A “mommy” community can mean the difference between sanity, and…not. Truly. And it matters on a high level for overall health and well being. A prominent UCLA neuroscientist has even written a book on human connection and relationships may be nearly as important as the basic needs of food, shelter, and water. It’s not just limited to mommies either. Just about any word can be substituted for “mommy” including “daddy,” “parent,” “grandparent,” “widow/widower,” “senior,” and so many more. We crave social interaction, because we are inherently social beings.
That’s where the idea of a community comes in. Where the need for a community comes in. Nearly every single one of us craves a connection with someone who understands us. “Community” can mean different things for different people too. For some it’s a small group of people, while others look for it on a much larger scale.
As a mommy, I could have told you this. Nothing prepared me for the initial disconnect from my own life that I experienced the weeks following giving birth to my son. I was among the first of my close friends to have a baby (even at age 31), and though I knew other mommies, most had kids much older. I found myself craving adult time, but knew my friends might not understand my new world. There’s a difference, you see, between enjoying your own time and feeling completely alone. After my husband went back to work, here I was with this tiny being who was attached to me (quite literally) 18-20 hours out of the day, and who relied on me for everything.
When I found a new mommy group, I was elated. Although I had little else in common with most of the other parents, here were people who understood my struggle to do what I wanted every day. And I clung to that, making it a priority to make it to as many meetings as I could. Then I went back to work out of financial necessity, and though I had a different kind of support system back in place, it was no longer the same as the mommy support system. After a year, and some devastating personal losses, I left my job to spend more time with my small boy, which was the most important thing in the world to me. And, we discovered Hike it Baby. Boy, did we ever! We hiked almost every single day, spending hours upon hours outside!
More importantly, I found a community. Other families who loved doing things outside with their kids. Who loved exploring. But more importantly, who would all have each others’ backs when things got tough. Who we could call when our toddler was running a fever and all of the thermometers in the house had gone MIA. With who we could share the rough nights, the excitement of potty training, and all the stresses and joys of parenting — from newborns to three-year olds with their own sense of identity and opinions.
And it’s made this parenting thing so much better. Could I have made it through the last few years without having a mommy community? Sure. Humans are pretty resilient beings. But, my life has been so much richer by having a group of people who understand. And that’s the importance of having a [mommy] community. Living a richer, fuller life.
Photo Credit: Krystal Weir / Ashley Scheider
Erin Pennings is a marketer by trade, and a work-at-home mom to an adventurous small boy who believes firmly in hitting the ground running and the walls climbing. Follow her adventures, fun feats, and tasty treats at SalmonAtSeven.com. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook – @SalmonAtSeven.