It Takes a Village to Raise a Mother
I moved to Bensalem, Pennsylvania with my husband Anton just days after our “I do’s.” I was leaving my village and home of twenty-eight years behind to start a new life on the east coast for Anton’s residency in family practice.
This was always a possibility for us but I guess I just never saw moving as a legitimate reality. Four years later, I can’t say that this was not a great move for our family. Even as much as I miss our tribe back in the mitten, I know this is where we are meant to be and grow.
Anton finished his residency in July 2018 and we decided to move once again to central New Jersey with our six month old baby girl.
Now, I had found a tribe of people back in Bensalem, PA that I could lean on and do fun things with. We were SO incredibly lucky to land in an apartment complex with the nicest neighbors you could ask for. They treated us like family and we were a family. But moving 45 minutes away into a new neighborhood as a new mom was daunting for me.
I need people around me. I am not someone that can live in solitary confinement. I need girlfriends, conversation, FOOD, and wine! I need that interaction for me to be happy in my life.
My in-laws moved in with us in August. This was a god-send for us. We needed so much help with moving and working on the house. Things just can’t get done at a quick pace with a baby and husband that works 25/7. And no, that’s no typo. I mean 25/7.
Anyway, we were in the thick of it, working on the house that I didn’t really branch out and meet anyone in the area right away. My in-laws had a trip back to Minsk planned in September through October. They would be gone a little over a month.
This was the perfect opportunity for me and Vera to get out of the house and check out our new digs.
I had been reading another blog about an app called “Peanut.” Basically it’s like tinder for moms. Swipe up to “wave” and swipe down to skip. If another mom has “waved” at you, you’ll match! Then it’s up to you to start the conversation.
Even though I love talking to people, I am a little shy. I tend to let others approach me before I approach them but I started “waving” at several other mamas and ended up starting a few conversations.
One of the first women I texted with told me about a Facebook group called “BadAss Moms of NJ.” I decided to join and hoped that there would actually be meet-ups. One of the admins posted about going for a walk on the boardwalk at Asbury Park and last minute I decided to come. I’d never met any of these women before but what did I have to lose? The worst thing that would happen is that I would have nothing in common with these women and we would end up talking about our kids the entire time.
I was pleasantly surprised. I felt so welcomed by each of the three other women at the meet-up. I was able to talk about things that I had been struggling with in my new role as mom and with women my own age. Certain things that I thought I was crazy about suddenly didn’t seem so crazy and I didn’t feel so isolated.
That is one thing no one ever talks about becoming a new mom — and a stay-at-home mom at that — is how isolated you feel. Your whole world changes and in a beautiful way but the old life that you had been accustomed to is gone. You feel a little shell shocked. And while we do have family that provides a great support system, the support you get from moms your own age, and who are going through it at the same time as you, is incomparable.
Finding this group of ladies changed a lot of things for me. It allowed me to make a home in my new home. It let me put down roots. It helped me make connections with some amazing women and grow some pretty awesome friendships.
This is SO important for us as new moms. To have that support and camaraderie with other mamas. And it’s wonderful for our kids too! Not only do they have a mom who is more at peace with herself, but they are able to interact with other kids and build friendships and the social skills they will need when they head into school.
So I encourage all of you mamas to step outside of your comfort zone and find a local mom group that you can be a part of. I promise you that you will find at least one other person who gets you and will not judge. And if there isn’t a group that you vibe with, start your own. That’s how the group I’m in all started. Two bad ass ladies didn’t like what was out there so they changed the game. There are always people out there who will share a similar mindset as you, you just need to find them and take the first step.
Local New Jersey mamas, if you are looking for a tribe to support you and uplift you, you know where to find us! We won’t judge you if you want to feed your child non-organic fruit snacks and Chef Boyardee.
By the way, let’s just stop all the mom shaming nonsense right now. We are all just doing this on the fly and what is best for our families. None of us have this all figured out.
After all, it takes a village to raise a helluva mama too.