In 2010, I found myself single, the mother of two small daughters under four and with no “friend time.” Most of my friends lived out of state, or had been “lost” in the divorce. I had no idea how to make friends in real life when I didn’t work outside of my home.
Towards the end of that year, I happened across an article about the owner and founder of the Naperville Moms Network. I was shocked; I’d lived in Naperville for several years and I’d never heard of a “moms network” before! After checking out the website and joining, I realized that there was a Bunco night coming up that week at the home of a member. Despite really wanting to go, I chickened out at the last minute. I was too afraid of ringing the doorbell at a stranger’s house. Just call me chicken girl.
After admitting on one of the forums a few weeks later how I was afraid of showing up to Bunco, I was immediately encouraged to attend. New people were welcomed with open arms, and someone named Jeannie said that she would be at the next one too. I was told that it was a fun group, and that they really wanted me to come. After discovering that the next event was three blocks from my house, I committed to go. Soon after, I found myself ringing the doorbell of a house I didn’t know, armed with a dessert from the grocery store, a big bottle of wine, and a one-hour exit plan.
Five hours later I left with four new friends and I’ve never looked back. That one evening changed my life for the better, and joining a moms network can change yours too.
Here are four things that joining a moms network can add to your life:
The chance to meet new people.
It’s hard making friends as a grown-up. Especially if you are a stay-at-home-mom (or a work-at-home mom). Without the commonality of an outside-the-home working environment, it’s difficult to meet and bond with new people. The Naperville Moms Network has dozens of sub groups from business networking to parenting resources and social groups. Whatever area you are looking to add something to your life, there is a group already formed. Plus, they are open to forming any kind of new group if you are interested in starting something that isn’t already featured.
A regular excuse to leave your house.
Social engagements, charitable functions, or just a cozy lunch out are a challenge when you are a mom. Not having an agenda other than meeting up with friends and relaxing (otherwise known as SELF CARE) is something that moms can struggle with. Having pre-planned events that you can put in your calendar that takes the pressure off of FINDING something to do when you have free time is heaven sent. I look forward to my regular Bunco night with the girls. Sometimes we don’t even play Bunco, but instead just catch up on what’s going on with everyone.
I cannot stress this enough. When you are part of an established network of mothers, there is someone who has an answer for whatever your question is. Need a new pediatrician? Ask a mom in the network. Looking for a ballet class in a certain part of town? Ask a mom in the network. Need birthday party ideas for your child that isn’t the same thing everyone else is doing? ASK A MOM IN THE NETWORK. You get my drift. Mothers know everything!
Someone to look out for you.
We bring meals when there is a loss in a family, or if your kitchen completely floods and you have no way to cook. We raise money for dozens of charities in the community that are important to all of us. We donate time, energy, resources, food, clothing, toys and whatever you need to whomever needs it, when it is needed. And we have each other’s backs – through laughter, tears and cocktails – for whatever life chooses to throw at us.
The Naperville Moms Network recently celebrated their fifth anniversary. Founder Kelli Thompson and owner Dr. Cathy Subber have created an amazing thing in Naperville, but it’s not the only community with a moms network. Search through Facebook and online for a moms network in your community and go grab a coffee with new friends. If you can’t find a group, start one. It only takes two of you at first, meeting for coffee or a cocktail and telling other moms about it, before you get something started that can make a difference in hundreds of women’s lives. Especially yours.