Developing and maintaining friendships during a lockdown helps reduce crippling anxiety and depths of despair, prevents creeping loneliness, and is a welcome break from news fatigue. But with the stay-at-home orders in effect, the idea of meeting friends for a drink or meal on a whim is no longer possible and many of us are feeling increasingly isolated.
When done right, finding your own tribe in online forums and Facebook groups is rewarding. On occasion, these spaces have been misused by the mom-bashing types. It further pushes away mothers who genuinely want to cultivate online friendships and a sense of community.
In an internet world that’s now considered as real as the offline world, the ability to seek meaningful friendships with other mothers without leaving the house is a gift. Wonderful internet moms will rally around you and keep you sane when your toddler throws a tantrum. It’s the shared motherhood and womanhood experiences that connect you with a complete stranger miles away. To find your authentic self and give meaning to your parenting choices is to exercise patience, understanding, and empathy.
It’s beautiful to find your own mom village online, even as you struggle to survive the quarantine cage. So how do you put yourself out there? Here are our 5 top tips:
- Join mom support groups. A quick keyword search will bring up thousands of mom groups on Facebook, mom blogs, and other social forums. These exclusive groups provide emotional support, candid advice, and valuable motherhood content through engagement with other moms. Find safe spaces with moms who’ve got kids the same age as yours and start from there. Our Genes2Teens Facebook group is that kind of space.
- Be expressive and non-judgmental. It’s not easy making actual friends with parents. The difference in opinions and sometimes brazen attitude is enough to keep your guard up. Introduce yourself to break the ice. Share your thoughts freely while maintaining decorum and someone will relate. An open mind that passes no judgment expands your thinking and avoids unnecessary potential pitfalls.
- Explore common interests. Just because playdates and other offline activities have been shelved doesn’t mean you cannot link up. Socializing with toddlers and older kids is still mostly about the mothers anyway. Schedule viewing hours together once a week to dive into your favorite shows or films and provide real-time commentary. It’s fun, creative, and you’ll be looking forward to much-needed mom breaks to spend time with them. Hold virtual knitting classes through Zoom, etc.
- Nurture these new connections. Friendship of any kind requires putting in the effort to make it work. Don’t be that mom who only engages with potential friends once a month. Indeed, we all have different priorities, but we need each other now. We have all the extra time and flexibility to lay the groundwork and let these connections grow. There’s no greater feeling than knowing the friendship is mutual.
- Follow up with an offline invitation. Lockdown is temporary; we’ll get back to our routine lives eventually. Exchange contact information and suggest meeting up for a playdate when all this is over. It can get somewhat awkward, but such is the nature of adult friendships. If they agree, great!
Not sure where to start? Join our Genes2Teens Facebook group.