10 ways moms can find their joy
The importance of connection and friendship when seeking joy
You dreamed of having a family and now it is here. You have to wonder, what did you do before children? The wondrous beings and all of their activities and commitments take up so much of your time, what did you do with all of that time? It is true, life as a mom becomes centered around children, house and family obligations.
The buzz term or hot topic of today is “self-care.” Everyone wants us, whether we are entrepreneurs, moms, in healthcare, in education, for active minds, the list goes on and on to practice self-care.
Epic Publisher hosted an online conference or summit just for moms this year and the third day was dedicated to self-care. What it is, how to achieve it as a mom, specific ideas in under 15 minutes, fitness and I spoke about connection.
What the research says about moms:
- Stress and worry are linked to depression and anxiety
- Causes for stress in moms: role overload, parenting guilt, children’s behaviors
- Parenting Happiness Gap: studies compared couples with and without children and found the happiness level of the parents directly related to the support the country had for child and medical care for the children. US couples with children were found to be less happy than their childless peers.
The most important factors that will buffer women through motherhood are:
- Unconditional acceptance
- Reliable comfort
- Authenticity in relationships
- Friendship satisfaction
The goal I want to accomplish with this blog is to show how to create an environment for moms to build these important relationships and find their joy.
I am a connection seeker. I love people. I am that person who likes getting to know the people I see regularly at the grocery store or the bank. My mom commented once, “Jeez, Kara, it takes 2 hours to do normal stuff with you that should take 30 minutes. You just talk to everyone.” I do. I enjoy hearing people’s stories and at the end of the day I feel bereft if I have not had a personal connection of some sort. So, when I tell you these 10 ideas for creating connection in your life, I have done each and every one of them.
1.Meet Up or Facebook Event: I know not very original. However, the beauty is they can be as large or as small as you want, private or public about any topic. I created a Meet Up “Conversation, Coffee and Kindness” in May of 2020. We met at 8:30 at a local coffee shop. There was no politics or health discussed. That group, is still going strong today. Goal: Connection and easy adult conversation.
2.The Facebook Event: Coffee Connect (are you seeing a theme?) is a private listing for only friends of mine or their friends. This way I can meet new people, but it isn’t something every random person on FB sees. It is scheduled for once a month, so I do not have to do anything to prepare. Goal: make new friends, maintain old friendships and laugh.
3.Exercise Class: I love pilates. We have a gym that opened up here where you can pay a monthly fee instead of a per class fee. A lot of the same people show up to the classes on specific days and times. I would hear what was going on in their lives and share a little about me as well. I even knew them enough to visit and say “hi” when I saw them in the grocery store. Goal: feel good, connect with others and feel a sense of community.
4. Community Class: Much like the exercise class, you can meet people with similar interests at a community college class. We have theme cooking classes, like Italian or healthy eating that I enjoy. I also took a stretch class. Belly dancing is definitely on the list. ? Goal: learn, possibly laugh and connect with others that share your interests.
5. Neighborhood “Mugging”: It is just a crime we do not know our neighbors. As a mom, you have little time for prep, clean up and planning, I assume. The beauty of a neighborhood mugging is once a month, your neighbors come over at a set time and day, for example the second Monday at 9:00AM. Each one brings their own mug. You supply the coffee and the cream and sugar. You can have two people bring a random coffee creamers or tea, but you get the idea, it is just an easy and light way for the neighbors to get together and know each other. Goal: create relationships with neighbors, continuity and connection.
6. Weekly Coffee Date: Obviously, coffee is my passion, if you are not a coffee lover, just substitute with something else. When the boys were younger, five moms, including myself, got together each Thursday after school drop off and enjoyed each other’s company and chatted, about nothing for 2 hours. It was pure heaven. Goal: laughter, authenticity and connection.
7. Couples or Girls Game Night: My husband travels for work. Many women get together and play games together. I wanted to create a night where my husband and I could enjoy a night “out” and were still together. So, you have heard of Bunco? We had Couples bunco once a month. It revolved from house to house. Those of us with card tables just brought them to whichever house was hosting. Everyone brought something for dinner, the host determined the theme and made the main dish. The importance of Bunco night: we laughed all night. Goal: connection with your significant other, laughter and continuity.
8. Book Club: I love to read. We meet once a month. The books are selected 6 months out. Each person gets to choose a book, but they have to host the book club the month their book is read. The hostess usually keeps the conversation moving, as well. Some hostesses have gone so far as to have questions from the authors ready. Goal: learn, directed conversation and a feeling of belonging.
9. Volunteer: Choose an organization that has significant meaning for you. When you spend time volunteering at the organization and at its events, you will meet like minded people. People who have a heart for the welfare of animals can often be found volunteering for organizations that benefit cat, horses, dogs or all of them. This shared feeling for a specific population will create a bond that you can build a friendship from. Goal: feel good and connect with others that share your passion.
Join with other moms!
This group is designed to help you simplify your life while connecting you to moms who “get it.”
10. Back-Scratch Friend: This one was as fun for me as it was crucial. Think about all that you do as a mom. Then think about the chores you really dislike. With a friend, you help with one of their chores, they help with one of yours, and you do it together, talking and laughing the whole time. I had a friend who could not stand to do laundry. She could get it in the washer and dryer, then it just piled up. I hate to have my clothes NOT in my closet or drawers. I don’t like to plan meals, it seems so onerous. Every week, I would go to her house and we would talk, listen to music and just have fun. I would help her fold laundry. Then she would sit down with me and pull out the grocery sales for the week (I never even considered this!). She would line up what my family liked to eat, what our calendar looked like, so which meals I had to make in advance on Sunday or plan for crock pot and which ones I could get on sale. It only took her about an hour to go through the grocery sales, my calendar, the types of food we wanted to eat (hot out so more grilled or cooler meals) to put it all together with a grocery list! Goal: accomplishment, laughter and connection.
A Back-Scratch friend is your secret weapon to getting your stuff done, but still enjoying life.
11. Mommy Mastermind: I saved the best for last! Masterminds are groups of people, who have something in common, that come together to support each other, listen to each other and grow together. I have created Moms Connect and Simplify, a group where we talk about what is really good in our lives, what we hope to accomplish, where we monthly meet online and get a project done together and where we just meet and talk about “stuff” face to face (Zoom). This is not a regular moms’ group. We don’t ask about medical problems with our kids, advice with partners, or even schools. This is a group where each of us talks about the good in our lives, we stay positive. A group where we state one thing we want to accomplish that week and at the end of the week we get to tell the group we did it, accountability. We will also be doing challenges. The first will be an 8 week meal plan for back to school and fall activities. Goal: accomplishment, support and a sense of belonging.
*I have been in 5 masterminds, currently in two. I have achieved so much in my life and have met people with whom I have lasting relationships because of these masterminds.
Finding your “group” for various activities is really important. My book club women were not the same as my Bunco couples and neither group will probably meet me in that eventual Belly Dancing class. The important thing is when I am with each of my groups I feel connected. I laugh. I relax. I find joy.
I have ideas for people who are able to just put themselves out there and for people who just want to show up and see what happens. I want you to find your joy. Write to me. Tell me which one you tried. What happened?
“Happiness is the richest thing we will ever own.”~Donald Duck