Building a Support Network: Connecting with Other Moms
Motherhood is a beautiful and transformative journey, but it also comes with its share of challenges and uncertainties. In the midst of sleepless nights, diaper changes, and endless baby giggles, having a strong support network can make all the difference. Connecting with other moms who understand your experiences and emotions can provide a sense of camaraderie, validation, and a lifeline of encouragement. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of building a support network and share practical tips for connecting with other moms.
Attend Parenting Classes and Workshops
Whether you're an experienced parent or are just now entering the world of parenting, attending parenting classes and workshops can help. These classes will provide education on your child's development and teach you new strategies to deal with challenges as they arise.
Many moms find that they are able to connect with other moms in their local community by attending these classes together. This gives moms the chance to talk about topics of interest, such as sleep training and finding a balance between work and home life.
Additionally, some parenting classes focus on specific topics, such as "Parenting a Child with Special Needs" and "Managing Stress and Juggling Family Life." This gives parents the opportunity to share their own personal experiences in these particular areas and learn from others as well.
If you're paired with another mother in the class who also takes an active role in raising her child, make sure to exchange contact information so that you can keep in touch. This could include setting up play dates for your children, or even a coffee date next week before your parenting class.
Creating a group text is also an easy way to stay connected with other moms when you're not able to meet in person. This can be especially helpful during the pandemic, as you can stay in touch and swap stories from home. You can even ask for advice about local schools, fun activities for kids, or babysitter recommendations!
Join Mom Groups and Online Communities
If you're new to the mom scene, it can be hard to find people who understand what you're going through. Online mom groups are an easy way to make friends and connect with mothers who are experiencing the same things you are. Unlike Facebook, where conversations can turn mean and some parents use the platform to discuss their political views, most online mom communities are moderated by volunteers and have strict rules to prevent bullying or hate speech.
Many of these moms groups are centered around certain topics. For example, Peanut is for moms in the tech industry and offers an online space to share job openings, work tips, and other information. The Moms of Multiples Network provides support to moms who have twins, triplets, and quads. And the Working Moms Network supports moms who are employed in the paid workforce, whether full-time or part-time.
Other moms groups focus on particular lifestyle choices, like natural living, homeschooling, or breastfeeding. These are just a few of the many moms groups that you can join to connect with other mothers who have similar interests and life situations. Moms groups are also a great place to make connections with moms who have the same parenting obstacles as you or with moms who are celebrating their kids' milestones.
Participate in Playdates and Mom Meetups
Getting to know the moms who live in your community is an important part of creating a support system. Moms in your neighborhood may be able to offer support for your parenting journey with tips and tricks they learned through their own experiences.
Playdates and mom meetups are great ways to make new friends. These groups can help you meet moms who have similar schedules and interests. Whether you attend a local playgroup, group meetup through your church or a Facebook group like MomcoMoms, these groups can lead to long-lasting friendships and an invaluable support system for all mothers.
When deciding on which time to host or go to a playdate, consider the best times of day for your child. If your little one is the most energetic in the morning, plan to meet during this time. If your kiddo is overstimulated in new environments, opt for a meeting at your home.
You can also try to introduce yourself to other moms when you see them around town. For example, if you see another mom at the park alone with her kid, reach out to her and let her know that your child goes to the same school and she can join your carpool. Or, ask the mom you see at your son’s soccer practice if she would like to join your mom group or attend your kids' birthday parties.
Attend Supportive Events
Depending on your needs, you can find support networks through a variety of different activities. For example, you can connect with other moms at career fairs and community meetings. You can also get to know other parents by attending events geared toward your child’s interests or developmental milestones. This can be a great way to get to know new people, meet potential mentors, and learn more about the resources available for your child.
You can also build connections through social media groups. Moms can offer virtual support, advice and much-appreciated mommy expertise in these online communities. You can join a group on Facebook and search for specific topics to connect with other moms like you. Another option is to talk to other moms at your local grocery store, playground or coffee shop and ask if they have children the same age as yours.
As you build your support network, be sure to communicate with each person on a regular basis. You should also have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each member of your network. Keep in mind that some members may have heavy workloads and it’s important to be patient when requesting assistance. Moreover, your needs will likely change over time and you should adjust your network accordingly. For example, if you are dealing with a new disability or illness, you should consider setting up a support network that can assist for the long term.
Be Open and Approachable
If you want your support network to be effective, then it’s important that you are open and approachable. Being reluctant to ask for help can be a sign of insecurity, especially if you’re used to being the one who offers assistance to others. This type of irrational thinking needs to be reframed. If you’re afraid to ask for help, that can impact your ability to get it in the future.
It’s also important to make sure that your friends and acquaintances know that you are willing to have a conversation with them about their own struggles. This can be a great way to connect with people who have similar experiences and may be able to offer valuable advice or encouragement.
Another good idea is to reach out to old friends and acquaintances who have been in your life for a long time. It is often easy to lose touch over the years, but it can be great to reconnect and see what new insights they might have.
Once you’ve identified the people who can serve as your Support Network, decide how often you’ll meet or communicate. You might prefer to meet formally in person or via phone, email, or text message. Also, consider how much of a workload you can expect from each member of your network and whether or not they can handle additional commitments in addition to their current role in your support network.
Share Your Story
The people who make up a support network are typically friends, family members or professional caregivers. Professional caregivers may include therapists, social workers or psychiatrists.
It’s important to have people in your circle who can provide the specific help you need – such as emotional or physical support. You may also want to consider having a mentor or a person who can teach you different ways to cope with your particular situation.
Some people who are in your support network will offer long-term or permanent assistance, whereas others will only be there for the short term, such as a family member or close friend who might help you during a serious illness or injury. Some members of your support network will be available to communicate with you via in-person or virtual methods, such as phone or email.
It’s a good idea to have someone act as a leader, coordinator or facilitator for your support group. This person will determine the best way to communicate with each member and when to schedule meetings. They can also help you identify any limiting beliefs that might prevent you from asking for assistance, such as believing that it is a sign of weakness or that you should be able to do everything on your own. Changing these irrational thoughts can make it easier for you to reach out and ask for help.