The Importance of a “Village”
An Intro from Mary Duke, LCCE:
“I had the pleasure of meeting and serving today’s guest blogger during the pregnancy and birth of her second baby. I have always appreciated how down-to-earth and friendly Megan is and noticed right away we had a mutual goal of helping moms. Since meeting her, I’ve watched her grow her business (iStroll of Bowling Green) into a thriving fitness AND support group. So when I wanted to talk about the importance of mom-to-mom support in postpartum, I knew Megan would have great insight.”
“It takes a village to raise a child.”
We hear this often, and at the same time, motherhood can often be an isolating and anxiety-filled experience, especially in early postpartum.
“Am I doing this right?”
“My child is crying…AGAIN…I must be doing something wrong.”
“I wish my husband/partner understood how I felt.”
These feelings are all too real for many of us. So why do we feel so alone?
Our society has produced an image of mothers as needing to “do it all”, handle the mental load, the house, sometimes a job (full-time or side hustle), and be the primary parent. Our lives are hours upon hours of alone time with a child, one that “society” says we need to keep happy, healthy and do alllll the Pinterest-worthy, educational activities with. Pshew, that’s exhausting just to type, let alone live up to. No wonder we all feel inadequate. And while moms are bad ass – seriously, not my opinion, this one is fact – we also are emotional, community-seeking creatures.
So what are we to do? How can we manage all of these expectations, with a new child AND hold onto some shred of ourselves?
FIND OTHER MOM FRIENDS.
Seriously. This is key. How can other moms help? THEY are your village. When husbands and partners fall short, your mom friends are there to tell you what a GREAT job you’re doing – because YOU ARE! They are there to tell you, and show you, that no one else has it together either. Maybe one mom is great at Pinterest activities, but is a terrible cook. There is another who is a miserable housecleaner AND cook, but super passionate about their work (full disclosure – this one is me). Regardless of the countless examples I could share, we all have our strengths and our weaknesses in life. Mom friends show you that this is true, are there to give you helpful advice when you are struggling, and there to get in the trenches with you when necessary. THEY are our #tribe.
How do you find mom friends if you don’t already have friends that have kids? If you are new to the area? If you find yourself, for the first time, alone, with a kid for many, many hours of the day?
Seek out kid activities in your area. Check out your local library activities (the Warren County Public Library puts on AMAZING kid activities all of the time), grab a local calendar of activities and your kid, and just GO. Kid still a baby and won’t participate in anything? Find a breastfeeding support group, start a local Facebook group for moms with babies (a very smart friend did this locally – there are now over 2,000 moms in the group!)
Realize that ALL moms are looking to make new friends. THIS ONE IS IMPORTANT. Are you shy? Intimidated easily? Looking around the room at other moms who seem to “have it together”? Here’s the secret – they don’t. None of us do. Beneath that baseball cap is hair that hasn’t been washed in too long (current situation), that kid playing on their iPad is constantly moving 24/7 and his mom needs a few minutes of silence, the mom that has her hair washed and wearing cute clothes ignored her children (gasp!) for a few minutes to put herself together and feel like a person outside of “mom”. We’re all standing at the same activities, intimidated by each other, when we’re really all there to seek activity and community with each other. Say hello. Ask about their children. Most moms won’t bite, promise.
Here’s when I get into my shameless business plug – come visit us at iStroll Bowling Green! What does a workout program have to do with mom friends? EVERYTHING! Community is a vital, dare I say the MOST important aspect of iStroll. Without these moms, making friends and seeking the advice, love and compassion of each other, iStroll would cease to exist. It works because we look forward to seeing each other. Long nights, baseball caps and kids that are acting crazy are our love language, and we GET IT. We’re there, with you. I can’t tell you the number of times my children have been a crazy mess during our classes. The most amazing thing happens, though – the other moms help! They help entertain my kids if they are crying and I’m trying to instruct, they push my stroller around, they tickle feet, they get snacks, and share some toys. iStroll is, at it’s heart, an amazing workout. You will get the endorphin boost you need, you will gain energy and increase your endurance and all of the endless benefits of exercise, but you will also gain a mom tribe. It’s often I say we have the best moms in Bowling Green, and I’m sure our moms think I’m bias….maybe I am, but I don’t think so. But don’t take my word for it. I can’t tell you the amount of women who have joined us at class and said:
“I felt so welcomed today!”
“Everyone was so nice!”
“I can’t wait to come back!”
That’s not because of me friends, that’s because of our group. Because they aren’t afraid to say hey to the new ladies who join us. They want to get to know you and your kids. Why? We know the importance of a tribe. We’re living it. Breathing it. We look forward to seeing each other, and we miss each other when we are away, when our kids are sick, when we travel. They’re checking in with each other, wondering when you’re coming back.
These are my people. This is my WHY. If this sounds like something you need (and who doesn’t?), you should definitely join us for a class. Your first one is free – there’s absolutely nothing to lose, but you could gain ALL OF THIS. You could find your #village, your #momtribe. The kids can also find their friends. Wouldn’t that be the best feeling in the world <3
About The Author
Megan Ormon is an ACE Certified Group fitness instructor, currently working on her Postnatal Fitness Specialist Certification in order to offer special classes and one-on-one sessions for moms to return to exercise safely after pregnancy. She has passion for helping moms find support, motivation and most importantly fun in exercise.
She has lived in Bowling Green since 2003, graduated WKU with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing in 2007 and a Masters Degree in Sports Management in 2011.
Megan is married to her husband Miles, and has two boys, Levi (3) and Connor (1).
She is excited to meet fellow Bowling Green parents (and their kiddos!) who are ready to challenge themselves and build friendships along the way. Come join us!