Last week, I went out for dinner with some mommy-friends. I had a double espresso at 7pm in order to fight off the exhaustion that normally sets in around 10pm . I blow dried my hair, did my best attempt at a smokey-eye and left my usual bedtime-mommy-responsibilities to my trusty sidekick. I had a fabulous time; a delicious, uninterrupted meal, some wine and great conversation with women that could relate to my hectic life. It struck me that this get-together was something that happens not nearly as often as it should. Between work, family, and trying to get some much needed alone time with my husband, connecting with other moms sadly seems to take a backseat to other priorities in my life.
I found myself reminiscing about those first few months as a new mom.
On the one hand, bonding with your baby is important and beautiful and so rewarding. But on the other hand, it could be completely overwhelming and extremely isolating. I was surrounded by a wonderful group of friends; some single, some childless, some with older kids. But I honestly didn’t know anyone who was in the same boat as me; a new mom, fumbling down the unknown path of motherhood, desperate to connect with someone who felt the same way!
For some reason, having to make new friends made me nervous and I recall feeling so insecure.
I was a “people person”, my job as a social worker and therapist was to connect with others…..so why was I finding this to be such a challenge? But after spending a few really long days at home, alone with my son, it was evident that in order to survive and really enjoy my maternity leave, I was going to have to put myself out there and create some connections.
The first mommy-friend I made was actually a “set-up”; someone I knew had a friend who lived in my neighborhood who, like me, had just had a baby.
I thought to myself, what do I have to lose? I invited this stranger and her daughter over and I experienced my first blind-play-date! And to my surprise, we hit it off!! She was sweet and fun and really easygoing. And she seemed to really empathize with the fact that my mommy-social-circle was lacking. She introduced me to some other moms, one of which I instantly connected with. This mom was down-to-earth, sincere and we had a lot in common. We became close very quickly
So I went from having no mommy-friends to having a small circle of women that I could truly identify with. These women became my support system, I felt safe with them and together, we joined play groups, music classes and stroller aerobics. These connections kept me grounded, kept me sane through what sometimes felt like the INSANITY of motherhood. We shared tips, knowledge, struggles and frustrations. We roamed the malls aimlessly several times per week. We had the privilege of witnessing our children’s milestones as well as our own growth as mothers.
I am so grateful for these friendships which have truly enhanced my experience as a first-time mom.
And it has made me realize that this unique support is vital to my continued development as a mother. I know it’ll be a challenge, but I am committed to making more time for my mommy-friends and making these relationships a priority in my life. Besides, in order to survive the terrible twos, I’ll need all the wine, laughs and support I can get!