Sleepless nights, body transformations, hormones and emotions galore, relationship shifts, and literally living just to keep a tiny human alive- being a new mom is one of the most challenging times of a woman's life. One of the things that helped me survive the first months as a mother was my mom group.
It all started in prenatal yoga. Desiree and I joined yoga together, we both invited some friends who were also expecting. When were supposed to be in downward dog, we were often comparing pregnancy symptoms and plans for the babies to be. I remember our yoga class getting smaller every few weeks, as we were all giving birth and missing seeing everyone regularly. It began as a joke that we should continue meeting up with our babies.
Then mom squad just kind of created itself. We were always texting each other, wanting to know if what were experiencing with our new babies was normal or totally crazy (like it seemed!) and even just looking for support or a listening ear. We thought it would be so fun to get together once for a picnic and have the babies 'play' (sleep near other babies). The first mom date was at the forestry farm and we all didn't want it to end, even though a storm was coming. We all stayed as long as we possibly could, before getting rained out and blown away.
We decided that we should have mom group more regularly, since we had such a great first experience. Initially, we tried to plan 'outings' each week (walks, parks, coffee shops, etc.). It seemed like a good idea at the time; to encourage us to get out of the house and socialize. However, we quickly discovered that for us, hosting mom group in our homes was much more feasible. It meant more space to play, more flexibility with timing, a place for babies to nap, room to change diapers... I could go on. Our houses were just much more convenient.
It took some time and planning, but we found a day that worked each week to meet (Wednesdays). Moms with older kids often find childcare so they can spend some one-on-one time with their littlest babes. It can be hard coordinate nap times, but chances are there will always be a few moms and babies coming and going at the same time. We often have a potluck brunch which is one of my favourite parts, as some days the whole day passes me by before I realize I haven't eaten or drank a thing.
Sometimes (like when I'm hosting) we celebrate a holiday or do a theme, so this past week we had a 'Pyjama Party' theme and all the moms and babies wore their jams and we had brunch (hence, the photos below). It is an opportunity to make a typical day on maternity leave more exciting and a change from the regular routine.
The other big part of mom squad is our ongoing group chat. It is rare that a day will pass without several messages in the mom squad messenger. From questions, to struggles, triumphs, recipes, sale alerts, and so much more, it is an amazing place to connect with one another. The chat is even good for a laugh when some of us happen to be awake with the baby in the middle of the night. Just starting a group chat with other moms is a great start and place to connect.
I've asked each member of our Mom Squad to share a bit about what our group means to them.
"#momsquad means so much more to me then just a weekly gathering with friends. It's support, it's knowledge, it's a break, it's friendship, it's advice, it's a place to vent and laugh, it's socialization for the babies, its a time to have some coffee or a mimosa and just connect with moms that are going through motherhood just like you. The ins the outs and the ups and downs, we are here to support each other through it all. We have an ongoing message thread that we chat on throughout the week and then we are fortunate enough to meet up every week (slowly coming close to the end as mamas are starting to head back to work - tears!) along with our babies and just chat and connect about everything that is going on. This is my second child and I did not have a mom group with my first, boy do I ever wish I would have found one or started one. Although I am enjoying every moment of having this group of amazing ladies this time around, it would have been an incredible thing to have with the first babe when you are just figuring it all out for the first time. The support is priceless. If you are a new mom or expecting and don't have any close friends in the same boat, I highly suggest getting out into the community to meet some moms and build your own squad, all you need is a friend or two to start :). Women empowering women is what it is all about, it really does take a village. I love my squad!"
"Just talking about my close-knit Mom Squad could make a girl tear up. I feel incredibly blessed that I have this amazing team of moms and babies in my corner. I have talked to so many other new moms who feel lost and disconnected from their old friends and even the outside world. Mom squad helps with this. Going from working full-time in a busy environment to being a full-time first-time mom on maternity leave was beyond shocking. For me, I thrive off of the social interaction and close connection with other moms. I eagerly look forward to our get togethers each week. In my 28 years on earth, these past 10 months of being a mom have truly been the happiest of my life. As my maternity leave is coming to an end, my heart is breaking thinking about returning to work and leaving my baby and Mom Squad behind. One thing that I look forward to is continuing to get together with mom squad, hopefully monthly. Excuse me while I go cry myself to sleep."
