Why New Moms Need New Moms

mommy roundtableWhen my first baby was born, I had all kinds of dreams and plans for how our lives would go. There would be long walks to the park, afternoons on the beach, weekly playdates, library visits, baby yoga, the works. Some of that happened. Some of it went up in a flaming ball of fail. I half expected the occasional failures and frustrations, but what I did not anticipate was the sometimes soul-crushing solitude of motherhood.

It’s not something that gets a lot of print in the baby books. They warn you about post-partum depression and its brutal twin sister, post-partum psychosis. But they don’t tell you that what really sends you into the depths of despair isn’t the sleeplessness (well, not JUST the sleeplessness), or the unending litany of diapers and work and spit-ups and laundry and marathon nursing sessions and hormones– Oh, the hormones!… No, what really pushes you past what you can bear is that it feels as though it’s happening to you, and only you, all by yourself. And in a way, it really is.

You may have a wonderful, supportive partner right beside you every night. I did. But that didn’t make me feel any less alone when the baby woke up for the eighth time that night to nurse. You can share laundry duty and dishwashing and toddler bath time. That isn’t the same as sharing the pressure to do it perfectly, or the worry that something’s not quite right with the baby’s development, or the sheer exhaustion of constantly tending to everyone else’s needs. That’s all on one pair of shoulders, and for some sick, cosmic reason, they’re yours.

Some of us are lucky enough to be able to call our own moms and talk it out, or drop the kids off for an hour or two of break time. But these days, most of us aren’t that lucky. Due to shifts in the job market, a crappy economy, and urbanization, young parents tend to skip town and raise their families far from the people they love and trust. If you’re one of the leavers, that opens a huge gap in the place where your natural mentors and friends should be. Humans aren’t meant to live that way. From cave-painting times, we’ve been tribal animals. We need community to keep us healthy and happy.

That’s why these days, more than ever, it’s essential to build friendships and mentorships, wherever life happens to throw us. When I finally found a group of moms to talk and laugh and worry with, my baby was a toddler, and I had another newbie on the way. That little group of mommies, alike and different in a thousand ways, gave me what I needed. For the first time, I heard other moms talk about potty trials, and relationship weirdness, and food allergies, and the appalling lack of shower time, and I wasn’t alone anymore. It may have saved my sanity.

That’s why we do what we do here at Mommytrain. We want to help you find what we found: good friends who are walking the same scary/awesome path you walk. We want to build solid parenting communities, with education, fun, and plenty of talk time.

Our newest way to get there is the Mommy Roundtables, every other Friday night, from February 21st to April 4th, 2014. We keep it small, like six or fewer mamas, so that we can learn to trust one another and feel comfortable talking honestly. It’s held in a neutral location, in the cozy Mommy Lounge at Pamper & Play. Just us, no kids allowed. Sometimes we bring in experts, to help us work on marriages and partnerships and parenting. Other times we just talk shop, like mamas do.

The roundtable venue is what works best for us, but there is no right way to create the parenting community you need. In fact, your mama tribe may change and grow as your kids move on to new stages of life. If you can’t make it out to our roundtable nights, start where you are right now. There may be other new moms in your neighborhood, or at your library’s toddler story time, or even the local gym. All it takes is one solid connection, mom to mom, and you can build from there. One day, you might look back on that first meeting as the start of better, fuller years for yourself, your partner, and your kids.

xox,

Ana & Dani

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