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finding community in motherhood

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Finding friendship as a mother can be challenging.  Our time is so often filled with taking care of our homes and children and work that we can simply forget to reach out to our existing friends, let alone form new ones. Some friendships are for specific seasons, connections to help us through a specific time or transition. Others, often the most surprising ones, linger longer and move with us through all stages of life. During my decade of motherhood, I’m so grateful for all of the women who have trickled in and out of my life, knowing even the briefest connections have left lasting impressions and impact.

This weekend, I spent time with a few friends who I began homeschooling alongside so many years ago. Due to our growing families and life circumstances, our paths do not always cross in the same consistent ways they once did, but the sporadic meet-ups where we hear and share the hard and sweet spots of our journey with one another are still so sweet for my soul. As I shared an image and thought of these women through social medias last night, I realized these sentiments might be hurtful for women who aren’t experiencing connection, women who long for at least one friend with whom to share the journey.  I am a fairly introverted person who also homeschools and works mostly from home, too, so I know this season can feel isolating. It is easy to see images on the internet and hear stories from other people and feel like we’re missing out, that somehow we are the only ones who are lonely or are caught up in the rote path of motherhood or home-education. It is simply not true.

Occasionally in life, we are fortunate enough to stumble into an already existing community of friendship, and other times, we have to go out and discover it ourselves. Either way, friendship and community always require work and initiative, but as most anyone will tell you, the reward is worth the effort. For any of you feeling isolated or struggling to find relationships, here’s a few different ways I’ve made friends over the years. They are simple thoughts, but I hope at least one will resonate with you and encourage you to keep searching for community.

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take a look around, right where you are / Is there someone casually in your life who you want to spend more time with? Have you noticed a mother at your library, park, gym, or church who you naturally gravitate toward? If your children are in school or take dance, music, or art lessons, play on a sport team or participate in a nature club–look around at the other mothers. Are there any you might connect with? Who do your children naturally gravitate toward? Be bold: ask for a play date or meet-up.

initiate the invite / Don’t wait for someone else to invite you. For various reasons ranging from moving to a new town or country to the fact that we are deeply introverted, it can be difficult for anyone to work up the courage to initiate friendship. Be courageous.  If you’re wanting friendship or needing community, reach out to another mom, even if it’s just one and invite her over for coffee and/or for her kids to play. If you live in a small home or apartment, find a public place to meet: park, local children’s museum, or local eatery with a play space for kids.

search for local play groups / Sometimes larger homeschool or play groups post meeting times and places on websites and blogs. A simple online search with keywords, such as play group, homeschool group, nature club, with your city and state, can turn up several options for you to try. Like anything, if you’re wanting to connect with smaller, more specific niches, use more specific key words, such as waldorf, unschool, montessori, classical, charlotte mason, instead of simply searching homeschool group. Although these groups don’t necessarily mean you’ll find your best friend, you just might, and at the very least, you’ve begun your journey for community.

find online community / Sometimes our life circumstances or locale make it more difficult to connect with mothers in person. Everyday beautiful online communities of women are forming and growing. Instagram has been one of my favorite (and easiest) places to connect or be inspired by other mothers regularly. If you’re needing a place to start, Wild+ Free and Childhood Unplugged are my favorite collaborative accounts for encouragement, inspiration, and laughter as a mother and home-educator.  They always tag the mothers who capture the moments, so don’t be afraid to follow bunny trails or send an email or direct message to one of the mothers who resonates with you.

8 replies
  1. Kari
    Kari says:

    Thanks for the reminder to actively seek out friendship and community. I became a SAHM last July and am still learning how to build friendships in this new phase of life so this was an encouraging reminder for me :]

    Reply
    • Bethany
      Bethany says:

      You’re welcome, Kari. Being home with our children truly is such a gift, but one that requires support and help, too. I’m always glad to encourage young mothers toward one another. x

      Reply
  2. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    Hi Bethany! Funny that you would post this – I recently saw the stack of books you’re currently reading and found it very similar to my own. I was compelled to order “I Am Coyote” and really loving it so far. I’m also a huge fan of photographing stacks of my own books (and those of my children), partly to help my failing memory but also because I think it’s a great way to capture a moment in time, the feelings of a season or an issue we’re working through. I started to think that once a month or so I’d love to share my stack on Instagram and tag others to do the same. I think it’s a great way to inspire us all to read more, independently and with our little ones and it’s also a quick, fun way to get new recommendations. I’d love to continue to see your stacks and your post nudged me to reach out and thank you for helping to start a new little corner of community that I hope will also inspire others. #shareyourstack Warmest Wishes, Jenny

    Reply
    • Bethany
      Bethany says:

      I love that idea, Jenny. I so often forget when people asking me about book recommendations, so thank you for letting me know about your new hashtag. I’ll be sure join in!

      Reply
  3. Danielle
    Danielle says:

    Great suggestions, Bethany. Like you, I’m introverted, homeschool, and work from home. Despite that, I have a thriving homeschool community I’m part of through Classical Conversations. It’s been great. We have a weekly science group that spun off from CC that now meets on Fridays to explore the science sentence memorized in CC through experiments. So fun for our kids AND the moms.

    I heartily second being the one to initiate! Despite being introverted, I don’t find initiation hard, for whatever reason, although I understand some might. I have to say if I waited around for someone to invite me, I’d still be waiting. 🙂 I recently had a baby and took a break from lots of doing and going but now that she’s 2 months, we’re getting back to regular life. We’ve had 4 playdates in the past month and I initiated 3 out of the 4 of them. One was in my house, one was at Chick-fil-a, and one was at a local indoor bouncy place. I’d encourage anyone to take the time to initiate. It might take a while to connect or find the right people to connect with, but eventually it will happen!

    Reply
    • Bethany
      Bethany says:

      How incredible, Danielle! I love hearing of all the ways you’re taking initiative and reaching out for friendship with different mothers. What a gift for all of you! Thank you so much for sharing more ideas. xo

      Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] those of you who need ideas or courage in finding community in motherhood, I wrote about that here.  For those of you who tend to guard your underbelly and struggle with perfectionism in […]

  2. […] seasons alone with your children. You might find a few ideas for meeting friends in what I wrote here last […]

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