Mother’s Day is coming soon! People usually put thought into celebrating their mothers, but how about celebrating yourself as a mother? In fact, why not make that celebration more often than once per year?
One of my greatest gifts of motherhood has been the thriving friendships happening within my own neighborhood. In 2014, Sean and I moved into our neighborhood from out of town with a 7-month-old baby. I didn’t know any neighbors, but I knew what I wanted and needed were good friends within walking distance to my home who are in similar life-stages as me.
So I went for a walk the day after moving in and ran into another mom pushing a stroller who I recognized from high school! I went out of my comfort zone to exchange numbers and made a plan to meet up again the very next day. She introduced me to a few others, and we slowly met more and more moms out on walks with strollers who ended up joining on what would become our daily 7:30 am Summer walks.
This group became organized via text thread and slowly morphed into a Facebook group that has quickly grown to nearly 100 women! While I don’t know everyone in the group, there have been pockets of us through the years that have helped each other celebrate motherhood by being a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a donated meal during hard times, babysitter when we needed breaks, and so much more.
When my friend Maria’s daughter was battling cancer, she stated, “I’ll never forget all the support and love I got from the group when Catherine was diagnosed, and again when she relapsed. So many brought us dinners and things to keep her busy during chemo or hospital stays. Not exactly fun, but it shows how supportive and kind the people are in this group.”
My friend Julia stated, “the group has definitely brought a sense of community and outreach for moms who are just in need of a tribe. Sometimes it can be isolating for both the full-time working mom and the SAHM mom and everything in between.”
I fully believe this type of yearning for community exists everywhere in this world. It’s part of who we are as people. I’ve learned over the years that all it takes is planning, and people come! Sometimes things are not well attended and sometimes events don’t go as planned, but in the end, I’ve realized that it is the “come as you are” moments that are the most simple and comfortable.
Jen Hatmaker sums it up well in her book For the Love:
“Community is such a basic human need. It helps us weather virtually every storm. A shared table is the supreme expression of hospitality in every culture on earth. If you have a porch, you have an altar to gather around. When your worn-out kitchen table hosts good people and good conversation, when it provides a safe place to break bread and share wine, your house becomes a sanctuary, holy as a cathedral.”
In the last eight years, our group has had some good times! One of our favorites has been what we call MOMcation. My friend Julie stated, “Momcation is always my favorite day of the year with poolside massages and no real timeline.”
I’ll end with a list of some of our other favorite activities/events we’ve done. I hope they inspire you!
- Library story time
- Kid-free meals out
- Kid swap (swapping childcare for each other to get breaks!)
- Mother’s Day picnic
- Meal swap (have a group of 4 all make 4 of the exact same meal ad get together to swap, ending up with 4 different meals)
- Momcation (Air B&B, private house, and even Four Seasons Houston)
- Mother’s Day brunch out with floppy hats and cocktails
- Meals for those who have had kids or going through hardships
- Moms giving (progressive dinner with appetizers at one house, dinner at another house, and dessert at another)
- Girl’s nights
- Tea parties
- Spoil a mom (we all signed up for a week in the year to be spoiled by the other moms)
- Matching neighborhood t-shirts
- Food truck parties
- Halloween parties and trick-or-treating as a group
- NYE parties that might end at 8 pm so we can put kids to bed
- Cookie exchange at Christmas
- Snow cone/hot chocolate stands
- Carpooling to school or summer camps
- Makeup lesson night
- Yoga night
- Ukulele night
If you’re longing for a community of moms, walking around your neighborhood or bringing kids to the park are good (and free) places to run into other moms. We all need community, sometimes we just have to get out of our comfort zone to do it. From one mom to another, we deserve each other!