Not every mother is fortunate enough to live close to family. My husband and I are included in this category. There are parents out there with little to no help raising their children. Those of you who are in this situation know what I’m talking about. Childcare is a huge dilemma. There’s no expectation for a break. Appointments are put off and plans require creative solutions for what to do with the children. Holidays require massive coordination. Weekends are spouses passing the baton of free time while the other one takes on the kids.
A lot of mothers I meet are busy with their own extended families. Schedules and cliques are already established. Breaking into a new mom group is like trying to figure out where you’re welcome at the cafeteria table. I cannot tell you how many times I have left a Read-and-Play class at the library jealous of another mother who brought along her mother. Several times I have walked away from an afternoon at the park with a knot of homesickness in my stomach.
There’s no real easy answer to this. There’s no substitute for being around the people you love. There are challenges in every facet of motherhood, but sometimes you are thrown in the middle of a situation dictated by a new job, a relocation, or a fresh start. You also have a choice. You can either be miserable or you can use the opportunity to dig deep and find your strengths. You can teach your children how to respond to change and what resiliency looks like.
I was living under the illusion that there’s only one or two people capable of helping me with my children. The truth is, motherhood isn’t supposed to be experienced alone. I found myself in a new town with zero friends. And I decided I needed to build an entire network.