Connecting with your Community

20 08 2009

Parenting can be lonely. Your lifestyle changes drastically. Perhaps you are the first in your circle of friends to have children. Perhaps you are surprised by the isolation of maternity leave. Perhaps you long for a real connection with other parents rather than those conversations where you pretend it’s not as hard as it is. Perhaps you find the playground intimidating.

Most parents agree that parenting is both the hardest and most fulfilling job they’ve ever held. You can try your hardest to prepare yourself but no amount of reading, observing and talking to other parents can prepare you for it.

Parenting transforms your life to the place where you can’t imagine your life before children. And suddenly you find yourself relishing conversations about the minutiae of raising children. It just isn’t the same without a community to share it with. So what can you do to foster that need for community?

Check out these articles on community:

Finding Your Tribe: Feed Your Soul while Feeding Your Kids – an article from Mothering Magazine on creating a parenting community for yourself.

Longing For Community – Natural Parenting guru and former Mothering Magazine editor Peggy O’Mara’s thoughts on community.

Create a Date Night Group
Join up with 3 other families and start babysitting each others’ kids. Each week one family watches all the kids. The other 3 couples get date night. So 1 Friday per month you might have a mad-house full of kids—the other 3 Fridays you get to be alone with your partner! And as the years pass, the kids will entertain each other and all you’ll have to do is make sure they are safe.

Start a Book Club or a Knitting Night

Find a group of parents and read parenting books to discuss at a potluck. Have older kids? Start a book club and invite the kids like the Mother/Daughter book club The Page Turners in the November/December 2008 issue of Mothering Magazine. Always knitting? Start a knit night with other moms. Rotate meetings so each family takes a turn hosting.

Team Up
Commit to regular check ins with another mom so you can encourage and support each other with your parenting challenges and triumphs. Agree to call each other once a week just to see how it’s going. Find a parent with older kids who is willing to act as a mentor to you. Check in regularly (once a week or once a month). Read the book The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and if you’re in BC join a Mama Renew group.

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2 responses

21 08 2009
Amber

Creating a parenting community really is so, so important. I found mine at La Leche League. I was really hesitant to go to that first meeting, but I’m so glad I did. Having other moms to share the journey with has saved my sanity and helped me in more ways than I can count. :)

21 08 2009
bluebirdmama

Amber, thanks for mentioning organization-sponsored sources of community. So invaluable. It can help to have some common ground besides just having kids the same age.

Anyone have any others to add? Church groups, moms networks, etc?

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