Making Mom Friends

            As you feather your nest, don’t forget to give your social life a little love, too. Connecting with a community of women who can relate to the challenges of new motherhood will help you feel more supported and less stressed. Thankfully, Kansas City offers plenty of options.

            Join a mothers group. Moms groups come in a variety of sizes, philosophies and commitment levels. Look for a group that fits your personality, lifestyle and parenting approach. Visit as a guest. Ask the membership director questions like:

  • How often does the group meet?
  • Does the group schedule mom-only events?
  • If mom-only activities are scheduled during the day, is childcare provided?
  • What types of play groups and activities does the group plan?
  • How does the group support members? (For example, educational speakers? Babysitting co-ops?)  

            Check Can’t find a group that resonates with you? Search for small, local moms groups in your neighborhood—or start your own group.

            Schedule activities. Losing yourself in the daily rotation of feedings, naps, baths and playtime may be fine for a while. However, injecting your calendar with activities throughout the week will energize you, give you something to look forward to and help you feel connected to the world outside your home.

            Not sure where to begin? Check with your local library and bookstore for story hours and seek out “Mommy and Me” groups, which run the gamut from physical activities to musical education.

            If you work full-time, talk to other working moms about meeting up at the park or an indoor play area for a Saturday morning play date.

            Click into social media. Still in your jammies at 3:30 in the afternoon after walking the floor all night with your colicky baby? During the toughest times of parenthood, we can find comfort knowing others can relate, and we aren’t alone.

            Christine, a mom of three, says Facebook helps her feel more supported. “Especially when other moms share their ‘real’ moments about being a mom. I think, ‘Hey, I’m not so crazy after all––I’ve done that, too!’”

            Thanks to social media like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and mommy blogs, you can complement your offline groups with online friends and click into the land of the living anytime. No shower required!       

            Get active. Schedule time for an exercise class when your spouse is home or join a gym that offers quality childcare. You’ll feel mentally refreshed, more patient and more optimistic in general. And the more you go, the more you’ll get to know the other participants, which will help make you more accountable to meet your fitness goals.

            If a fitness center isn’t in the budget, form a walking club with a few friends. Meet a few times a week to walk around a park, the neighborhood or a mall. As your child grows older and less patient sitting in a stroller, promise time during or at the end of the walk for him to play at a park or indoor play area.

            Pursue your interests. Life with a new baby can be as gratifying as it is overwhelming. But constantly putting yourself last and abandoning your interests can lead to unhealthy feelings of resentment. Negotiate time with your spouse to pursue your hobbies and other passions. Invite friends to join you, whether for a gardening or cooking class, a book club or another activity.

            Create a calendar. Take your schedule as seriously as you do your family’s. Make appointments with yourself, including fitness classes, walks with friends, moms nights out or a solo trip to that intriguing boutique down the street. Sometimes a sick child will throw a last-minute wrench in your plans, but isn’t flexibility one of the first lessons moms learn? When necessary, communicate your appointments with your spouse so he isn’t caught unaware.

            Seek balance. Stretching yourself in too many directions is just as harmful as functioning in isolation. Strive to balance your needs with your family’s needs.

            “I recognize that I can only fulfill so much in one day, and maybe I have fulfilled my purpose for that day by spending time with a friend instead,” says Angie, a mom of two. “I think recognizing what the stressors are is the first step, then rationalizing if they are worth the anxiety and energy.”

            Seek out people who energize you and look for opportunities that inspire you. In no time, you’ll find yourself in the thick of a buzzing, supportive community.

Freelance journalist Christa Melnyk Hines and her family reside in Olathe. She is the author of Confidently Connected: A Mom’s Guide to a Satisfying Social Life and the facilitator of the Facebook group“Confidently Connected Moms.”

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