So recently I read a blog by the beautiful Amy from This Mum Likes titled “10 Reasons I Love Mothers’ Group”and it got me thinking about what happens to those of us who don’t click with the group we are given? What if we don’t feel like these women are our sister wives or our mama village, then what?
I feel there are milestones in our lives as mothers just as there are in a child. Children learn to crawl, then walk, then run. Without one it makes it difficult to move on to the next stage. I realise now it’s much the same with motherhood. If you don’t click and build that village in the early days of motherhood it makes the next few milestones hard, lonely and isolating.
So for the mums that didn’t find their sister-wives at their mothers groups, I am here for you. I get it and I know it’s hard. I’m no expert but if I can share one piece of advice from my experience it would be don’t give up if it doesn’t work out first time round. Your village is out there.
Here are 5 things that I wish some one had said to me in those early days of motherhood.
- Nothing is wrong with you – sometime we just don’t mesh with certain people and it’s ok. Remember not everyone has the same interests, values or beliefs as each other, it’s just how the world is. You might find the group isn’t right for you. It’s ok to go and find another one.
- If you are not sure what to do or where to go ask – you could ask the maternal health nurse, your private midwife, your doula, pre-post natal yoga instructor, the Australian Breast feeding Association. If you did an antenatal class, you could go back and get recommendations from the facilitator. Don’t be afraid to ask, they will all try and help where they can especially if they are in the industry.
- Jump online – Facebook has loads of local mum groups, join and ask the question. You’ll be surprised how many mums will be up for a coffee date or welcome you to try out their mothers group or playgroup.
- Stay true to yourself – Sometime we find and build relationships by purely doing what we love. For me it was yoga, but my friends preferred the outdoor mama fitness groups. There are other things that could link you with like minded mothers too. If you like to walk you could join a walking group or you might like the movies. There are Mum & bub movie days at the cinemas during the week as well. If there is a particular parenting style that speaks to you look for the services that support that style. For example, I related to Pinky McKay so I went to some of her talks and found a lot of likeminded mums there. I also found out that they run ‘Meet Ups’ in all different states and areas.
- Be gentle with yourself – Whilst motherhood is one of the oldest roles in the history of mankind, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. When you are a mum it is easy to forget about yourself or your own needs. The thing is, ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’.
- Rest when you say you are going to rest – put down that phone
- Do something for yourself everyday – and let go of the mother guilt
- Go outside everyday and get some fresh air and vitamin D
- Eat well and eat regularly – Like the Snickers commercial saying goes, “You are not you when you are hungry”.
- Hydrate – Hydration and eating go hand in hand, they are both so, so important.
- Sleep – I wish I realised how important sleep was pre kids! Sleep deprivation is not a badge of honour. It is a form of torture and so hard to bounce back from. Please try and sleep. I am 7 years in and still suffering from it. It effects your mood, your relationships, your physical and emotional health. It is truly horrible.
If none of the above help with finding a village here are two other places you could try. I haven’t used them personally but I’ve heard great things about both:
- Pregnancy & Motherhood websites – I never used or joined any pregnancy groups or forums but I know lots of mums that have and are still friends with women they met in the groups they joined years ago (‘Birth Month’ groups with Baby Centre has always been the one I hear about the most)
- Mush – It is like a Tinder style app that helps new mums connect with one another. It allows you to create a profile and then search specifically for mums in your area. You can see the other mums’ interests, as well as how many kids they have and if you think you’d like to meet them you can connect.
I hope these suggestions help. If there is something I haven’t listed that worked for you or you think might help other mothers feel free to let us know in the comments below.
The African proverb says, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’, but I truly believe it also takes a village to raise a mama.