“Taking care of a baby is an isolating experience,” says Melissa Stanton, author of The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide: Field-tested Strategies for Staying Smart, Sane, and Connected While Caring for Your Kids (Seal Press).
Indeed, new moms often feel cut off from the outside world and their former, independent lives. Between regular feedings, endless diapering, and the life changes that accompany caring for a newborn, there’s little time for new moms to get the much-needed support — and the me-time — they need.
“You have this new baby and you don’t realize there’s a whole host of struggles, fears, and challenges that go along with it,” says Hannah Keeley, the mother of seven who is founder of hannahkeeley.com and host of the new PBS series, Hannah, Help Me!
Get Out There
“You have to be proactive and put yourself out there to find friends,” says Stanton, a mother of 6-year-old twins and an 11-year-old. She’s right! After moving to a new town, Stanton joined the Newcomers Club and called every mom who had a baby the same month she had hers and invited them to her house for a playgroup.
You’re not going to meet anyone staying in your house all day, so put baby in the stroller and take a walk to the park, into town, or just around the neighborhood. Introduce yourself to other moms or take the initiative by inviting them over for coffee. Take advantage of the free story hours and other events offered at your local library. Strike up a conversation at the gym, the bookstore, or the local café. By listening to other moms’ stories and sharing advice, you’ll soon find you’re not alone in the job of motherhood.
Become a Joiner or a Leader
It’s easier than ever to find local groups for moms, mommy-and-me classes, and play groups. Search online for local organizations and events and ask other moms for suggestions. (Visit www.nymetroparents.com for resources in your area). Volunteer for a cause you support or attend a fundraising event where many families gather. Become a representative for a direct sales company and invite other moms over for a party, or host a barbecue, a play date, or a moms-only night.
“Doing something that’s not about being a mom is a great way to meet people, too,” says Stanton. “You can’t be a mom 24/7, so you have to have parts of your day and your life where you’re you.” So go ahead and learn a new hobby or find a group with other like-minded moms. Inquire about your religious organization’s groups for moms and family events.
Since new moms tend to gravitate to other new moms, Keeley says that seeking support from moms with older children is key because they’ve already been through it. “If you don’t consciously make attempts to get a network of friends, other moms, and mentors, you’ll never evolve to that level where you’re a confident mom yourself,” she says.
For more information about Melissa Stanton, visit www.reallifesupportformomsblog.com, and for Hannah Kelley, visit www.hannahkeeley.com.
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