Let’s be honest: who doesn’t need a friend? Everybody, and especially new moms– in particular the clueless ones, who know little if anything about babies—except through the “book experience”.
I was one of those nerdy moms who asked for help from all the coolest co-workers on the trading floor. I asked for their baby shower’s list and borrowed their detailed spreadsheet. I asked for any recommendation about must-read books, must-see DVD about birthing classes and must-do workouts.
Before my baby, I had never held a newborn before, never changed a diaper or babysat. I have survived so far– almost five years happily ever after–mostly thanks to the support of my dearest and closest “mom friends”.
When I became a mom, at age 32, I felt deeply alone. My husband had gone back to work; my parents had left five days after V’s birth, my mom urging me with a, “Honey, you need to bond alone with your baby”. Pretty scary stuff! Hence, the need to find new friends who could understand the new me, Miki, the mom, who could talk nonsense about nothing and everything at the same time, free of judgment.
In chronological order, I joined a “breastfeeding class” and a meetup group of “working moms who pump”. The first time we met I felt out of place. They seemed to be ecstatic about feeding their babies 24/7 and had so much milk supply to save for months in the freezer! I could barely meet the requirements for a daily supply and I openly stated I wasn’t so happy to be feeling like a “cow”. Staring eyes and a cold shoulder were immediate. I never showed up again. I wasn’t a good fit for them; they were definitely not my cup of tea.
Conversely, I adored my group of “meal planning for working moms”. Straight to the point, super organized, we all helped each other find a weekly system for cooking, storing, recipe book sharing. It was amazing.
My “original” core moms were from work: oh, how many times have I asked Tatyana for silly advice on something? From insurance to labels for the water bottle. My working moms were very professional, super busy and ready to go back to work as soon as maternity leave would be finished. We all looked fabulous and always refreshed at any encounter. We made a point of never letting ourselves down: we showered twice a day, every day, had our hair and nails always done; we were already in amazing shape a few weeks after giving birth. But I soon realized that this was not the norm, it would be a luxury for many meetup moms I kept running into.
Anyway, my curiosity to join other mom groups started when I was just pregnant and living on the Upper East Side. I had just heard a mom make a comment at the gym that stuck with me for the night: “Nowadays moms interact on social media and my daughter is constantly getting info about kids on the UES mom group”. The following morning Curious Miki immediately requested to join the group in 2014 and I got accepted. I felt already part of a community, although a virtual one. The amount of information was overflowing, to the point that the admins had to put restrictions on posts. Okay, that’s legit, I thought: only the pertinent, straight-to-business, only baby-related-stuff, please. I looked for moms whose babies were due to be born in September and we agreed on meeting. It was great, and I loved the idea of sharing the amazing miracle of pregnancy with equally young women, college educated, professionals and informed consumers. Moms Just Like Me. And I got to find a dear college friend of mine, Italian, who had just moved to NYC from Sydney, Australia.
Manhattan’s moms are really one of a kind, and you can choose from a vast selection of groups. The working moms, the breast-feeding moms, FT (Full time) moms, PT (Part-time), and more. For one year I was a FT working mom, posting about the challenges of returning to work and of continuing to breastfeed between a call and a meeting. It didn’t last long. By year one, I was a FT mom. I joined new groups, did new meetups at The Little Gym or Gymboree, music class with Ramblin’ Dan, art class at the CMOM (Children’s Museum of Manhattan) with my good friends, museum class at the Discovery Room of the Natural History Museum. We took classes together, online and in person. We hired consultants, mainly by recommendation and word of mouth, for any kind of need, from sleeping, eating, potty training issues, we were all united in the search for the best. We were “The United States of Moms”. We even joined groups of Sell/Buy/Swap because, let’s face it, our tiny shoe box apartments were crowded with toys and lots of useless stuff that we couldn’t wait to get rid of. I live by my moms group chats. We constantly talk, phone each other, meet in person and I thank my besties there for being the top problem-solvers at all times and hours.
I post on Facebook for any kind of advice. I have my “Riverside and Vicinity moms”, which is my local “moms-of- the hood”, and that I adore and love profoundly. They’re a mixed group of people with very little in common, from different countries, with diverse professional and educational backgrounds. Yet, it’s a tight group that I treasure no matter that the play dates are rare because of too many other everyday life engagements. Then I have the “Italian group of Moms”, with Ilenia leading the “research team” of the best-in- town deals and stuff to do with our kids. In one memorable chat one of us dared to call it, “The Sex and The City Moms”.
I could go on, and on, on the reasons why I looked for mom friends: it’s soothing, comforting, life-saving, having a support system of real or digital moms, no matter your ZIP code. The “United States of My Trusted Moms” will abolish any distance, and help you overcome any anxiety of being left alone, unheard and isolated.