In Swahili, moyo means heart, life and spirit.
Three years ago we had no idea that moyo was a real word when a friend and I decided to call our new moms group MOYO. We used the word as an acronym for Moms Of Young Ones, because that was the group of women we were desperately trying to gather together.
When I first moved to Seattle from Atlanta with my husband and two small boys, I knew I needed to find a village. My husband and I had quickly found a sense of community at a church we started attending, but after talking to another mom of two little ones, I realized I was not alone in needing extra support in this special season of raising small kids. After another late-night gab session about midnight feedings, whining toddlers and exhaustion-induced marital spats, we knew it was time to make something happen. We decided to start bi-monthly gatherings for moms affectionately called “MOYO”, and the women began to show up, regularly, sharing their hearts and lives with us.
The relationships that were formed in our Thursday night MOYO meet-ups were crucial to my family’s livelihood. The stories that were shared, tears that were shed, prayers that were prayed, these all carried us deeper in relationship as women, and rooted us in knowing we were not alone on this road called parenting. As our friendships grew, so did our hearts grow for each others children and spouses. A tribe, a village indeed, was being knit together.
What was especially beautiful about this was group was not only did these relationships offer friendship and emotional support, it offered a rich tapestry of perspectives across racial, geographical and socio-economic lines. We were made up of African American, Haitian, Asian American, white, multi-racial families. We had bus drivers and doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs, teachers and stay at home parents. We had families from the East Coast, the Pacific Northwest, far away islands and even the Midwest.
Each family was unique and the more we heard each others stories, the more we realized how much we needed each other. We as parents need each others perspectives to be better parents not only to OUR kids, but to the community of kids we interact with on a daily basis, in our schools, parks, neighborhoods. Because I’m a white woman, I needed to hear the struggles my friends face raising children of color in America in order to be a better friend AND a better mother, teaching my children true compassion and humility as a person of privilege.
The depth of life and wisdom that came from these women’s hearts and these families experiences have shaped me in ways I can never repay. Though our group no longer meets on such a consistent basis, our lives are intertwined and overlapped, forming a network of support our family continues to rely on.
My desire with this blog is to share some of the hope that was stirred in that group of moms, and inspire mothers (and fathers!) to cultivate healthy hearts, lives and spirits as we open ourselves to a larger village. Parenting is hard enough as it is, so let’s be trust-ers and welcome-rs of other mothers who may not share the same story as us. And out of an awareness and compassion for who we are collectively as mothers and women, I believe families will flourish. Thank you for stopping by, and may you find a bit of ‘moyo mojo’ throughout these pages.