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“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.

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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.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking.

On July 13, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department announced the 33-year-old mother's body was found at Lake Piru, five days after her son was found floating alone on a rented boat. According to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Rivera's last action was to save her son.

"We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point in her journey. It was at that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water," Ayub explained, adding that Rivera's son was wearing his life vest, but the adult life vest was left on the unanchored boat.

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Ayub says exactly what caused the drowning is still speculation but investigators believe the boat started drifting and that Rivera "mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat but not enough to save herself."

Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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