In our house, yaya means sister.

When our second daughter started to speak, she called her sister “yaya.” The name stuck. It changed over the years to become our word for “sister.” That’s what we are, mamas. Sisters — yayas — in this journey of motherhood.

Welcome, yaya, we’re glad you’re here.

When I first became a mom here on Maui I was ecstatic…but lost. Where were all the other moms & babies? How do I meet them? During all my birth & baby prep, I didn’t know how much I’d need mom friends—but it soon became very obvious I would. I was exhausted and desperate to talk with someone else who might be going through the same “new mom stuff” as me.

One night, when my first baby was around three months old, I went out to dinner with a friend. There, waiting for a table, was another mom with a baby about the same age as mine. I spent the whole dinner trying to figure out how to ask this stranger if she’d like to get together. I scribbled my name and number down on a used sticky note and asked her to call me.

About the yayasYou know what? She called.

After just one play date, it became clear how much I wanted mom friends…and how much moms need other moms.

I’ve gotten a lot braver since that sticky note.

When I couldn’t find an in-person moms group, I created one. It grew to almost 50 members in a matter of weeks. What a relief to find out I wasn’t the only new mom feeling this way! All of these beautiful women and their babies came together, sat on blankets, laughed, cried, and offered a genuine ear…we listened and shared without judgment. We were all brave & vulnerable coming together and being honest. We quickly learned that a kind ear goes a long way.

Over the years, we’ve found what works: kindness, compassion, and respect. When we get together (online or in-person), we can rest easy knowing we will be met with genuine support and not drama. We honor the fact that each of us is different—every child is different, every stage, every season, heck, every day is different—and just go from there. The support of my mom friends has meant the world to me. I would not be the mother I am today without them. My family is stronger because I’m stronger. And I’m stronger because of my friends and by constantly striving to better myself. I want the same for you.

Mama, I want you to know this feeling of genuine support and growth. You are not alone. I want you to be part of a loving, active group of women who are learning and growing side by side. Join us on this journey as we strengthen our families by strengthening ourselves through monthly challenges and support from peers in a respectful, positive community of fellow yayas.

Welcome. I’m so glad you’re here.

With Aloha,
Lori Beth Auldridge

Note: As I wrote all of this, I may have uttered the phrases, “No, you may not hit me with a taiko drum stick,” “Wow! Look at you cruising for the first time!,” “Please check in with your sister,” “We don’t eat crayons,” and “Yes, I have a coffee, but I’m going to need more…”

Lori Beth Auldridge is a mama bear to three little girls. She and her husband Chris run a renovation business in upcountry Maui. Lori Beth dreams up the designs and Chris makes all those dreams come to life. Her days are filled with her favorite things…coffee, writing, homeschooling, babywearing, audiobooks, binge reading parenting articles, miniature goats, fancy chickens, exploring Maui, moms groups, and more coffee.

Yayamamas is her way of spreading aloha and using her B.A., M.A., & M.F.A. degrees to put more good into the world.

So, what is a “yaya?”

yayas value motherhood. We as mothers live “purpose full” lives. Our most powerful parenting tool is our ability to model purpose-full work for our children. Whether we work outside the home, inside the home (or both!), we all have one job title in common: Mom. It is our job to model what we want to see in our children—friendship, gratitude, hard work, self-care, patience, compassion, kindness, and so much more. Our job as a mother is one of the most sacred, powerful roles we will ever take on. We can see and honor that in other moms…and more importantly, see and honor it within ourselves. Mama, you are very, very important.

yayas value a growth mindset. Growth in our children is obvious; they can wake up from a nap and seem bigger! It’s normal and expected. But what about growth as a mother? We may be transformed into a mom with the birth of our children, but it takes a while to grow into that role. There’s something new to learn in each parenting season, in every day, and every moment. We are here to support one another through the messy, ungraceful (but beautiful!) journey of motherhood. It’s important to honor how much we grow and change alongside our children.

yayas value genuine support. The start of good support is realizing that every mom parents differently—yayas don’t claim to know it all. We aren’t copies of one another. There is no one “right” way. Knowing this frees up lot of headspace and opens you up to new perspectives. We share what’s working for us (& what’s not!), what worked for one child, or what worked that one time. Sharing and shaming are two different things. We encourage you to share what’s worked well for you. Share your story so that a mama can read it and pull out some tidbits that might be helpful to her situation. No need to be defensive or make others bristle in defense: yayamamas is a drama free zone. You get what you give…so bring compassion, support, respect, and love. What you put out comes back to you tenfold, so pour out kindness and watch it come flowing back to you.

Make suggestions and tell your stories from the mindset that times change, people adjust, children grow, and all seasons of parenthood are different. Sharing from this flexible view takes away a lot of judgment that comes from us trying to see the world of motherhood as something that needs to look “the same.” In a world that values sameness (& even encourages it!), we know that the only constant is change. Our social media feeds won’t look the same because we aren’t the same. And that is more than okay!

yayas are practical. Motherhood isn’t always so deep or complex. Sometimes it really is a rolling script of poopy diapers, soccer schedules, and the constant mystery of “what’s for dinner?” So we’ll talk about practical topics, too…products we love, babywearing, book suggestions, childcare, etc. We’ll share articles and host a Q&A section (Ask the yayas) for moms who want to submit questions to the hive mind.

This is just the beginning…there’s much more to come! Thanks for being here on this journey! And thank you for sharing and growing alongside us. Mama, we’re so glad you’re here!

Be the example. For your kids. For your family. For your friends. For other moms. For yourself.