Like a deer caught in headlights, I was blindsided when I became a mom.
I found myself in the throes of mommyhood right after my husband and I moved from Honolulu to the heart of Dallas. It took months to build any sort of friendship and there was no one to bounce things off. I would often question every little thing I was doing pertaining to my daughter. I was almost positive I was messing up this new little life that had just been handed to me.
Our family has grown, and we’ve made three more geographical moves since my oldest entered the world. With each new location, my deep need for a support system has remained the same even as seasons of life have shifted.
Having a tribe of other moms can be a refreshing interlude from the chaos and tougher moments found in motherhood. After all, becoming a new mom drastically changes just about everything: family size, lifestyle, budget, body, relationships, sex, sleep, and so forth.
We need friends we can run things past, gain insight from, relax with, and who can cheer us on when we feel certain we’ve screwed everything up.
It takes a village, so they say.
Whether you’ve just relocated and don’t have a friend in sight, or for the first time find yourself immersed in dirty diapers and sleep deprivation (i.e. torture), take heart and check out these tips on building a mommy tribe from scratch.
When building a mommy tribe, remember the acronym SUPPORT:
Learn the names and faces of the kids in your child’s class by volunteering at the school. Joining the PTA or finding other homeschoolers in your area opens doors wide for potential new mom friends in your community. You never know: your child’s school buddy may be the kiddo of your next closest mom friend.
Do a little research and I bet you’ll find a whole list of Mommy & Me classes offered in your area. The isolation that sometimes comes with being the new girl in town or a brand-new mama can throw some of us into a bit of a funk. Mommy & Me classes are a fantastic way to meet other moms and enjoy creative ways to interact with your child. Swim, music, art, and gym classes are popular activities. You’re sure to find something that fits your budget and your schedule.
Outdoor parks, festivals, community events, and the public library are perfect venues for meeting your next BFF. Take your kids to the park or somewhere fun around town and don’t forget to engage with other parents. These community-wide spots can be some of the most surprising places to make new friends. Last summer, I struck up a conversation with another mom while we pushed our kids on the swing. We became Facebook friends, then our families got together for dinners and playdates, and soon we’ll be taking a family trip together. Unexpected friendships can spring up anywhere!
Places of Faith
If you’re a woman of faith, you’re sure to find other moms with similar beliefs at your place of worship. My faith plays a major role in my life and I’ve been fortunate to find spiritually-minded mom friends through Bible studies and women’s groups at all the churches we’ve been a part of. These friends have seen me through some of the darkest and hardest moments of my motherhood journey.
For the moms who do a lot of interacting via social media, online platforms are a great spot to find out about local events and meetups, book clubs, running groups, and anything your family may take delight in. Check to see if there’s a designated Facebook page for the moms in your community, join, and engage.
Gyms, the YMCA, yoga studios, and outdoor workout groups are utopian places to meet like-minded mamas you can sweat, dance, run, or flow with. Bonus: childcare at some of these places—like the Y—are some of the cheapest options available. There are also numerous Mom & Baby workout and yoga groups. Check out Fit4Mom; they have locations all over the country.
Designated groups, like MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) offer a respite to gather together and be revived in our role as moms. There are more than 4,000 groups that meet across the country (and the world), so chances are there may be one near you. If not, you can register with the organization to start your own group.
Being proactive pays off when it comes to building your support system: if you want other moms in your life, invite them in. Be the first to reach out to that new mom you met at the gym and plan the first playdate. Most importantly, have grace for yourself along the way. Reaching out may feel awkward at first, but know that deep friendships take time and upfront investment.
So, be brave and full of grit, dear mama—there’s a group of friends around the corner waiting for you to invite them to play!
You’ll also like Friendship with the Littles Rule, To: First-Time Moms-to-Be, From: a 7-week Mom, 5 Tips to Feel at Home in a New City, How to Be a #Girlmom, You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Be a Great Mom, and don’t miss our podcast episode for you, mama: You Are “Mom Enough”: How to Stop Feeling Like a Failure – 017!