I think any mom would agree when I say that isolation is one of the biggest dangers in motherhood. Adjusting to the different seasons of raising a child is hard enough, but doing all of the things with all of the feelings with no external support makes things doubly challenging.
I sat down with four mommies in different stages of mothering to find out how having a community around them has helped them thrive in motherhood. Here’s what I learned!
Mommy Pau, a full-time working mom, admitted that she isn’t the type to ask for help. But after giving birth to her son Matti (now 1.5 years old) in the middle of the pandemic, she experienced the power of practical help.
“On our first week at home after getting discharged from the hospital, our community set up a meal train for my husband and me,” she shared. “It was such a relief having meals delivered to our doorstep! We could focus on learning how to be parents because we had a whole community looking after us.”
She also experienced some breastfeeding issues two weeks before her maternity leave was set to end. Stressed over her decreasing milk supply, she turned to social media to ask for help.
“I posted a simple question, and in a matter of hours, mommy friends swooped in and gave me so many breastfeeding tips – some of whom I hadn’t spoken to in years!” she marveled.
Having experienced being on the receiving end of such care, Mommy Pau offered these tips on how to best support your mom friends:
And don’t take that statement lightly – there is so much mental load in motherhood! Mommy Nezzle, who’s raising 4-year-old Gio, explained: “Being part of a community keeps me sane in the rollercoaster ride that is motherhood. They keep me going whenever I feel overwhelmed.”
She added, “The emotional support and practical support I get to give and receive are what I love the most because they have long-term effects.”
What does she wish people really understood about motherhood? “The mental and emotional battles moms go through every day are real, so be gracious to your mom friends and be kind and sensitive with your words.”
Mommy Nezzle also emphasized that the mommy journey is not meant to be traversed alone.
Most times, all a mom wants is to be seen and heard. And this is what Mommy Polin, mom to 7-year-old Reign, has found in her community: a safe space to be herself without fear of criticism or judgment.
“As a single mom, I found it challenging to find a community where I feel like I fit in,” she shared. “So, I’m grateful for the people around me now. I can be confident and secure even in the midst of challenges, knowing that I am blessed with people who will support me well.”
She also appreciates that her community is able to hold space for difficult emotions, only giving advice or tips when asked. And all the counsel she has been receiving thus far has been wise and sound.
She encourages fellow parents to be generous in sharing their experiences. “Even if most of my parent-friends are married, I never felt like an outsider. They willingly opened their lives to me and I’m learning so much from them – from how to support Reign financially to how I can help her become emotionally healthy.”
It’s true: moms have a never-ending list of worries, even as their children grow up! Mommy Nikki confessed that she still has quite the list when it comes to her grown-up kids Anton, 22, and Gia, 20.
“I ask myself questions such as, ‘What are Anton and Gia doing with their friends when they are hanging out?’, ‘Will Anton and Gia achieve their goals in life?’, and ‘Have I done enough as a parent to help Anton and Gia make it on their own when they are ready to leave home?'”
When left unchecked, these questions start to weigh heavily on her heart. And that’s why she’s thankful for her mom tribe.
“I appreciate the strong emotional and spiritual support that strengthens and reminds me that I am not alone in this journey,” Mommy Nikki said. “I am also thankful for learnings from shared experiences that help encourage and empower me to be a better mother to my children.”
With all the stereotypes and judgments society places on moms these days, she hopes that people would start being a bit more understanding towards moms and appreciate their uniqueness.
She concluded with a simple and doable piece of advice on supporting mothers: “Express your appreciation for your moms and mom friends. It’s one of the most endearing things you can do for them.”
If you’re looking for a safe space, a mom-community where you can vent out and feel like you belong, join the Baby and Breakfast Community on Facebook! We’re doing a big change soon and for sure, you’ll want to be a part of it. See you inside!