I am an extroverted introvert. I love being around people; that’s how I recharge but I don’t care to be the center of attention. In my last job, I was alone in the office often. Phil could always tell when the financial advisor I worked with had been out because I would talk his ear off once I got home. I go stir crazy by myself. That’s not to say that I don’t need some time to get away every now and then, because I do, but for the most part I am always up for doing something with someone.
This personality trait is why I KNEW that I would need to tap into that extroverted side of myself more. We had decided that I was not going to go back to work after having Audrey but I knew that I could not sit at home all day every day. I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to do this but I decided to start with the New Mom’s Group at my hospital. I’ve found that a lot of hospitals or pediatric offices offer this so check with your local office!
Going to this group each week until Audrey was about 7 months old (at that point she became mobile and tried to steal toys from the babies that were only a few weeks/months old) has made such an impact on my experience as a mom. While it has been invaluable to have mom friends with older kids to share their experience, there is nothing like having a group that is in the thick of it with you. Going to this group, making friends within this group, and maintaining friendships that stemmed from this group has been the best thing I have done as a new mom. These are the moms that I go to first when something happens, not only with Audrey but really anything in life. Now, it does get a little birthday party crazy for about 6 weeks in the late spring/early summer, but I love watching all these littles grow. We get together with the kids, we get together without the kids, we celebrate birthdays, the arrival of siblings, heartache, and triumphs!
My advice to new moms is find a connection. Lack of social support is listed as one of the top risk factors for postpartum depression according to the CDC and http://www.knowppd.com. In our local moms facebook page for the region I live in, there are “classified ads” for mom friends consistently. Connection and community are key to who we are as people. This doesn’t mean that you have to have a gaggle of girlfriends or a “mom tribe.” Sometimes it just takes that one mom friend that you can call or text when you and or your little is having a day with no judgement coming back at you.
Another great way to connect is through MOPS. These groups are all over the world and get together on a regular basis with other moms that have children in Kindergarten or younger. MOPS also has MOMSnext which seems to be new (I am not finding a lot of information on it) but is geared for moms with school age kids.
For nursing moms, Le Leche League is another great way to connect with moms local to you. Unfortunately my local group is not that active but I have heard amazing things from other moms in other areas!
Own your own business? Mommies Hiring Mommies is a national resource for mom entrepreneurs to connect.
Type into Google or Facebook, “moms groups near me” and there will be a ton of options! Some are based on the are you live in, some are based on specific interests, and there are countless other categories available that can fit your needs.
The other greatest thing I did, or we did as parents? Got a Rock N Play. Seriously, this was the only reason I got any sleep those first few months! 😉
What was the best thing you did as a new mom?