How to Deal When Your ‘Mom Village’ is Virtual

How to Deal When Your ‘Mom Village’ is Virtual

Lots of moms rely on far-flung friends, connecting online instead of in person. Do you?


By Jeanne Sager

When you ask Rebecca Alwine how she met her mom village, she recalls being thrown into the deep end of the pool. A military wife, she had two babies under age 2 at the time, and she was living in a foreign country when her husband deployed.

Turning to family wasn’t an option. So she turned to strangers who became her lifeline … a lifeline that stretched when Alwine had to move as military families often do.

Finding mom friends is hard. Just ask the 45 percent of women who said they had fewer friends after their children were born. It only gets harder for moms whose support system can stretch across hundreds of miles and multiple time zones.

Mary Sauer found her “village” thanks to pure luck. She was invited to an online group shortly after giving birth to her second child, and since then the Missouri mom has enjoyed support from women scattered from the Pacific Northwest to the Deep South.

“They're my people who get me,” Sauer says. “Even my in-real-life people, who I love, can't quite identify with the chaos of the work-at-home mom life.”

Moms like Sauer and Alwine get along thanks to the Internet, which connects them via messaging and social media, but they also employ planning strategies. Sauer’s group of moms, for example, sets up a weekly video chat. Attendance is optional, but it’s always there if they need it.

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This no pressure opt in/opt is key to the group’s, Sauer says. “There are so many missed connections when you're spread out, and if you let that discourage your commitment to the friendships you'll never make the friendships work.” she notes. “It's best to roll with it, and be understanding that these friends do have lives where they live, and that doesn't make you any less important to them.”

Moms look to friends for myriad reasons, and some of the more physical offerings best supplied by buddies in their area can’t be ignored. It’s hard for moms who live hours or even time zones away to pinch hit as a baby sitter. But some 56 percent of moms look for their friends to be good listeners first and foremost, something that can be accomplished from anywhere.

So what can you do to maximize your mom village when it’s spread out?

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1. Video chat. No one cares what your hair looks like. Really. Seeing another adult face can make a real difference, especially when you’ve been alone with a small human all day. Planning group chats, with an automatic out for moms who can’t make it, can be beneficial, but don’t be afraid to go it alone one-on-one from time to time.

2. Random care packages. You know who really likes getting things in the mail? Everyone. Especially when it’s a “I thought you’d like those coaster of a gnome, hope the kid’s finally done teething” package.

3. Simultaneous TV watching. And by simultaneous, we clearly mean at the same time as everyone else is sleeping because that’s the only time moms get to watch TV. Carry on.

4. A “kid meal of the day” pic swap via text. Woo her with details of the items you had to eat because your child thought they looked “too green today.”

5. Long-distance book club. Challenge each other to see who has read the same board book 16 straight times in a row.

6. Make plans to connect in person. Kid-friendly theme park where we will eat all the chicken nuggets and hot dogs a mom could want, here we come!

How do you keep your mom village strong?


Jeanne Sager is a freelance writer, photographer and social media junkie. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, daughter, and way too many pets. You can follow her @JeanneSager.

Image ©iStock.com/Antonio_Diaz


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