"To me, Mom Squad is a support group that I am fortunate to have been a part of since the beginning of my maternity leave with my first child. I've had zero experience with babies prior to having my own, so in addition to the much needed adult interaction, I've found Mom Squad to be a great resource. I can share and ask advice on very personal matters as I feel Mom Squad has my back and we all want to take care of each other and make sure our babies and ourselves are thriving! We all have differences of course but we are respectful and compassionate! I'm so grateful for Mom Squad and I hope that I'm just as lucky my second time around! Xoxoxo love these ladies and these babies!
"As a second time mom, I can't emphasize enough the importance of having a supportive group around you. I had a similar experience with my first child, although the group had a very different dynamic. However, the essential parts remain the same. Having a group of babies that are close in age allow you to compare notes and fears as well as share in the joys of parenting these sweet little babes. Despite being surrounded by people, I have felt a lot of isolation as a mother after both babies were born. Having people to share this common experience really helped. I didn't have a lot of friends with babies when my first was born, so the huge shift in my lifestyle made me feel like I was in my own at times. I connected with friends of friends and we have become very close over the years. This time with my second child is certainly different as I have lots of friends at his stage of life and lucky for me my sister and sister in law are part of mom squad with me. The greatest part of mom squad with second baby is that it really allows a time for us to bond. Life is pretty busy with 2 kids, but having a weekly get together when my older son is at daycare has been a really nice time to slow down and visit with friends as well as get some quiet time in with my little guy. It's important for our babies as well as us moms (and dads) to connect in a social setting and if you can incorporate a delicious brunch and laughs, all the better. Thank you Mom Squad. I love you mamas and babies!"
"Through the bond and connection of our mom squad we don't only get friendship but we get a network of information and endless support from a group of mom's we trust and love. This first year with my son has been amazing, and mom squad has been a big part of it. There's nothing like baby talk over brunch to help celebrate the milestones or offer support in times of stress and sleepless nights. Not to mention the group chat."
"I feel so grateful and thankful for getting to know such an amazing group of ladies at our weekly Mom Squad gatherings. For myself, it's been a place where I can talk to other adults, relate to other moms and women about family, husbands, children and everything baby. It's a group of supportive and non-judgemental moms who are always there to lend an ear or offer baby advice, since we will or have already, been through it. For myself, the Mom Squad has made it feel less isolating at 3AM when my baby is feeding or crying/teething, because chances are, a fellow mom is also awake. What I'll miss when I go back to work full-time this summer is seeing these ladies each week, watching their little ones go through each developmental stage and eating all the delicious food everyone brings. What makes me less sad? Knowing I have met some great ladies and friends for life."
"I didn't have many new mom friends when my daughter was born. My friend invited me to a park walk with some other new moms and it changed my life. Joining a mom squad simply makes the happiness and struggles of mom life relatable. Being able to leave the house and interact with others with your baby by your side means everything. I can share my accomplishments, fears and failed mom moments and get nothing but love and encouragement back. I have made amazing friends and love watching each baby thrive and grow. I truly believe every new mom should find some type of group to interact with."
Girl, you need to get yourself a Mom Squad! If you don't have any close friends who are pregnant or have babies close in age, join a prenatal fitness class such as FitBump, Lead Pilates, Prenatal Yoga, or Mommy Connections. Chances are there will be other moms there who are looking for the same thing as you. Or get in touch with old friends, acquaintances, or friends of friends with little ones. Heck, you could even post a wanted ad on a local Facebook group for moms! I'm sure there would be tons of interest. There's nothing better than moms supporting moms. Now squad up!