“Join a mom group!,” they said. “It will keep you sane!,” they said. Forget about the unsolicited delivery horror stories and the constant inquiry into the kind of birth you’ll have. Once you have a baby, “joining a mom group” becomes the number-one piece of mom advice you get. But putting yourself out there can be intimidating, and finding a mom tribe can be difficult for every first-time mom. Then add in the fact that you work 40+ hours a week (on top of mommying), and it becomes a pretty overwhelming feat.
It was certainly a big challenge for me. I didn’t have any mom friends and couldn’t attend most of the mommy-and-me yoga classes and park playdates happening around me. I was stuck behind my desk, at work. Eventually, I was so fed up with my feelings of isolation that I went on Meetup.com. I originally went on there to try and find this elusive mom group everyone was talking about, but ended up creating a group for “Working Moms of Los Angeles,” fully expecting to cancel my subscription the following month. Fast forward to 6 months later, and we have over 100 members who meet on a monthly basis.
The moms who joined showed so much enthusiasm to finally be part of a group. They shared my struggle to make mom friends and told me their work didn’t allow them to attend any of the daytime activities that were such a big part of the bonding experience among mothers. So if, like us, you are a working mom and have had a hard time building relationships with other moms, I’d like to share my tips to help you find the support you need after having a baby.
Here are 4 tips to build your mommy tribe when you are a working mom.
1. Don’t be a flake.
I have yet to plan an event I didn’t have the urge to bail on. When I put it on the calendar, it seems like a great idea. But life and responsibilities get the best of me every, single, time. I urge you to do what you need to do to make attending possible, even if you are “not in the mood” when the day arrives. It is easy to hide behind the excuse that you are “too busy” to make friends. I leave every meetup feeling loved, positive, inspired and energized. You will too.
2. Band together with moms you work with.
As working moms, we often feel like we need to suppress that side of our lives in the workplace in order to appear more “dedicated” to our job. I am here to tell you, this idea is total nonsense. We need to own the reality that we are awesome employees AND awesome moms, if we want others to do so too. Talk with your HR representative about starting a committee of mothers at your workplace. Come prepared with a well thought-out objective for your committee and how you will achieve it. For example, your objective could be to promote bonding and build morale among the mothers at your office. If a committee sounds like too much of an undertaking right now, invite a mom you work with but don’t know very well to coffee this week.
3. Start your own group.
I promise you, you are not the only working mom in your area who wishes there were a group that fits her schedule -- even if you do feel like you are alone on an island most of the time. Meetup.com is a great place to do this. Create the group you wish existed, and like-minded mamas will come.
4. Keep it virtual to start
If meeting strangers in person is not your jam, take baby steps and connect with other moms online. A quick way to do this is by joining a Facebook mom group in your area. You can search by city or neighborhood. But if you’d rather have a group that focuses on your parenting style of choice, you can search by that too! (If your parenting style of choice is to give them lollipops to keep them quiet and yourself red wine most nights to keep it together, I will not judge you -- I will join you). Join the group of your choice, get engaged in the conversations, add your fave moms as “friends.” You may just work up the trust overtime to become offline friends too.
Danielle lives in Santa Monica California with her husband and daughter. She manages a business development team for a prominent tech company in Silicon Beach and works diligently to grow her own small business, Olivia + Ocean, a boutique child swimwear line that gives back.