The Importance of Having Mom Friends
When I was a preteen, my stepmom gave birth to my half sister. During those first few months, I remember her telling me “The friends you make as a mom are the best ones you’ll ever have.” Always dreaming of my own babies one day, this became yet another reason why I couldn’t wait to be a mother.
Before I could have children of my own, however, my husband and I moved from South Africa to the United States for his job. If you have ever moved cities, states or countries, then you understand how hard it is to leave close friends behind. I had spent my whole life in Cape Town, South Africa, and some of my friendships had been cultivated over more than 15 years. That is something incredibly hard to replace! To make things worse, some of my besties had already begun their parenting journey; which meant that, as I started mine, I would crave their support even more.
Fast forward to the current year and here I am- a mom. I have an incredible 14-month old baby girl, Maya. I am also 27 weeks pregnant with baby number 2 – AKA Nugget.
As soon as I fell pregnant with Maya, the words uttered by my wise stepmom came back into my head. I found myself almost instinctively searching for Mom Friends.
How To Find Mom Friends
I thought it would be easy. Find a woman who is roughly the same gestation as you and BOOM! Become friends. Simple. Right?
Nope. Doesn’t work that way.
During my first pregnancy, Derek and I attended a birthing class. I imagined it would be the perfect way to meet other first-time, moms-to-be. “What a great place to make some friends-for-life!” During one of the classes, we did an exercise where the moms and dads had to split up and do activities separately. As the women were waiting for the men to finish up, chatter naturally began to bubble. After deciding to completely opt-out of a conversation about posting (or not posting) pictures of your children on social media (and realizing I was the odd-mom-out as a blogger and frequent poster of kid photos), I had a realization- Just because we have kids the same age, does not mean that we will instantly be friends.
Ironically, it is this fact that further emphasizes the importance of finding Mom Friends – but not just any Mom Friends: Mom Friends with whom you share similar parenting styles and beliefs.
When we sit down for coffee with a fellow mom and begin to talk about our day/week/month of recent, colorful, parenting events, we need to feel 100% supported. We don’t always need to agree, but there needs to be zero judgment and a sense of “It’s ok, I get you and I’m here for you.”
Finding Your Tribe
Being a parent is the most incredible ride. Yes, there is so much magic and so much love, but it is also really tough at times. And there is no one who can understand it, or empathize with you, more than another parent. We all need this community to pour out our frustrations, confusions, and disappointments to. More than this, we need this community to feel sacred.
It takes time to find your sacred, mom community. Maya is over a year old now and I am still working toward building my own tribe. As a stay/work at home mom, the holes in my net are even bigger; finding a mom with whom I can relate and who also stays home is a challenge. With that said, I am prone to feelings of loneliness and isolation. When these feelings emerge, I am reminded of how important it is to keep casting out my net.
Like we all do, I need this tribe. I need the support of intimate and honest conversation. I need to feel heard and understood. I need to feel like, no matter what, there is always a place for me to go and feel safe.
Despite the challenge in finding them, those words my stepmom spoke, many years ago, continue to whisper in my head: “The friends you make as a mom are the best ones you’ll ever have.”
Note from Via The Village: If you are ready to cast our your own net, you can find parents near you for playdates, kiddie carpools, childcare swaps, and more on Via The Village!
To read more of Tara’s articles, be sure to check out her blog!