We all need relationships and this is especially true when we become mothers. We were created to interact with others and do life together. We need friends but sometimes in the midst of motherhood it can be a challenge to find your people.
First of all, look beside you to those who are at the same stage in life as you. MOPS and other places, like a playgroup etc, are great for finding friends in this stage. However, it is quite easy to be part of these bigger groups without forming close relationships. Invite someone over for morning tea or arrange to meet in a park. When I had a baby and a toddler, I invited a lady from church over who had a child in between the ages of my two. Nearly 20 years later she remains a very close friend.
Another way to find your people is to look “before you”. Look for those who have gone before you and have gained wisdom about the stage of life you’re in. For me, when my daughter was 4 or 5 months old, I remember listening to an episode of Focus on the Family about finding fellow Christian mums to journey the adventure of motherhood with. Since I was the only one in our church with a baby or young child, I remember crying out to God for some Christian mum friends. Soon after that our church secretary invited me to join the Bible Study she was part of. It consisted of mainly women whose children were grown up or nearly grown. Two of them were family day care mothers and had children with them at the Bible Study, meaning my children had play mates as they got older. At this Bible Study I found friends who walked with me through the early years of motherhood as they had gone before me.
Then, even if you’re only a month or two further along than someone else, you can help those who are coming through that next stage. So, look behind you. When I was still a mother of pre-schoolers some of the others in our church started having babies. I used to meet once a week/fortnight to talk about MOPS with a lady whose children were younger than both of mine. During this time, we also connected as mothers, so she was one of my “behind me” friends. Our eldest children are similar in many ways so I have been able to support her through different stages. Those two girls are now young adults and although there is about a two-and-a-half-year age gap, they are also good friends.
Finally, you can look “beyond you” for your people. Don’t get trapped in the barrier of thinking your friends have to be just like you. Look around you and be open to unexpected relationships that can happen along the way. Perhaps a mum who is a different age to you, someone who speaks a different language or someone with different values to you. In my pre-baby days, I worked in child care. A work colleague who was probably 15 years older than me, married but without children, became my closest friend at work. Sure, we had some things in common – our love of young children and of reading. But in many ways, she was different from me. So, look beyond you for those unexpected friendships.
So find your people by looking beside you to the women who are at the same stage as you, looking before you to those who have been there and done that, looking behind you to those who are following you and looking beyond you for those unexpected friendships. Don’t do motherhood alone.
Stafford MOPS Kids Coordinator
Jillian is married with 2 young adult children and has been blogging at www.feedmyfamilyblog.com for over 6 years. On the blog, she writes about feeding the family in body, mind, heart & soul. Jillian enjoys speaking at women’s groups & conferences about parenting and passing on faith to our children. She has also started developing some faith resources for families. Jillian has just completed a Graduate Certificate in Children and Families Ministry.