I was the first among my group of friends to get married and start having kids. When my oldest was born, I blissfully took my maternity leave and retreated from my office to my one-bedroom apartment to hang out with my newborn. I had happy visions of getting back to my writing while my baby slept peacefully next to me.
Instead, I found out I had one of those babies who refuses to be put down, and I read The Idiot while nursing her and staring at the dirty dishes piling up around my sink. However, I didn’t even have anyone to talk with about how I was feeling about new motherhood, because my husband was buried under final exams for his degree and my friends were all at work.
When Sunshine was six months old, we moved to a new town for my husband’s job. Here I discovered myself as a mom as I joined a moms n tots aquafit group, got Sunshine into a regular nap schedule so I had three hours a day to myself to write, and made a couple local mom friends whom I met for coffee once a week.
At my friend’s house, Sunshine disappeared with her kids while we talked as fast as we could about being moms. I drank it in, leaving each day feeling inspired in my daily tasks as a mom, and looking forward to seeing my friend again as soon as we could fit it in between loads of laundry and batches of bread.
Then my husband’s job ended and we moved again, this time closer to his family. I went back to work at Starbucks to help support our family and put in enough hours to claim maternity leave for our second child, who was now on the way. My mother-in-law watched Sunshine when both my husband and I had to work, and while I appreciated her support, I missed my friends. Because of my hours at Starbucks, I found it hard to connect with any local moms. I spent my days hanging out with teenagers talking about how to drink as much as you wanted without getting a hangover and navigating the tangles of crushes between co-workers. As a mom, I was organized and efficient at Starbucks, but I was lonely.
At the end of that year, we moved again, this time out of province to return to school. Sunshine was two and Lily was four months old. One of the things I most looked forward to about this move was finding new friends. As we jumped into our studies, however, that proved harder than we expected. The church we attended close to the university had lots of other students attending… but we were the only students showing up with our young children. Finally, I told my husband we needed a new church. We were parents first and we needed other parents around us, not other students.
Six months after our move, we walked into the church that would become home. When I saw “mom’s group” listed in the bulletin, I felt like shouting “Hallelujah.” That group became my sanity for the next four years. We laughed and cried there. We talked about teething and potty training and sleepless nights and marriage and morning sickness. That group of women taught me just how much moms need other moms.
As I looked back upon my years of motherhood, I realized how isolated I had been when my daughters were first born. Life stages, moves and work had made it hard for me to connect with other moms at various times. Doing motherhood by myself left me susceptible to depression and resentment. Surrounding myself with other moms and sharing with them the ups and downs of motherhood inspired me to keep going in the daily grind, to celebrate my children, and to become a better mom.
Whether you are a new mom or not, I urge you to find some a supportive mom’s group. If, like me, you’ve moved frequently or had kids earlier than the rest of your friends, you can find mom’s groups at your local church, community centre, library, or even at local mothering stores that organize meet-ups. You can also check the CMR’s “Mommy and Me Groups” listing to find a group near you.
Showing up at a new place can be overwhelming, but as a mom, you have a secret weapon: your child(ren). Somehow, have a baby makes it easier to meet other moms because you instantly have something in common as moms. May you be blessed with as many mom friends as I have been!