Our guest post this week is written by Farah Allen, the founder of Mellowed Mums in Burlington, Ontario.
This is the story of how and why she founded her mother’s group.
What is it about this day and age, where we are most connected with our phones, ipads, social media groups and twitter, that we feel so disconnected? Where is our sense of community? Who is our community?
These were the questions I was asking myself everyday when we packed up our family of 6 and moved from Toronto to… the burbs. My community has always been my working colleagues, my friends and family. But as a mom on maternity leave and living in a new city, who is my community now?
My kids are too young to be in school where you meet other parents that you connect with, my friends are in Toronto are going for walks in the Beach or having coffee on College St., and my hubby is working. So where does that leave me? Isolated? Trapped?
Too often I have spoken with other moms and they tell a sad story of how lonely and frustrating their year of maternity leave really was, and even more so after their second child is born. Having a new baby and a toddler is really hard. Trying to get out of the house can be an epic battle some days and more often than not it just doesn’t feel worth the effort. It is sooo much easier to just stay home. But as days of staying home turn into weeks and then (gasp) a month…you start to lose a part of yourself. For me it was my mind! I wasn’t the same person. I wasn’t fulfilled. If I can be honest, I wasn’t happy.
What was I missing? What was I craving?
The time had come to make friends and build the community I wanted for myself and my family. Making friends sounds so grade school, something you did on the playground as a child and not something you do as an adult, not as a mother of 4. Or was it? I have always worked and had an active social life, but now being at home with a couple of toddlers and newborn twins while learning how to live in a new city it was time to brush off these “making friends” skills and put them to work.
I started a meetup group called Mellowed Mums using the meet up web tool. The intro I wrote in the about us section reads like this:
Like many of the finer things in life… we mellow with age.
The same goes for motherhood. Whether you have 1,2,3 or more children in your life, your mummy style changes with every child, adapting to their different needs and personalities. This is a group for moms who have multiple kids with multiple interests. Or one kid with multiple interests…
I have had one too many playdates for my 8 month old, only to have my 3 year old bored to tears (and then I`m in tears). Let`s get together to find local activities that appeal to the varied ages of our kids. Burlington is an awesome city with family focused events that we can enjoy together that are fun and economical. Or if you need a night or afternoon away from your kids – we can do that too!
I am still surprised at the response. In under 6 months we are now 128 Mellowed Mums strong and growing every week with over 130 meetups under our belt. We do all kinds of things: taking trips with the family to the local farmers’ markets, exploring our local parks, going for walks, going for drinks (without the kids of course), organizing book clubs, wine clubs, attending kite festivals, Canada day parties, pajama and movie days, St Patrick day crafts at someone’s home… and the list goes on and on.
The response to my group tells me I am not alone, there are hundreds of other moms out there searching to fill a void, to find their community, to make friends.
I can honestly say that those lonely days are long gone… I continue to build my community, explore my new city with new friends and along the way I am finding pieces of myself around every corner. So for any of you out there… moms or dads… who are feeling isolated and don’t know how you are going to stand another day stuck…check to see if there is a meet up group in your community… or start your own – I think you’ll love it!