Finding Support as a Parent

When you have your first baby it’s an overwhelming experience, especially after the reality of the daily routine sets in. We love our little ones but there is still that yearning for adult conversation, there’s a need to be with other parents  who you can talk to and they still understand why you continually talk about sleep, diaper rash, breast-feeding and babies. But finding those other parents to connect with can be hard when none of your current friends have children or have children of different ages.

My kids were both born in Winnipeg. After my first was a few months old, I started a mommy & me fitness class, joined a parenting group and started talking to other people who had kids. It worked and I ended up with a great group of moms with babies all around the same age. We did playdates and outings. We could talk to each other about what we were experiencing without worrying that it was boring the other person.

baby playdate

Then a few years later, we moved back to Vancouver. It was great to be around family again and have some help with the kids. But there was something missing. That circle of mom friends who you could call when you were feeling down or overwhelmed. That routine of knowing where you can take your kids on what days for activities and groups. All the friends that I’d left behind six years ago were great but they were all in a different place in their life than I was.

It was hard. I remember going to the park one day with the kids and seeing a group of moms with their children having a picnic while they chatted and their kids played with each other. It really had me feeling so wistful for the ‘mommy friends’  I had left behind in Winnipeg. I even wrote a post about it. I got a lot of support from it, especially from other moms. It made me realize that I wasn’t the only one out there feeling like this and that there are lots of different ways to make connections if we make the effort.

A year later, things are a lot better. I’ve joined some groups, made some new friends and we’ve even gone on some playdates. I wanted to help other parents out there who are looking to make new connections and new friends for themselves and their kids, so I decided to make a list of some great resources to meet, get advice from and even find playdates with other parents.

1. Tri Cities Moms Group – Facebook groups are a great way to meet other parents in your area. For me, the Tri Cities Mom Group has been amazing. Since I joined, if I ever post a question or dilemma, I get so many responses right away. I went to group playdates through there and I even met some fun mommy friends that I really connected with. When I posted how I was feeling sad and missing my mommy friends in Winnipeg, I had so many awesome parents connect with me and offer to set up playdates, it was great! This FB group even organizes Mom’s nights out, fun playdates and activities for the kids, answers questions about where to find a good pedeatrician and good places to cut your hair. Even if you’re going through a tough time, have trouble with your kids or your relationship, you’ll always find someone in the Tri Cities Moms Group to talk to and get advice from. You name it, it’s there. It’s such a great way to meet other parents in the community. I would definitely recommend it!

2. Library Story Time – Another great way to get out of the house and do something fun and educational with the kids is story time at the library. It’s also a wonderful way to meet other parents with kids the same age as yours because once story time is over everyone’s milling around the library looking for books and playing computer games. Then you start seeing each other regularly and start chatting and the next thing you know, you’re FB friends and you’re scheduling a playdate! It really happens, it happened to me 🙂

3. Strong Start (or Lil’ Squirts Program) – These programs are basically like a preschool/daycare setting where caregivers stay with their children. There are toys, books, activities and crafts. Kids can play and socialize and so can parents. It’s a great way to get your child used to a school setting and meet other parents, drink coffee and chat.

4. Mom and Baby Fitness Programs – Fitness programs where you can bring you little ones are also a great way to connect with other mothers who are also trying to get back to a routine after having babies and are probably looking to make connections just like you. And there are tons of classes out there where you can take your baby like yoga, bootcamp, aerobics, stroller walks, so find what you love to do and then sign up.

freefoto.com
Photo Courtesy: FreeFoto.com

Being a parent is wonderful, but it can also be very hard. It’s important to have friends and family who you can talk to and rely on for friendship, comfort and support. You should never feel alone as a parent and you aren’t. Reach out a little and you’ll see how it works out. These are relationships that you are creating that could last a lifetime both for you and your children.

*What worked best for you when you were trying to meet other parents or make ‘mommy friends?’ 

24 thoughts on “Finding Support as a Parent

  1. Hi Salma,

    Love your baby fitness ideas. I think it’s a great way to find support as a parent and an awesome way to get your fitness in as well!

  2. Hey Salma,

    What a fab post! Being a parent can be hard at the best of times, but especially if you don’t have a family and friends network around you. You have shared some really great ways to overcome the isolation.

    I’m going to share this in my blogging community 🙂 Which you welcome to be part of by the way 🙂

    Have a great day.

    Beth 🙂

  3. These are some awesome ideas. Everyone needs support… Mom’s and soon-to-be Mom’s and even Choosing-to-not-be Mom’s. This is a great resource.

  4. Having raised five children I know how important it is to have adults to share things with. Like you mentioned family is wonderful but sometimes you need an outside outlet. Great list of programs you shared.

  5. Salma, this is such an important topic. I love your tip to head to Library story time! It’s not just great for meeting other moms and kids of a similar age, but it’s also awesome for literacy development. And who doesn’t love a good story? Vancouver is a great place to raise a child. I used to head to the Vancouver public library near Yaletown when I lived in Vancouver. I wrote about my love for Vancouver (and parenting) here: http://globalwiseparenting.com/2014/05/the-road-trip-that-led-to-a-global-lifestyle/

    1. Vancouver is really a beautiful place to raise children. Thanks so much for your comment Alice and I will definitely check out your post!

  6. I think one of the reasons that I have such fond memories about my 2 different maternity leaves, which were both a year plus long, was because of the accessibility to parenting groups and baby friendly groups./classes that we have in downtown Vancouver. I never felt isolated and if I ever felt overwhelmed I’d head out to the seawall with my baby, grab a coffee and my mood would boost. Especially as it seemed that every other person had a baby! This is a big reason that I love being a mama in the city!

  7. I’m still friends with my mom friends over 20 years later from my first son. It makes such a difference to have that support.

  8. These are great ideas. When I had my first way back, 20 years ago (I totally just aged myself), I remember joining a “mommy and me” class and it was wonderful to just get some adult conversation. When you are surrounded by kids all day, you can start to go a little nuts and having some adult friends can really help keep the sanity.

  9. I can so relate, having also moved a year after our first was born. Closer to family was great but where were my sisters?? The thing about bonding with other moms after baby is that it is so immediate- all of you so raw and lost and in the trenches that there is like a instant solidarity. You know? I found that after those initial months, it takes time and, like you say, being more proactive.

    1. It’s good to know we’re not alone in feeling like this Heather. And you’re right, there is a bonding with other new moms because of the experience you’ve just been through. That’s why I thought it was harder to make new friends when the kids are older. Thanks for your comment.

  10. I’m socially awkward and I moved cities so I struggle in this area. I have found the mommy groups I joined on Meetup.com great for letting me know about events and playdates I could attend. Joining a book club also helped. It’s also great for other interests you may have as it connects you with like-interested people in your area.

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