When you’re a stay at home parent with a child (or children), you start to get lonely even though you’re not physically alone at all.
Being a parent is drowning on so many levels. We are pushed and pulled in all sorts of directions with no time to even process our own thoughts. So finding the right motherhood support groups is essential for any mom to survive.
I’m going to be totally honest and tell you that I’ve fallen into depression a couple of times because I was living in a cocoon. But I was able to find my way out, thanks to my family’s support. And I found great things for me to with my kids and things that you can try too (at the bottom of this post).
Home Alone And Miserable
I was helping out part-time with the family business, just shadowing and learning the ropes, when I got pregnant with our first child.
At that time, the “morning” sickness hit me pretty hard. The nausea phase was consistent throughout the day and had my worried I wasn’t keeping down any foods. Months went by and I felt so useless.
I tried to work from home on and off but every time I tried to focus I would have to rush back to the bathroom. The workand the nausea had me constantly nervous and anxious. So I quit my job because I felt like I couldn’t get anything done.
For the rest of my pregnancy I was home alone on the couch watching Netflix and trying not to feel sick. I was bored to death but didn’t want to leave the house, I just wanted to sit still and feel decent.
That was the first time I think I fell into a mini depression.
Realizing I Was Stuck In A Bubble of Fear
Parenting books and advice websites suggest that you shouldn’t take your baby out in public because they are more prone to getting sick. With a newborn, I followed this strictly, I protected my child in our own little bubble and rarely went out. But time went on and I got used to the pattern.
I didn’t have any married friends and I didn’t have any friends with kids. My only outings were to by groceries by myself while family members watched my child or on a few family dinners.
And when I got pregnant again, the nausea kicked in quickly, and it lasted for a full four months. I was so uncomfortable that I never wanted to leave the comfort of my home and was miserable yet again.
It wasn’t until my husband had a heart to heart with me and made me realize I was still stuck in a cocoon, and so was my growing child. My son was ten months old and I was entering my second trimester with my daughter. Too much time had passed and I was going to be welcoming a second child into my own little bubble.
Breaking Out of Denial
Stuck on avoiding too much exposure or possible illnesses for my newborn, the months went by and I had almost a one year old. All that time we simply stayed home playing between the two of us.
I had so many unanswered questions like:
- How else do you entertain a baby?
- Do they socialize or need to make friends?
- What can I do with my baby outside the house?
I should have tried harder and done the research sooner. But it hit me then, I should have been taking my son out in the world! He should be learning, exploring, and socializing with other babies. Not locked up at home because his mom is scared of facing her fears of meeting new people and exposing him to possibly ever getting a cold.
My husband broke me out of that denial and it helped me see that I was in depression. It helped me step up, be stronger, and start doing the research. Even if it meant putting myself out there into the world of meeting other moms and babies and trying to make friends with strangers.
Beginning The Search
I began an online search for activities for my son’s age since he was still a little too young for playgrounds.
On Facebook, I asked people I knew and people I didn’t know for ideas on where to start. And on Google, I searched what activities to participate in with a ten month old.
I was led to different things, like mommy and me gyms, library storytimes, and more paid mommy me classes. With a limited budget, I tried for free options first and came across MeetUp. It led me to a local group of moms that would get together in parks and the kiddy play area at the mall.
This group changed my life and I had no idea that it was just the beginning. It was there in that group that I met some of the moms and babies I hang out with on a regular basis and communicate with daily.
All I had to do was try.
"Mom Dating" - Meeting People for the First Time
The first time I went to meet this group, I was so nervous. Trying to keep my cool, I arrived and didn’t know if I should just observe from the sidelines or talk about our lives.
And, as usual, I couldn’t shut myself up even when I tried. My nerves had my participating in their conversations and I wasn’t sure how they felt about it. They weren’t rude to me so that was a good sign but I didn’t want to push my luck either.
At the end, I left wondering if I should have exchanged phone numbers but I didn’t know if it was too invasive to ask.
I was even concerned they wouldn’t want me to come back because my son was a few months older than the majority, which in baby land makes such a difference! The babies that day were practicing ‘tummy time’ and learning how to sit up on their own and mine was trying to crawl away and wanting to pull the one baby’s one little hair or the other baby’s full head of hair (baby hair growth is insane).
But I ended up meeting with the group again several times throughout the following months. We started to build friendships and become facebook friends, which felt like a huge deal.
Making mom friends feels like entering the dating pool. You try really hard to hold back your personlity at first and then start releasing your true identity once you feel like they’ve accepted you. It’s a weird balance.
You don’t want to come off to strong but you don’t want to seem creepy either. “Should I friend this person? We barely spoke, I don’t even know if she’ll remember me.”
Why do people make it so hard!?
having a motherhood support group
After a few months, some of us started meeting at the same place and time every week and the bonds got stronger.
There were even a few more “newbies” so I started to feel like a regular.
Our little group started to bond so much that we decided to split away from the original MeetUp group and created our own group on Facebook.
It’s been two years and the group grew quickly. We regularly shared ideas, silly stories, planned and organized meet ups and other gatherings through our private facebook group. By now there are over twenty of us, with varying ages and stages of life, feeling like a little family of our own.
We turned a MeetUp group into a close-knit motherhood support group. We support each other and help each other out. That’s how women and parents should be with each other.
If you are lucky enough to have a friend who is also a parent-count your blessings. If you’re as lucky as me to have a group where you can spontaneously meet up with in a couple hours to get your kids to burn some energy, you’re one lucky mom!
How it's Affected Me
Meeting these moms and being in this group has definitely changed me.
I am much more comfortable and confident on a daily basis and I definitely have my patience levels on check, which are tested alllll the time with kids of any age!
One weeks when I don’t take my kids out at least once a week, I start to become irritated and impatient and the kids get bored and start acting out. So it definitely shows how having activities outside the house affects us on a regular basis.
And having my little support group makes it that much easier because I can plan my weeks better. I can plan when I need to run errands or do my house chores around their outings and activities.
It keeps us all in check. So it’s a total win-win!
How it's affected My Kids
My kids have learned to be social, confident, and very verbal. Without going to daycare or preschool, they made friends at a very young age just from being surrounded by children their age.
Some kids struggle making their first friends once they start school because they’ve only been around adults or strangers. But when our children are around the same people their age multiple times, they start to develop bonds.
So, now it’s a win-win-win!
Where should you Start
If you’re expecting, or if you’re like me who didn’t know how to get out there with a baby, don’t be afraid!
- Facebook Groups for motherhood support and local gatherings
- Local libraries for free story time or open play
- Local bookstore (Barnes & Noble has children’s story time on Saturdays)
- Free or paid mommy and me or other baby classes (gymnastics, music, or basic learning)
- Go to local playgrounds and start talking to other moms or dads who have kids the same age as yours
It’s not easy but you have to try, for yourself and for your child!
Good luck mammas, and if you already have those amazing friends, congratulations!
How Did you make Mom Friends?
What Baby & Toddler Activities outside the house do/did you love to take your kids to?
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My name is Paula and I’m a mom of two scrumptious cuties. Thanks Mommy Blog became a project for me to help guide other new moms and current moms through any of my own personal experiences and struggles. My hobbies include singing, doing jigsaw puzzles, baking, designing and trying to stay creative.