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Parenting

The Value of Meeting Moms

The Value of Meeting Moms

Most of us know by now the value of having a tribe. Moms need moms, it’s a fact of life. Parenthood is a far more approachable, navigable journey with the aid of experience. Moms who are a little further ahead of you on the path can offer invaluable insights into techniques, equipment, and numerous parenting failures that’ll make you less alone in the near constant hiccups and trip ups. 


These days, one’s tribe can be entirely online or on our phones. I, myself, have four close mom friends whom I talk to daily through texts but rarely get to see. Many of these friends are located out-of-state and so the phone is the only way we can check in to see how things are. Reaching out to other moms is necessary for encouragement and shared inquiries. I’m not knocking a technology tribe; I wouldn’t be able to function without mine.


All that said, there is something inherently validating about meeting moms in the wild. I have become an absolute Book Babies junky with my little one. Book Babies (or whatever other adorable title they use near you) is a once weekly story time for babies at our local library. I’ve been taking my son since he was four months and now he’s almost one. Through the eight months of weekly attending I’ve watched my own baby, and the babies around me, growing from wide-eyed, fragile infants into crawling, standing, burbling almost toddlers. 


It’s a thirty-minute commitment, and though it always seems to fall inexplicably at nap time, we go anyway, without fail. Why? Because my kid loves it and I love being surrounded by other mothers. A few of us recognize one another and wave, a couple moms I’ve swapped numbers with and text during the week, but mostly I don’t know these other moms. We have a lot of new babies popping into story time within a given month, and still we lose others to Tiny Tots (the next level up for toddlers). It isn’t about forging deep friendships, though if that happens during one of these meetups that’s a serious plus. It’s about getting yourself out of the house, getting your baby socializing, and chatting with new people about the same things you’re going through. 


Motherhood means a lot of shared experiences. This great club we’ve all been accepted into includes hours of conversations about nursing and weaning and naps and teething. And you know what? The person we’re talking to is not bored out of their skulls listening to us. They understand us! They WANT to know what worked for your bedtime routine or what sort of food you give your baby now that they’re eating solids. They don’t discount the fear of your kid choking on something the size of a chia seed, and they don’t laugh at your backwards, rumpled shirt because they’ve been there. Ok, ok, maybe they laugh at that, but it’s WITH you, not at you.


We may only brush elbows for thirty minutes every week, and some you’ll see again, and others you never will. It’s important for you to remember that it doesn’t have to turn into anything. This can just be a place to take your baby to learn about reading, it can be a place you go to relax as your baby pulls books from the shelves, because there’s another mom nearby watching him do it and will help if necessary


Phones are great. I couldn’t live without mine and the people it connects me to. But it’s time to step out of the comfort of your texting and chat with strangers who also feel your feels and suffer your suffers. 


Autumn B Follow

Autumn Bettinger is an outdoor-minded momma with a toddler and a lot to learn. She started writing about her experiences as a way to connect to other mothers and inspire them and their kids to get outdoors. Her blog has since evolved into writings about the day-to-day mom life with sprinkles of environmental education. Turns out, she was going to be an incredibly ambitious backpacking mother... before she had a baby. Now it's everything she can do to keep her son from stuffing leaves in his mouth on walks through the dog park.

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