I remember becoming a new mother and wondering if I would ever stop feeling so isolated from others. It was wonderful to be able spend one on one time with my child, but, at the same time, it felt extremely limiting.
The amount of adult conversation that I had was basically nonexistent.
Mom Groups to the Rescue?
Luckily, I got involved in an online support group for mothers that not only became my source of camaraderie and adult connection, but also fostered quite a few friendships. Eventually, I took on an administrative role which I held for a few years.
I’m no longer involved with that group, and while it served a purpose for me during my early years of parenting (and gave me some lasting friendships), it also created a sense of surface level situational friendships - perpetuating a few things that I hoped to break the cycle from beyond high school and college.
I noticed over the years I was involved in this mom group that I had many friends but not many of them were very close ones. Sometimes I was so bent on attending a play date because I knew I was going to be able to sit and socialize but I wasn’t really paying as much attention to my children as I would’ve liked.
Before you blast me, let me make something clear:
Moms need to have a safe space.
They need to have places they feel that they can talk with other adults and have that little bit of time away from one on one, constant interaction with toddlers.
They deserve to look at their smart phones and answer their work emails, all while keeping their kids in a safe environment where they can play independently.
Adults can also get a little dose of social interaction with other people going through the same thing.
What I don’t believe to be OK:
Creating barriers of isolation through the sense of the opposite; joining a group that has the intention of creating community and inclusivity but in reality parses off into some form of the same similar groups that we all encountered when we were in various stages of adolescence.
The groups who write private messages off of a large social posts on a support group and judge other members for their viewpoint.
Play dates that turn into gossip sessions.
We live in a world where “Find your tribe and love them hard” is becoming a new motto for parenting.
But what if that tribe excludes others intentionally?
What if that tribe is only interested in creating cliques instead of seeking out people around them to make them feel accepted and part of the community?
Making Everyone Feel Welcome
I cannot tell you the number of times that I have been at a park, or a random play gym around a group of moms that organically or intentionally separate themselves. Additionally, there are always one or two moms that are off by themselves looking lost or desperate for interaction and the ones who have found the tribe are blind to their exclusion.
Motherhood is hard enough, but when we also have to navigate an online social media presence that sometimes consumed in cattiness, it’s one more overwhelming piece to a puzzle that’s already hard enough.
We are all rowing together and we’re all trying.
Look outside of the bubble; see the people on the outskirts; be kind and accept.
Absolutely find your tribe; building meaningful long-term relationships with one or two close Mom friends is essential.
It’s also essential to make sure that we are a full community of Moms who are looking out for one another, even if we don’t completely agree with one another on our philosophies on parenting.
We’re all doing this together.
Maybe the tribe as a whole is motherhood.
Maybe it’s inclusive of nannies, care providers, grandparents.
In the world of motherhood, if we want to model anything for our children, we should model that kindness.