Wanted: Much-Needed Support System for New KC Mom
New mom in Kansas City area is in search of new BFF’s for long-term support as she takes on the responsibility of raising a bright, curious and seemingly over-energetic child.
Must be available on an ‘as-needed’ basis for the next 18+ years.
Applicants should be trustworthy, compassionate and insightful, have own transportation, at least two years of parental experience and an unlimited (minutes and text) cell phone plan.
Other requirements: Must have read the entire What to Expect series and be able to provide the CliffsNotes version on demand; needs to have attempted ‘Teach Your Baby to Read’ and can advise if that really does work; and ideally will have proof of well-adjusted child in advanced-learning programs.
Must be available nights, weekends and some holidays.
If you think you are the right person for this job, please email me at About2LoseSanity@NewMom.com.
Every new mom, at some point or another, will find herself in dire need of a trusted confidant to share similar experiences, be a reliable sounding board and maybe just share some laughs as they go through the ups and downs of parenting.
In fact, a lot of research has been done around the positive influence that a strong social support system can have on our health. A Stanford University study showed women with breast cancer who took part in social activities suffered much less pain and went on to live twice as long as those with less exposure on the social front.
In addition, a similar study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, showed that people with a dependable network of friends and relatives were in a better position to deal with stress. It went on to detail how friends not only come in handy during adverse situations, but also chip in with material aid and information, in addition to the much-needed emotional support so very important for overcoming stress situations.
Having an active circle of friends has other benefits as well. For instance, you’re more likely to take better care of yourself, and friends can help boost self-esteem.
Now, I don’t know about you, but as a working mother who is fairly new to the area, I can only wish that finding that support system were as easy as publishing a help-wanted ad in the local newspaper.
Of course, I do have some close family members whose occasional parenting advice I value. But for various reasons, none of them meet the criteria listed above. For instance, as great as my own parents were in raising me and as helpful as they continue to be on advice on what to do when my daughter was teething (don’t waste money on teething rings, because in the end she’ll really just prefer a cold wash-cloth), things have continue to evolve since they had kids. (For instance, my mother was actually told to put me on my stomach at bedtime. Gasp!)
And, although, I have had a good circle of friends whom I met in college and through work, I’ve found it’s a bit tough to talk parenting with a majority of them, as many are in a completely different stage of life. As a result, I have recently found myself in dire need of a circle of friends/pediatricians/therapists/yoga instructors who recently have gone through the child-rearing experience and could lend an ear.
So the question remains: How is a busy mom to find such a social circle? Well, if you’re like me and have finally given up hope that your mommy soul mate might just come knocking on your front door in need of some home-made, organic baby food, the first step is to be proactive and start the hunt on your own.
Step one: Surround yourself with potential BMFS (Best Moms for Support). Go to places you would likely find your new BMFS, where you are surrounded by women with similar interests, values and/or hobbies. For instance, the hospital where I delivered my daughter holds breastfeeding support groups throughout the week, which is a great place to start. Or, if that isn’t an option, maybe Gymboree or a Mommy and Me yoga class is another option to find a surplus of potentials!
The second step is to strike up a conversation. However, be careful not to come off as too stark raving mad. Unfortunately, this is where I tend to lose a number of good candidates. While a good encounter may entail casual banter over how you prefer the sign for drink much more than the sign for milk, a much less productive encounter could include your anxiously listing symptoms your baby has exhibited and the fact that you are absolutely convinced she has caught hand, foot and mouth disease—although the doctor ‘claims’ it’s just a slight rash from your husband’s beard.
Finally, exchange numbers or demonstrate a mutual need to stay in touch. Again, this is a bit tricky for some of us to do naturally. A good and equally beneficial way to introduce the topic of a follow-up meeting would be to offer to show her how to make her daughter’s hair accessories at home, and in exchange, ask for help posting photos of them on Pinterest. The not-so-smooth attempt might be, “Oh no, my daughter isn’t talking yet either. Well, she says a few words like Mom, Dad and Uh-oh, but if you give me your number, I promise to call you every time I feel the need to talk to someone who has more than a three-word vocabulary.”
Remember that although this may seem a bit uncomfortable initially, finding a close friend or two who can offer support, advice and the occasional ‘you’re a whole lot of crazy or get over yourself’ observations is very important.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and start building a circle of mommy friends. Or if all else fails, send us a version of your “Help Wanted” ad, and we’ll publish the best ones on the KC Parent Facebook page.
Sara Wright writes from her home in Kansas City, MO, and does not actually respond to the above email address!