Gathering, sharing with moms like me
The one job that I have loved most over the many I've held in my 21 years at The Honolulu Advertiser — the job of Hawaii MomsLikeMe.com site manager and host — happens to also be the one job that I very nearly didn't take.
Because I feared that I couldn't measure up.
I'm not a model mom. I yell. My kids don't get vegetables at every single meal. I let my 5- and 7-year-old watch TV sometimes — OK, a lot of the time. So how on earth could I dare to try to lead an online community of thousands of moms? What, if anything, did I have of worth to teach them?
As it turned out, I need not have worried. I didn't have to teach them anything.
They taught me.
Three years and 10,000 registered mom-members later, I am in awe of this exciting, loving, giving community of moms that has sprung up under the hot-pink banner of Hawaii MomsLikeMe.com.
And I am proud to say I've been their most eager student.
The moms have shared their lives and taught each other, including me, how to be better parents, better people.
They've generously shared with each other their hard-won wisdom on coping with everything from morning sickness, birth and potty training to discipline , dating, college preparedness and letting go. They've poured their hearts out online while getting married, getting divorced, having babies, losing babies, mourning lost loved ones, desperately missing a military spouse. They've commiserated online at the crack of dawn and 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. when a crime story in the news has riled them up or the husband mysteriously hasn't come home or the baby just ... won't ... stop ... crying!
Those mamas in fuchsia shirts also have given to the community, raising more than $12,000 for various charities, including the Race for the Cure and the March for Babies, and donating untold mountains of clothes, toys and books.
And they stick together. Every week, at one spot or another on this island, you can find bunches of women from Hawaii Moms LikeMe.com getting together for picnics, playdates, coffee breaks, dinners, movies, "Twilight" socials. I'm forever indebted to the dozens of "superwomen" who've enthusiastically given their time and spirit to serve as the site's discussion leaders, and to Diane Seo, who co-founded with me the site's predecessor, www.HawaiiMoms.com.
How I wish there'd been an online community like this when I was a brand-new mom, so isolated and unsure of what to do.
After today, the Hawaii Moms LikeMe.com website will still be found online for at least a while. When a decision is reached, it will be announced on the website (www.hawaii.momslikeme.com) and its adjunct pages on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/MomsLikeMe.Hawaii), Twitter (www.Twitter.com/Hawaii_Moms) and MySpace (www.MySpace.com/Hawaii_MomsLikeMe).
But whether or not you belong to the website, there is a message I want to convey to all mothers, something we've learned from our time as a community: Moms, seek out other moms. Don't go it alone. Your life will be so much richer, and there is so much to learn from the women who've walked the motherhood path before you.
That saying about how it takes a village to raise a child? It takes a village to raise a mom, too.
Reach Esme Infante Nii at www.facebook.com/Esme.IN.808.