Hillary Clinton (and anyone who has raised a child) was right: It does indeed take a village to raise a child. If you don’t have a supportive group at the ready to embrace, utilize, and to beg for last-minute babysitting, you know what you gotta do? Make your own village. It takes time, but the support and empathy you’ll get from your new parent-based community is worth the effort. They’ll be there for the good times (playdates!) and the bad (tantrums), and you might just make brand-new BFFs. Here are five tips to help you build your own parenting tribe.
1. Join an online parenting group. Before you meet anyone IRL, try joining a few online parenting groups. While it’s beneficial to have the groups near your home in case you want to eventually meet in-person, sometimes distance doesn’t matter. You could have a BFF mom group where the members live hundreds of miles away from you, but when you’re chatting online, it feels as if they’re in the same room. While they can’t be in your living room trading stories over tea, they’ll be there for you with advice morning, noon, and night. Search for local groups on bigtent.com or join an active group on Facebook.
2. Join an IRL social club for moms. Online, you’ll be able to cast a way wider net for fellow like-minded parents (there seems to be a group for everyone), but IRL support is invaluable. Not only will your kids make new friends, but you’ll learn about the local schools, babysitters, family-friendly restaurants, and much more. To find the perfect parenting group, you might be able to just Google one. Example: In San Francisco, you can find meet-ups with the Golden Gate Mothers Group, Mommies of the Richmond, San Francisco Parents of Multiples, and Black Moms of San Francisco.
3. Enjoy a local storytime. Do a bit of research and odds are you’ll find a kids’ story time at your local library, bookstore, or rec center. Before and after the actual story time is a great time to meet and chat with other parents, so plan to get there a little early. The activity will give you an easy opener for convos and a fun way for your kid to connect with other little ones. Watch as the playdates and parenting friendships bloom.
4. Hang out at playgrounds. If you have an active child (and really, what kid isn’t), then you’ll probably end up spending countless hours at the park, so make the best of it. Don’t keep your eyes glued on your phone or be so immersed with your child that you don’t interact with the other adults at the playground. Let your child play, stop checking Facebook, and talk with other moms and dads hanging at the playground.
5. Take your babe to classes. Pre-schools are an amazing resource for parents. You’re surrounded by parents that probably live nearby, have the same-aged kids, and may share your particular parenting philosophy (be it a co-op, Montessori, or language immersion). But if your little one isn’t yet of pre-school age, you can still reap the social rewards by signing them up for various classes, such as a “mommy-and-me” activity, a kiddie ballet, or music class.
Have you met any mom friends these ways? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!
(Photos via Getty)