‘Somebody to lean on’

Brittany Gilbert

One thing I’ve realized as a mom is that I have to have community. As a new mom, I needed others in the same stage of life to make me feel less crazy. I was tired, hormonal and lonely. When people aren’t connected, it can be isolating and hard to deal with the struggles of life. Community is there for the hard times and also for the good. It’s nice to have people to celebrate with, too. Here are some ways to find a community and build some lasting relationships. 

Find a community

There are so many ways to find a local community. Most churches offer life groups in demographics. Plus, there are local book clubs, mom and me groups, etc. The local kids club in Conway, Share.the.Love Kidsclub has a “momsclub” group on Facebook. 

While social media makes it so easy to connect with people, I prefer to connect in person, and I know many moms in this group who have set up playdates. If you need a place to start, consider joining the group and set up a playdate. You can find local moms who are in the same season of life (or not, if you’re looking for a mentor), and even in similar groups. For instance, our family homeschools, so it was absolutely vital for us to get involved in a community with likeminded beliefs and methods. When we got plugged in to that community, we experienced friendships and connections that helped us so much. 

Find a mentor

A lot of times we have friends our age who can only relate to what we’re going through, but can’t actually offer any wisdom on what to look forward to on the other side of our troubles. One of the best things I’ve learned is to seek out and ask someone to be your mentor. This doesn’t have to just be a more experienced mom — it can be someone who you admire for their spiritual or professional walk. You can even have more than one mentor. 

I needed this in my life because often when I felt like I was drowning in a situation, my friends were only able to sympathize, which is still really great, but my mentors could relate. They could give me wisdom to calm my anxiety and help me see that I was stuck in a moment, rather than dealing with what I felt was a permanent problem. 

To me, a spiritual mentor is just as important. If you’re lucky, you can find this in the same person. When praying and thinking about this mentor, consider your personalities.

Be a friend and mentor you would want for yourself

I think most moms, new or experienced, can say that they’ve encountered less than encouraging moms. Judgmental moms, even. Ones who want to tell you that you’re doing things wrong instead of encouraging or supporting you. Ones who want to talk bad about you, instead of pulling you aside and gently telling you how they feel. I tend to believe that these moms haven’t felt the benefits of a life-giving friend or mentor. 

The more I surround myself with positive women who build me up instead of tearing me down, the more I want to do the same for others. I feel honored to be able to provide the same encouragement I’ve received to other moms who are raising babies or kids younger than mine. It also makes me want to be a better friend to friends in similar or different stages of life. It doesn’t cost anything to be kind and supportive, to be a good listener and encourager. Chances are, we’ve all needed it in our own journey. 

Maybe you aren’t in a position right now to be a mentor. Maybe you are the one really needing a community or just a good friend. The saying “you can’t fill from an empty cup” is so true. Before you can truly walk in a position as a mentor, you need some people in your life to build you up. Don’t be afraid to reach out and find that community. There are other moms out there for you and ones that need you and what you can give. Like the old song says, “We all need somebody to lean on.” You know you’re singing it.