7 Ways to Find & Create Your Own ‘Mom Village’

7 Ways to Find & Create Your Own ‘Mom Village’

Experts say all moms need support and a sense of community – a village to call their own.

By: Laurie Sue Brockway

Motherhood can get lonely.

Christa Terry, Co-Founder at Mom Meet Mom, recalls the impact of isolation when her daughter was born prematurely in the midst of cold, flu, and virus season. “Going to the newborn group at the hospital or a Mommy and Me type class wasn't an option,” Terry says. “We were essentially housebound.”

She could not find a village, so she turned to the Internet as a resource. There are several wonderful online communities for moms, including CafeMom, where moms can find and connect with other moms with similar personalities, passion, and needs.

“Too many moms turn inward or are afraid to ask for help,” she says. “Getting social and staying social is important -- to build that village you need to connect.”

Experts agree that moms need support and a sense of community, a village to call their own. “Social isolation is the greatest creator of loneliness,” says Deborah Serani, PsyD, psychologist and author of Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers and Living With Depression. “The day-in-day-out of caretaking of children often leaves mothers little time to connect with others in a meaningful way.”

“Loneliness can lead to serious physical and mental health issues,” she says. That’s why maintaining social connections -- and finding new ones -- is key.


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We interviewed several moms to find out how they’ve built their own “villages” for support and comradery:

1. Join a Support Group. “Go to Mommy and Me classes,” says Daphna Cardinale, LMFT, a new mom and a marriage and family therapist. “Linger after class or get there early. Make efforts to do things with the other moms. Go to parks or lunches. Exchange numbers and emails. Reach out to friends and relatives who are also parents, or their nannies. They will be able to relate to you, and it will feel amazing!”

2. Stay in touch by email, too. “I joined a group when my now-toddler was just six weeks old,” says Beth Cope. “The group's still active, and while I see them once or twice a month, the real lifeline is the email group we've formed. There are messages nearly every day, and just reading about others' parenting experiences so frequently -- and being able to reach out with my own questions, gripes, and angst -- makes such a difference in my life. The online communications provide such a vital connection.”

3. Connect with your community on social media. “Our neighborhood started a Facebook page and I posted on it, telling parents I was available for playdates,” says Colleen Tull. “We've met a lot of the parents and kids in the neighborhood this way and it's been great for loneliness, as well as creating a sense of community.”

4. Seek support in spiritual communities. “Isolation is such an easy thing to fall into and get stuck,” says Leslieann Hobayan. “I've connected with other moms through the moms’ ministry at my church.”

5. Try a family-friendly approach. “Make up a little flier about yourself, your family, your interests and "mail" it to your neighbors as a means to get to know them. There are going to be other moms who need interaction too,” suggests Adrian Jones. “Also, consider starting an evening walking club for parents and kids -- they need to tire out and you get to meet people. It may start small but could gain momentum. There are going to be other moms who need an outlet too. They just need someone to step up and show them how to get out there.”

6. Create fun activities. Jones also suggests simple and fun activities such as clothing swaps, book clubs, baking clubs, and art clubs. “The point is that you aren't alone, period, and if you keep the activities kid friendly, they get to socialize too while you get to know other parents,” she says.

7. Swap babysitting for social time. Serani says moms should make a list of activities they would like to partake in and start ticking these things off the list, one by one: lunch, movies, shopping, alone time, gym time, etc. If budget is a problem, think of bartering, maybe trading babysitting to get “some much-needed woman time,” she says.

Serani also advises not limiting your social activities to other moms only.

“It’s equally important to have social connections separate from being a mom,” she says. “Social connections can be attained in various ways, but in person is usually the best of the best. Phone calls, texting, email, and social media and even old school letter writing are also terrific ways to stay connected to others.”

How have you found or built your village?

Laurie Sue Brockway is a journalist and author who has written extensively on love, marriage, parenting, wellbeing, and emotional health. Her work has appeared in hundreds of print and online publications, including Everyday Health and The Huffington Post.

Image ©iStock.com/izusek

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