How to make mom friends and build a village as an introvert
Many new moms report that they are surprised about how alone they feel after having their baby.
For extroverts this lack of communication and interaction causes them to seek out supports early on. They want to show up to a moms group or a toddler time to be around people and talk to other moms. This builds them up, giving them energy to return home.
An introvert may be aware of things she wants to show up to and at times desires the ability to show up, although due to the new baby or multiple children has no reserve energy left to give. If this is you, what do you do? What do you do when you have the desire but the idea of showing up seems far to daunting and overwhelming? How can an introvert build her village?
An introverts guide to finding a village and making mom friends
1. A village can mean one on one connection and conversation
Introverts thrive in one on one connections. When you show up to a moms group look for other introverts. Look for someone not being the center of the conversation. Look for the one that doesn’t immediately introduce herself to you, but is probably also looking for a more personal connection. A village does not specify a number. Find people who you can joke around with, can support you when you are down and also can have deep, meaningful conversations with.
2. Know what you need in a village
Think about what you need in a village of moms. Are you looking to get out of the house or connect online? Are you looking for a place where you can talk about your struggles, or just have fun? Are you looking for structured conversation (such as a support group) or more casual conversation? Reflecting on what you want your village to look like will help you determine where to focus your energy. After you decide what you need, start looking online to see what is in your area.
If you are seeking emotional and psychological support find one that will have a group leader, controlled open ended questions, places to learn new coping skills or self care skills. Know you are in charge for how much or how little you are involved in these groups. Do not feel you need to be more involved than you are ready to be!
3. Remind yourself that you are the best mom when you have the support you need
One key component of self care is knowing yourself. If you don’t have self awareness about what makes you tick, what makes you relax and what makes you crazy how are you to know how to make yourself calm and rebuild your energy stores? Learn from past experiences to know what to do the next time. Remember to make yourself a priority.
Remember your family will be better for it. Remember that missing a meet up with your “village” to care for yourself even if you agreed to be there is okay. Know that needing time away from your children or your spouse to regroup is a positive and strong self-care strategy (even if you get the “when will you be home?” text).
4. Lean into the uncomfortable feeling and allow yourself to get the connection you need (even if it feels scary)
Some days you wake up feeling like you did not get a good nights rest. You give all of yourself to your children and leave very little or nothing for yourself. Days blend together, weeks are long. I have gone weeks at times where I step back and realize other than keeping myself clean I never did anything for myself. This, at time is motherhood. Motherhood can feel isolating. Finding a healthy balance of home time and time with your village can change weekly.
Let yourself show up to a moms group or exercise group weekly or biweekly for a month. If you start feeling drained with the idea of showing up, slow down! Refocus your time. Don’t feel guilty for the change, be intentional about your needs. Soak in the sweet times with your baby at home. Find joy in new interactions with them. Then, when you are starting to feel the need to be more involved in your village, intentionally return!
5. Remind yourself that it is ok to have hard days
You are not alone in your struggles. Motherhood is hard. This is why a village is encouraged. Find others going through the same life phase as you for support. Find a village who you can be yourself with. You can show up in 2 day old clothes or freshly showered. Find people you can be raw and open with. If you still feel that you are deeply struggling and something is preventing you from finding your village seek out professional help. Perinatal Mental Health (or Maternal Mental Health) Therapists offer various options from support. You can reach a therapist often now by phone counseling, video counseling and in person counseling. Remember that seeking out help is one big step of being proactive in putting your wellbeing first. Seeking help shows you are a self-aware and strong person.
If you are still feeling nervous to go into a public community, try starting by building your village online. This is a great way to connect with other moms who are going through similar struggles, to help you know that you are not alone!
About the Author: Emma Kowalinski, MS, LMFT, MDFT is a Washington State based Perinatal Mental Health Therapist. She has 3 children (3 years and 7 months from oldest to youngest). She entered into the specialty after experiencing a NICU stay with her first child and experiences of perinatal anxiety with all 3 children. She enjoys supporting women and their families through therapy. While Emma has found her village, she has learned that it is an ever growing and changing entity. She continues to have a passion for learning more about herself and how to create a healthy balance of self, mom and wife in this busy, fun and crazy world!