It is often said that being a mom is the hardest job out there—and it's true. A massive amount of responsibility is suddenly thrust upon you when you bring new life into this world. That is why it is so imperative that new moms form a tribe of other moms to help and support them on this journey.
Mom Friendships: Benefits and Rewards
Having a go-to network of moms that you can trust and rely upon to help you take care of life's little emergencies is extremely helpful. From small favors such as keeping an eye on your child while you venture into another part of the grocery store, to bigger favors such as babysitting your child so you can have a date night with your partner, having a network of mom friends makes life easier.
You will also need to contribute to your network of mom friends by being willing to offer the same support and assistance to the other moms in your group when they need it. This is a give-and-take kind of relationship, and you should be willing to pitch in when necessary.
Not only is it true on the face of things that having more friendships is a net benefit for mothers, but it also turns out that there is some science to back this up as well. TLC.com reports the following about a scientific study performed on the subject:
"According to a new study, children benefit from their mothers building strong social connections. The study found that the more social connections a mother has, the higher her kids will tend to score on early cognitive development tests. However, if the mother doesn't have a strong network of friends, her kids will averagely score lower."
Every mother wants to set her child up for success. This study indicates that socializing with other moms is a big part of what must be done to reach that goal. As easy as it is to say that, some new mothers are apprehensive about their ability to form friendships with other moms. It doesn't come easily for some. Luckily, there are some tried and true methods that you can use to form the bonds necessary to create a lasting bond with other mothers.
How to Form Relationships with Other Moms
Are you apprehensive about forming new friendships and bonds with other moms? Don't worry, you aren't alone. To alleviate some of your fear, you might want to consider what you can learn from other moms who have been in your shoes before. Cafemom.com recently spoke with many moms about how they form relationship bonds with their peers. Some of the secrets they received back about how to make this work may surprise you:
Join a MOPS Group
MOPS stands for "mothers of preschoolers", a motherhood support group with local chapters who come together for support and community. Over time, MOPS has expanded their reach to include all moms. These groups are quite popular with new mothers because they are a great way to form those first few connections with people who are in the same boat as you are. The ice is already broken in these types of groups because the only people who join them by definition are moms.
Think of It Like Dating
It is okay to admit that it's challenging and even scary to approach someone with an offer of friendship. You don't know if they're feeling the same way, and you can never be completely certain about how they will react. Many new mothers describe the feeling as akin to dating. Rejection is a real and scary possibility. However, when you put yourself in the mindset of approaching this like you would approach a new date, you can start to insulate yourself from the fear and anxiety that might come along with it.
Consider an E-mail or Social Media Approach
Taking the electronic route for networking is not as personal or as likely to instantly form the bonds you are seeking from other moms. However, it's efficient in the sense that you can get the word out to a lot of moms at the same time. You don't have to worry about anyone feeling left out, and you might be able to nab a few extra people for your group that you wouldn't have otherwise been able to reach. For all of these reasons, it makes perfect sense to also try an e-mail or social media approach to reaching out to moms in the area.
Nurturing Your Mom Friendships
Just like a plant needs regular watering, your friendships also need nurturing to flourish. With this in mind, you should schedule regular meetups with the moms you've reached out to. Not only will this allow you to get to know them better, but it will show that you're serious about wanting to establish deeper bonds with them. Take the time to nurture your friendships by taking the following measures:
- Schedule Regular Meetups - Having routinely scheduled meetups is a great way to show the moms in your group that you want to spend time with them and that you value the bonds of friendship that you have forged with them. It is also polite to schedule meetups like this so that everyone knows what time and place they should meet and can work this into their schedule.
- Practice Your Listening Skills - Some people are excellent listeners by nature, but others find this to be a struggle. Practicing your active listening skills is a great way to keep yourself in the good graces of the people that you have worked so hard to bring into your group. Knowing that they have someone they can turn to when they need to get something off of their chest is a great way to keep them coming back to the group.
- Work on Self-Care Together - It is a tough world out there, and we could all stand to put a little more self-care into our lives. Why not practice self-care together? This is certainly the best way to work on yourself while also working to improve the lives of the other mothers in your group at the same time. When self-care is at the forefront of what you do in your group, then people will want to come back again.
Take the time you need to create and nurture the mom friendships in your life. You, and your children, can benefit from these social bonds.