It gives me shivers when I think back to that first winter home with my daughter (now 3.5 years old). My husband is a CPA and from January 1 – April 15, tax season consumes him, leaving me flying solo in the parenting world. I dread it every year because that first year still haunts me. Still scares me. It’s a bone-chilling reminder of what could be.
I’m blessed. I live three miles from my parents and the house I grew up in, and three miles from my eldest sister and her family. They are my main support system. Normally, I would’ve turn to them if needed, but my sister worked part-time and was pregnant, and my parents were enjoying being snowbirds in Florida that first winter. I have another sister, a fellow SAHM, but she lives three hours away in WI. The few mom friends I had were either out of state or worked full-time. I was alone. I. WAS. ALONE.
And on top of it all, the snow was piled so high, it covered the mailbox. It was well below zero for weeks. Spring kept getting pushed further and further back by snowstorms, each one I prayed was the last. And my daughter was so whiny and clingy for months. I thought she was teething at the time, but a tooth wouldn’t emerge for another few months. I felt isolated, imprisoned, tortured, inadequate, and a bit afraid of myself. No one ever told me about this dark side of being a SAHM.
We barely survived until April 15, pretty sure we left my sanity back around February. But I remember vowing to myself that I would never go through that again and vowing that I would do whatever I needed to in order to make some local mom friends. Well, I didn’t because mom friends are SUPER hard to make, but I got lucky because a couple of my friends had babies, but I knew I still needed to make more mom friends.
Last February, I saw that Twin Cities Moms Blog was going to start Neighborhood Groups–Facebook groups based on certain areas with a “Mombassador” that would organize monthly Moms Night Out (MNO) events and play dates. I very hesitantly inquired about being a Mombassador–because have you seen the drama in some garage sale groups?! I did NOT want to be a part of that, much less monitor that. But I also knew that if I volunteered, it would force me to get out and make those mom friends I desperately needed.
I took the plunge–partly for me and partly for the moms out there like me. At our first MNO, I was super nervous. I mean, I was going to go hang out with a bunch of strangers after all! But it ended up being really fun. The women I met were just like me with their good days and bad, frustrations and accomplishments. Conversations flowed easily and naturally, and laughter rang out. As the moms left, they thanked us for organizing the event, which was ironic because it was I who truly needed it.
It amazes me that it’s only been one year since I first asked about the Mombassador role because so much has happened in 12 short months. I’ve met so many incredible moms–moms with newborns, toddlers, preschoolers, school-agers and teens, working moms, work-at-home moms and stay-at-home moms, local moms and moms who have moved to the area. I’ve learned that we are diverse, no two moms are alike, we will never agree on everything, and yet we desperately need each other. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and mom friends have a unique ability to fill that cup in a way that no one else can. They support you when you’re doubting, encourage you when you’re DONE, validate your feelings of frustration, confusion, guilt, and they laugh with you when life gets so crazy that all you can do is step back and chuckle. For me to be the best mom I can be, I need a full cup, and I need mom friends to fill it. Mom friends make me better.
In a year, I met new friends and became connected to a community of moms. I became part of the Twin Cities Moms Blog team as the Community Involvement Coordinator where I’m able to exercise my passion of helping moms connect with other moms. And as I reflect on my year, I’m so grateful for being a part of TCMB where I can help others, but it brings tears to my eyes when I think about how much TCMB has helped me, for connecting me with other moms–knowing I’m not alone and I’m not a “bad” mom. It was hard to put myself out there and make new friends, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to do it through our Neighborhood Groups. I hope you’ll try them out this year and see how amazing they are for yourself!
Happy Birthday, Neighborhood Groups!
And THANK YOU to the volunteer Mombassadors that make them possible!
Find YOUR Neighborhood Group HERE.