by Karen Gibson
The importance of being a part of a trusted group of mom friends will help moms feel less alone in their struggles of navigating the rollercoaster journey of parenthood. I joined Baby Hui, a fantastic resource for new parents who want to learn and connect with others in the same stage of life, when my 20-year-old daughter was less than a year old. Mom friends provide support without judgment, which may be difficult with friends who are not parents. Being a part of a sisterhood that understands the day-to-day hardship of juggling multiple responsibilities in sleep deprivation mode helped me know that I wasn’t alone in feeling incompetent.
Bouncing ideas off other moms and sharing dilemmas that range from academics, extracurricular activities, doctors, or even food choices can help solve decision-making predicaments. Whether the option is minor or significant, we must acknowledge our feelings and challenges as mothers and come together to help one another. Creating and maintaining “mom friends” was instrumental in keeping my sanity as a mother. Whether you’re a full-time working mom, working part-time, or a stay-at-home mom, we all experience similar emotions. The most challenging is whether we’re making the right decisions or even committing the worst mistakes. I learned that no matter what mistakes I made, my fears rarely materialized and my daughters would be just fine.
Why is it sometimes difficult to make mom friends? We might feel uncomfortable meeting new moms who may not share the same beliefs we do. Children involved in extracurricular activities sometimes create opportunities to meet other moms who become close friends and confidants. We also tend to feel evaluated as well as evaluate other moms, questioning whether we can build trust and connect with new mom friends. Scheduling conflicts, wondering if leaving the house is worth it, fear of offending other moms and feeling intimidated often prevent moms from finding mom friends. Despite the inconveniences of seeking mom friends, I cannot imagine not belonging to my tribe of mom friends.
Studies show the downside of not having mom friends. The physical and mental health risks include isolation, loneliness, anxiety, loss of self-importance, anger, and even relationship issues with their spouses. Mom friends offer a strong support system who often play the role of therapist, school counselor, and best friend all rolled into one. Sometimes just sharing your struggles with another mom makes you feel less alone and provides you with possible solutions. Your anxiety knots may melt when you learn how other moms have dealt with similar dilemmas.
As a parent coach and educator, I started “Letting Go with Aloha” and a private Facebook group (Tranquility Tips Healing by Letting Go with Aloha) with another mom to help parents trust in their children’s journey, release control, and love unconditionally during challenging times. I’ve made incredible close connections as a private tutor through Brain Builders, a tutoring business I started in 1999. I’ve learned valuable solutions from listening to other moms share their concerns and bouncing off ideas that often lead to effortless solutions. Mom friends provide a healthy perspective and a source of laughter and support. There have been countless occasions where I reached out to a mom friend feeling broken and an actual failure as a mom. Within minutes of sharing my current struggle, I found myself laughing and finding relief. Often, all it takes is a fresh perspective realizing that my expectations of being a perfect mom were unrealistic. We are all trying to figure out the best way to raise our children and become self-critical when we feel that we make mistakes. Losing our temper, perhaps acting too harsh, or dealing with the hormonal rollercoaster during the teenage years are not as catastrophic as we think.
Here are five simple ways to find mom friends:
- Join a mom Facebook group with other moms with children of similar age.
- Attend storytime at your local library, or visit a mommy baby yoga or exercise group.
- Ask your friends if they have friends who have children around the same age as your kids.
- Try mom friend apps (MeetUp, Mom Life, Peanut, Nextdoor)
- Join organizations like the Hawaii State PTSA (Parent Teachers Students Association) or online groups like Mothers of Preschoolers or Parents Helping Parents
Social media has made it easier to make new mom friends. Whether you meet other moms online or in person, don’t underestimate the value of mom friends. You might meet your new best friend at a neighborhood park or when you join a mom’s Facebook group. Co-workers might be sharing similar parenting challenges or help you connect with other moms. The secret is to get out of your comfort zone and trust that it will be easier to get through the challenges of motherhood when you have the support of a tribe you can lean on during those “OMG! I can’t handle this!” moments.
Other mom groups:
- Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii
- The MOMS Club® (MOMS Offering Moms Support)
- Mom Life (a Facebook group)
- Tranquility Tips Healing by Letting Go with Aloha
- Baby Hui
- Piko Pals
Karen K.C. Gibson created “Letting Go with Aloha,” a parent coaching service for overwhelmed parents who struggle with raising resilient, responsible, and respectful children. She recorded 100 parenting tips during the global pandemic which developed into a book, “One Hundred Parenting Tips Inspired by the Pandemic” published by Balboa Press, a division of Hay House. It’s available on Barnes and Noble, Google Play, and Amazon. Her first book, “Mama’s Gotta Let Go: “How to Let Go without Losing Your Sanity” helps parents learn that it is possible to parent with peace, instead of pain. She is also the owner of Brain Builders (private tutoring services for students 1st through 8th grade) since 1999. You can find her on Letting Go with Aloha, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.