The theme of community has been a topic of focus at my church lately and I must agree that we ALL need a community! Do you as a parent have a few close people you can count on for support? This can be really hard to find for some people. It can be scary to put yourself out there to perhaps be “shot down” as a friend with the mom you see at the park or across the street. I think it’s more intimidating than dating ever was! I am very lucky. I have a great network of other moms to talk to. The worst part about it is that they do not live close to me, so that makes it hard to hang out in person.
I met my wonderful group of women, online. Go ahead and laugh, or not. It is how many people meet or communicate these days. We were all expecting our first child in Nov. 2006. We were all on a public forum geared towards moms. We shared info with each other that was hard to share face to face or with people that were not also at the same stage of pregnancy. Our husbands joked that at least one of these “people” was really some bored old guy chatting with us. HA! Eventually we all had our babies, most of us had at least one more. We have already been there to offer support through divorce, remarriages, surprise pregnancies, loss of a child, miscarriage, diagnosis of incurable disease, in law and parental issues, not to mention all the ups and downs of being a parent.
We are a diverse group of women. We breastfed, bottle fed, had cesareans, VBAC, medical and natural deliveries. We work and stay home or work at home. We are married, divorced, single. We are struggling financially, we have extra money for vacations. We are “crunchy” and not so “crunchy”. We use cloth diapers and disposable. We use family as our daycare, we use child care centers, we home school, private school and public school our children. We cook homemade meals and we avoid cooking at all costs! If we were to live in one area and all just happened to meet by chance I’m not sure we would have developed into such a close group. We may have let some of these difference stop us from getting to know each other, or kept our walls up and kept others out. But luckily, we looked past our differences and really got to know each other. We have created a wonderful community!
We were creative in how created our community. You can be too! It can be hard to put yourself out there, but one thing these ladies have taught me is that you cannot let your perceived differences stand in your way of finding a friend. Everyone needs to feel they belong and everyone craves social interactions. If you need to find a friend I encourage you to keep trying! It might take getting to know many people, getting your feelings hurt a little, but the payoff is worth it!
If you have no idea where to find a community I do have a few ideas…try MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) or MOPSNext. Check out http://www.meetup.com to find a group in your area. If you have kids in school, invite a mom or 2 to a playground or coffee shop. If you have kids at a daycare, ask the director if you can set up a table in the entry way with coffee and donuts and give parents notice and see if any one can introduce themselves at drop off, or have some cookies at pickup time and see if anyone is interested in talking for a few minuets. Schedule a time to meet up at a nearby park on a weekend and get to know some of the parents that show up.
Good luck and happy friend making!