Finding Your Village
Parenting is not something that should be done solo, and I'm not talking about having a spouse or partner. Family members and close friends can offer support, but to be the best parent you can be and maintain any semblance of sanity, you're going to need to find your village. These are the people who understand your struggles, sympathize with you on your bad days, and celebrate your successes, big or small. In today's world of busy is better, it can be difficult to find the time to connect with new people and build your village, but here are some tips to help.
Tell yourself it's OK to be scared. When you're trying to meet new friends, it can feel like you're right back on the playground hoping you don't get picked last for dodgeball. While it's probably unrealistic to just get over your fears and anxieties, you can make them less powerful by accepting that it's going to be uncomfortable at first — and maybe for a while.
Try different approaches. When you first start trying to find your people, it can feel like you're the only one in your particular situation. Maybe it seems like every mommy group is full of married stay-at-home moms with perfect pedicures and you're a single parent barely getting by. Get to know your neighbors or start visiting churches in your area. Mommy groups can be great for some, but they aren't the be all and end all of finding supportive people.
Look for different. You don't have to find people who are exactly the same as you. Having some things in common is nice for establishing a relationship and having easy conversation topics, but different friends can be very valuable. They can provide a fresh perspective and possible solutions that you wouldn't have thought of.
Be patient. Establishing friendships as an adult is hard. People have less time and energy to invest, and it can be hard to find times to get together that match up with everyone's schedule. Sometimes the best friendships start after you've been nodding and smiling to each other in car line for the past year and can finally go grab coffee after.
Most important of all: Don't take it personally if you strike out at first, and don't make assumptions. Not everyone is going to get along, and you don't want to miss an opportunity just because you were sure someone was too busy or not interested. The best part about the village is there's always room for more.
How did you find your village?Read More