me great joy to introduce two women who hold special places in my heart. I couldn’t discuss motherhood and friendship without them.
We’ve connected since our daughters were barely out of the toddler stage. Our girls now range in age from nine to eleven. Since 2016, we’ve deepened our fellowship through our daughters’ monthly Brown Girls Book Club. I could go on and on about my love for these women and their beautifully astute daughters but I’ll let them speak for themselves. I now fondly introduce to you Taliah Gachelin and Rashida Welbeck!
What has friendship meant to your motherhood journey?
T: Its definitely meant a lot, especially being friends with you…I get feedback on how you feel about things, how you to talk to your girls about boys, and so other many topics. It means a lot how I approach motherhood.
I was also extremely nervous about becoming a single mom to a teenage black boy. You see so much about racial profiling and other things on the news. I feel this way because he’s growing up in the suburbs. I worry about how he’ll interact with other boys…is he going to become another statistic?
Then, the Holy Spirit reminded me of Timothy [from the Bible] and his relationship with Paul. I then made a decision to have him in relationships with older, Christian men. My kids being raised in the church from a young age, has also helped them have a solid relationship with God.
R: For me, I don’t know if its just motherhood or simply place in life. But its been seasons of amplifying the women in my life and changing the dynamics of some of my friends who are moms and/or wives. For those who are single without children, they’re my kid’s aunties. But with my married mom friends, we’re pace setting because our kids are in the same age range and we can understand what we’re going through. Being a mother adds a sugar-coated layer when I think of both these groups.
Who is your village?
R: So, it was interesting in the framing in the “who is your village” because for me, its more like “What are my villages?” Its not just one cohesive group. Its extended family and extended families. With my father’s side of the family, my mother’s side and then my step side. These family villages all pour into my children’s lives.
Then there’s church communities. They’re all small, close knit groups who love on my children and love on me. They pour into my children and pour into me. I even have close friends in Nigeria. One in particular has a relationship where she’s an aunty to my kids.
And then there’s you two. We have a very beautiful relationship. In terms of our backgrounds and our faiths, we make sure our children are raised in culturally aware contexts and ensure our children are raised with a unique purpose.
T: My village would definitely be my family, my friends and my church. Like I said, church is very foundational for my children by building their lives for God. My church friends hold me accountable as a mom and as a Christian.
Elijah just went on a missions trip. I didn’t push him to do that. He genuinely wanted to. And Madison is like a little evangelist. A friend’s mom once asked what she wanted for Christmas and the friend said to get her a Bible. They’re both passionate about God and I attribute that to my village.
I think that’s how they’ve come out being such great kids even with me being a single mom. There’s so many ways they could go wrong with me being a single mom…you hear certain statistics but they haven’t gone down those avenues.
——At this point, Rashida and I couldn’t help but reaffirm our friend’s worth and value as a single mother. Even in an interview, being a friend and encouraging one another doesn’t stop! ——–
R: God makes up the difference when there is a single parent. God makes up your lack. Sometimes in this society, you see the idea that if you’re a single mother, you’re less than or inferior. But God is sharing that load with you! He’s providing you all you need. You don’t have to be father and mother because He is your children’s Father!
Since becoming a mother, what challenges if any, have you experienced in building and/or maintaining friendships?
T: It was harder when I was a young mom as opposed to now because a lot of my friends were still hanging out. Of course I wasn’t able to because I was a mom. And of course there’s the financial burden of being a mom. I think it gives you a gift and a challenge because you have a drive to do well for your children and to leave a legacy for them.
R: Its not so much the building that’s the challenge for me as much. I’ve had to live my life making a friend quickly. I’m the person who’s never known a stranger. Instead, I think the challenge has been to maintain and to strengthen my friendship bonds when I’m already so stretched at home. I’ll go a season and then realize I haven’t spoken to a friend in a while.
Not always having easy access to a sitter so I can’t go out is another challenge. Then I feel like I haven’t been able to look after my friends like I’ve wanted. That’s more the struggle…because I don’t have the bandwidth.
Has loneliness been apart of your motherhood journey and if so how have you dealt with it?
T: Loneliness hasn’t really been a part of my motherhood journey as much as it was a part of my journey as a wife. I definitely felt more lonely as a wife than I do now. I don’t know if I dealt with it very well back. That’s because I didn’t have the tools back then. I’ve also struggled with anxiety and feeling inadequacy.
Now that I’m in community, I struggle a lot less with loneliness. I’m a lot more vulnerable too. I think loneliness can be coupled with a lack of vulnerability. I’m now a lot more unapologetically vulnerable. Before, I wouldn’t say anything. I’d suffer in silence. I was afraid of overstepping a boundary or making the person feel uncomfortable. I also talk to older women, to hear what they’ve gone through and how they deal with things.
R: Sometimes a lack of vulnerability comes from issues of distrust or being hurt. But having a space where a friend creates a trusting environment allows vulnerability to come easier.
As for me, I can say I’ve never had a lack of an ability to pick up the phone and call someone. I’ve always had someone I could talk to. Loneliness wasn’t because there wasn’t enough presence.
But there’s been times when I’ve felt isolated. I could be talking to a really good friend but feel still feel misunderstood. I might be feeling inadequate as a mother or unsure of how to rise to the occasion for the things before me. And I didn’t have enough opportunities to be affirmed. But no amount of people can take that weight off.
Only the Lord can take that weight off.
What’s helped is really leaning into the Lord and truly pouring out to Him.
What’s one quality that’s a must for a friend? Or, what’s one quality you are unwilling to settle for in a friend now that you’re a mother?
T: Someone who’s loving is one quality that’s a must.
Now that I’m a mom, I’d want a friendship very similar to the friendships I’d allow my daughter to have. I give my daughter the same advice I give myself for friends. Being around you two and other women who have such high standards for how people treat them has also helped me have better standards for how I allow people to treat me.
R: I agree. I think you really captured what’s most important. The one thing that keeps coming to me is, I can’t deal with pretense. There’s a time in your life where you might deal with folks who you aren’t quite sure if they like you…do they love you for real or do they want something else?
I don’t have time and space for people like that now. I have space for people who give love genuinely. With the busyness of life, I sometimes don’t even have time to receive love from the friends who are real. So I definitely don’t have time for falseness. I want to model for my children how to be genuine people who draw genuine people to them as well.
T: God has really brought me a long way. I’m now understanding that friendships are a really big deal because God is making me see the impact of who I allow in my life. And with that being said, I’ve been really grateful for you ladies. God brought me out of a mind set of having such low standards in friendships. I see myself as Imago Dei [made in God’s image] and really value myself and my relationships.
R: Our touch point as friends was first as mothers to daughters. This conversation and the way we had it tonight would not have been possible had we not had that initial commonality. And the fact that we can have such a real conversation and share with transparency in a friendship that was rooted on that…I think that’s powerful!
Tonight, was a burden lifting conversation.
What can I say? These ladies are the real deal y’all! I can’t thank you enough Rashida and Taliah for sharing our friendship bond with my readers!
And dear readers,
I pray God strengthens what you have now in terms of friendship in your motherhood journey. But, if you feel some sort of lack in this area, my prayer for you is that God would provide all you need in terms of true, God-honoring friendships. But most of all, I pray He supplies you with the gift of His eternal friendship through the life, death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ!
Thank you for going on this motherhood journey with me. I pray its blessed your souls as much as its blessed mine. Until next time, I pray God’s peace and love over your lives!