Motherhood can be an isolating and overwhelming endeavor and we moms are in need of a support system. We have all heard the saying “It takes a village” but the “villages” that use to support mothers and their families don’t really exist anymore. In this day and age, you are lucky to live within driving distance of your parents or extended family and being a part of a neighborhood where you actually interact with your neighbors is a rarity. Moreover, our lives have become so “busy” it is hard to find the time to develop and maintain relationships outside of our immediate family. Moms are affected the most by these new social norms and we are being forced to redefine what our “villages” look like. When I really thought about it, I realized I have built quite the modern day mom “village” in not so obvious ways.
Social Media. I know social media has a bad reputation but you can totally use social media to build your own mini support system. Seriously, I have been able to find inspiring people and make sincere connections through social media. It has also given me the space to ask questions, share fears or just bitch to a group of woman that share in the common experience of motherhood. I have also found support, encouragement and inspiration just in sharing my story and watching other moms being brave enough to openly share their truth in such a public arena. I have been able to keep a connection with old friends and make connections with new friends. Social media is what you make it and I have made it into a village that grants me wide open access to a plethora of amazing mommas.
Mom Friends. Friends are the new family. I would not survive without my momma friends because they just get it. They have rescued me when I needed help getting through the witching hour, brought me food and taken my kids when I was down and out and given me sanctuary when I was at the end of my parenting rope. Having someone to call up after having a total mom fail or an overwhelming day makes all the difference in the world. And there is nothing like meeting up for coffee, brunch, lunch or dinner for a little break from the kids and some adult time with a fellow mama to fill my worn mind and soul.
Social Clubs and Meetups. There are social clubs and meetups everywhere you look. There is Stroller Strides in the park, neighborhood mom groups that meet for playdates and groups with shared interest that meet up for everything from playing games to learning a new language. There are even apps to help you find a group for you. Being somewhat of an introvert, I was super hesitant to join a mom group but it ended up being one of the best decisions I made. I was suddenly a part of the most supportive group of women that have brought me meals after a surgery, lent me a dress for a special event and babysat my children when I needed to get out of the house.
Blended Families. I know blended families can be difficult. Moms, dads, stepmoms, stepdads and stepkids don’t always make for the most supportive situations. Is it possible for everyone…No. But with a little extra work and a lot of respect and communication, blended families can become your go-to people. These days so many of us are a part of a blended family in some form or another and harnessing those relationships can be a win for everyone. My husband’s exwife and my step-kids have become a huge support system for me. I can just envision the confused look on your face as you read this but my husband’s ex has proven to be one of my biggest allies and one of the core members of my village. It has taken time and work but the relationship we have built over the years has proven to be beneficial for everyone in our large family blended family.
However you choose to build your “village,” know that feeling supported helps you be a better mother and a better you. Knowing you are not the only one losing your mind or feeling completely overwhelmed is tremendously helpful. And having multiple people in your life available to support you in whatever way you need gives the space to be the mom and woman you want to be.
This post was originally posted on The Mom Forum.