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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mommy Community

Being a mom isn't easy. 

But you know what makes it easier? 

Doing it in community. 

I was incredibly blessed to be pregnant in community as well.... giving birth within days of some of my best friends and I look back at the past 8.5 months and don't know how I could have done it alone. I feel lucky to have such a hands on husband who is always ready and willing to help with Ford but to have other women who are in the thick of motherhood, trying to figure it all out too, makes such a difference. It makes me sad when women say they would be too bored or wouldn't be fulfilled staying home because as much as Ford drains my energy and sanity at times, being his mom is the most fulfilling thing I've done. Being a mother has opened up the door for so many opportunities and nurtured so many friendships. I hate thinking about not having some of the friends I have today if it weren't for our babies.

I have always dreamed of the day where my house is a tornado of toys, scattered with mini shoes, and filled with babies. Making that dream a reality has been so much fun. And you can have it too.

I had many people comment on this picture that they wish they lived closer so they could join us and it got me thinking. Not all moms live in community. There have been so many times where my mommy friends have talked me off the ledge or encouraged me through a tough time so today I want to do the same for you mommies who are doing it alone. I remember graduating college, landing a great job, and moving back to Austin but feeling alone. Making friends in the "real world" is hard! Unlike college, you aren't surrounded by 100's of people your own age on a daily may be the one person under the age of 50 at your new job. But alas. Parenthood instantly connects you to any other mama no matter if they are 25 or 45! Something I've learned is that I need to be bold. I can't sit here on my couch watching other people do life together and wish I had the same. I need to do something about it. You may feel alone in motherhood in our neighborhood or city but I promise you there are places for you to get connected. 

I want to give you all some practical ways to get involved with other parents in your community. Just like the "real world", it is hard, but the good news is motherhood gives you a million and one things to talk about. 

  • -search for groups in your area. I am in an Austin French Bulldog Meetup Group and also a mommy one for my neighborhood. There is even an iphone app so you can skim events, contact people, and post from your phone.
  • MOPS! MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) is a worldwide Christian organization that connects and serves mommies all over the world. MOPS meets at churches all over and you can search for groups by your zip code. We meet twice a month, enjoy child free (there is childcare!) breakfast, inspiring speakers, crafts, and fellowship. 
  • Facebook- my neighborhood has a Moms and Tots Facebook page and y' rocks. Moms post with questions about overnight diapers, doctor recommendations, date night ideas, playdates, etc. Just this week a mommy posted about being on strict bedrest at 32 weeks prego with a toddler and within a day, we had a CareCalendar set up for her. Love this community!
  • Church- we go to The Austin Stone and at any moment you can pick out about 50 pregnant women and 100 new mommies in every service. Okay I may be exaggerating but we love the demographics of our church and being able to do life with people in our same life stage. Last week we had 2 separate couples come up to us because they were new to Austin and wanted friends...and we've had 2 playdates this week!
  • Park/ice cream shop/bounce house/storytime- here is your opportunity to be bold. You may see the same mommies at the park every Tuesday morning and exchange pleasantries but take the first step and ask for their number. Especially if your kids get along. I keep a tab open on my phone for the website Free Fun In Austin to plan outings each week. Search your city too!
  • City Moms Blog Network- search for mommy blogs in your area to get more information about playdates, moms night out, etc. If you follow personal blogs in your area, don't be afraid to email the blogger to meet up. 
For some of you, being bold and introducing yourself to random people may be out of your comfort zone but give yourself a goal. One new friend every week and one new playdate once a month. I feel like once you become a parent, all awkwardness goes out the window. I was talking to a new friend at a meetup this week and she was getting anxious about an upcoming move. We were encouraging her that all it takes is a few women to tell their friends and those friends know other mommies and on and on. The web grows.  We are all in this together, we need each other. You never know if the cool looking mom you've been dying to talk to at story time is craving community as well.


Heather said...

This is what I love about you, girl. You are so bold. It's hard to reach out, but you're right - when we do it's so worth it. I don't know about one new friend a week :) but I think you're so right that we just need to be brave and offer friendship. Wish I lived in Austin so we could have playdates too!

jessi bridges said...

Thank you for the encouragement Ruthie! I have a few mommy friends but we always seem to be so busy it's hard to pin each other down to get together, especially all at once. Sometimes I feel like I'm willing to make the effort more than others, ya know? In Texas we plugged into a community so fast and got together at least every other week. It was so awesome. Vegas is rough. I feel like people are just not as willing to truly connect and make an investment in others, if that makes sense. I've even had a hard time connecting at church and I'm bold! But I keep praying that the Lord will bring those ladies into our life. Because man, I could really use the community and so could my kiddos.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. Mommy groups are life savers! I joined 2 groups and love them!!

Megan C said...

Great post! I looked for groups in my area but I don't think we have any. But I know tons of moms who just had babies or who are pregnant, I might start one myself!! I think mom groups are very important. I would've made it through my last few months of a new mom without my best friend who lives in Austin. She was just a phone call away. Glad you have such a good group!!

Amanda Leigh said...

Thanks for this post!

I moved to Buda from Fort Worth almost a whole year ago, and have YET to make any friends. Its really hard, and makes the move even more hard, and depressing. I have yet to feel "happy".
Then... on top of feeling sorry for myself from being away from my family and friends.. Im also 12 weeks pregnant. I have been having a very difficult time with the thought of being completely alone through all of this, and worried sick that my poor child will have no friends because mommy has no friends. Im a very shy person, so making friends has never been easy.
Your post has encouraged me to try to be more BOLD, and look for some meet up groups in my area.
Can I ask what community you joined while pregnant? It would be wonderful to get started now, and not wait for my baby to be born.
Thanks again Ruthie for this post, it came at the perfect time for me. Now, lets just hope I follow through :/

Carolyn said...

I love this!! :)

Claudia said...

Thank you for the information, it is encouraging and so useful!!! I am looking forward to meet new Christian mommies and their toddlers/babies!!! That is why I like reading your blog, lots of the information you post is useful!

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