A community divided

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I’ve noticed something about motherhood – the ‘hot button’ issues – they heat up quickly and seemingly divide what could be such a wonderful, “whole” community of women.  My first glimpses of this happened when my firstborn was just a baby. I was literally just trying to survive each day when all of a sudden I found myself wondering if I should be baby wearing, questioning vaccines, using alternative medicine, buying organic cotton clothes – you name it. I didn’t know any of this was a “thing” until I was right in the thick of it. When I was pregnant, I guess I focused only on what I needed to know about pregnancy and childbirth – which was so much already. I think I just figured my instincts would kick in once my daughter was born? Continue reading “A community divided”

Birds of a Feather

A couple of girlfriends contacted me personally following my Find Your Flock post on surrounding yourself with other mommas. They wanted a little more depth on the subject.

Why do I need other mom friends, you ask?  And why do you?  Because if you’re staying at home with your children, you need adult interaction.  You’ll go crazy without it!  Also, it helps to ease your mind when you talk with another mother who knows exactly what you’re going through with your child’s current stage.  Having someone else to share in both the hard times and the joy helps so much!  The question my girlfriends also posed in response to my post is how to go about finding these friends. These girls in particular recently moved across the country with little ones.

When I first moved to Orange County, I had only two or three girlfriends down here.  I was commuting up to my job in Los Angeles, so I was still able to see my friends up there quite a bit and didn’t “need” to find any down here.  Once I had my baby and quit my job, all of that changed.  I instantly craved the support of other moms.  I remember googling “mom and baby yoga in Orange County” and seeing Granola Babies at the top of the list.  I immediately signed up for a weekly class and that’s where I met two mothers right off the bat.  Our babies were all born within two weeks of each other so we had a ton to talk about!  Besides the mommy/baby yoga class, I attended a weekly breastfeeding support group and I also started doing a mom/baby bootcamp soon after that.

I’ve made friends throughout the years in other ways too.  Below is a small list of ideas and places I’ve found to be good ways to connect.  Please feel free to share other ideas in the comments!

  • Go to parks.  There was a park I walked to almost every day in my old neighborhood when my daughter was smaller.  I would see the same moms again and again and we started doing playdates at each other’s homes.  The key here is going to the same park or parks consistently – otherwise you won’t see the same people.
  • Enroll your little one in a Gymboree class or some other local music or Mommy & Me class. It’s another great way to meet people, as you’re in the same place for a set amount of time week after week.
  • Check out local churches for mom groups – I did one of these when my daughter was almost a year and it was heavenly (no pun intended).  We were placed at the same table each week so we really got to bond with one another throughout the year.  It included breakfast and childcare, so we actually got to talk without our kids present!  We did playdates on the side quite a bit too.
  • Check out local baby boutiques as mentioned above for mom and baby classes and support groups.  Again, you’re all in the same boat if you’ve shown up to the same place.
  • Work out with your baby – sign up for a baby boot camp or stroller strides and bond with your little one while getting some exercise – and hopefully meeting a new friend or two.
  • Check out story time at your local library and keep going!  Again, consistency is key if you aren’t good at talking to people right off the bat.
  • Malls that have play areas are also a nice spot to connect with other parents, especially in the winter or rainy season.  Pottery Barn Kids has a regular story time and so does Barnes and Noble. If your mall has a Land of Nod, there are a million things for your kid to do in that store!  The moms usually stand around and chat while the little ones play.

If you’re hesitant to reach out to other moms to see if you connect, just remember you have the same things in common – your kids!  That’s a huge conversation starter.  It’s always good to ask how old the other child is, and then (hopefully) the mother reciprocates, and before long, you’re sharing birth stories.  The conversation seems to progress organically after that.  Don’t get discouraged if you don’t meet anyone you click with at first.  Keep at it.  I remember my first attempt to meet mothers at a breastfeeding group didn’t go so well.  I didn’t relate to any of the moms there.  But I was persistent, and soon I met my mom friends I was meant to be with.

I hope this has been a helpful follow-up and that you’re able to connect soon with other mommas.  It’s so, so important to not go through this journey alone!

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Find Your Flock

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One of the best things to happen to me since becoming a mother nearly four years ago, is stumbling into a self-formed group of four other new mamas. We met at Granola Babies, an awesome boutique in Orange County that hosts a variety of support groups and classes as well. We all meshed really well together and were similar in some ways but different in others. What started off as a once a week playgroup has evolved into a beautiful friendship that has seen one Vegas trip, countless girls’ nights out, and five new, precious additions. Sadly, one mama moved out of state so really we are now eight children and four mamas but she and her babes are members forever as far as we are concerned.

Even though our times together can be chaotic and even stressful as we manage our little ones and help intervene as necessary, I still come away feeling refreshed by the presence of my friends. There is something so invaluable about having a group of mom friends who can support each other through the ups and downs and constant questions that arise in motherhood. I’m also so grateful our children have this constant presence in their lives – they know every Tuesday where we will be going and who we will be seeing. It’s precious seeing their friendships grow and change over time.

If you don’t have a group of mom friends like this, I encourage you to find your flock, so to speak. Having this support group has been an integral part of this self-care journey for me. I love my playgroup mamas and their sweet little ones!