The life of a mom who stays at home with young kids can be many things–exciting and fulfilling, yes, but also, crazy, hectic, and sometimes… lonely. Without the proverbial village we all hear about, it can be hard for a mom (or dad) to find their way in a community without guidance.
When my husband and I moved to Hawthorne, our daughter was not quite two and I needed a way to get to know the community and meet other stay-at-home moms like myself. We joined a local music class and did some fun events at the library. Incidentally, if you have young kids, story time with Miss Debbie at the Mount Pleasant Library is absolutely wonderful. But then my daughter started pre-school and our son came along. After he was born, things were definitely frenzied. I felt like I was running around in circles everywhere but not really meeting people in the community.
“Having just moved to Westchester all the way from the West Coast, and having limited support nearby, I was anxious to find my village–FAST,” said Johnson.
One day as I was perusing Facebook, I came upon a post from another local mom looking to meet others with similar-aged kids. Her name was Jenifer Johnson and she had created a group called Pleasantville Play Date Meet-up and right there, a new village was born! She was, just like me and so many others, a mom who simply wanted to get herself and her kids out of the house and socialize with others.
“I’ve always been a believer that being a parent takes “a village.” Having just moved to Westchester all the way from the West Coast, and having limited support nearby, I was anxious to find my village–FAST,” said Johnson, who currently runs the Ridgefield, CT Playdate Meet-up.
“Social media is an excellent tool to bring people together and connect with those who have similar interests. In my case, I was looking for other moms like me who lived close by and had an interest in making new friends and socializing our children. I created a group with a very basic name, stock photo of a playdate and posted it on some other, larger Parent groups.”
The group took off, with members joining from all over the Mount Pleasant area. Instead of just planning meetups at a local park, parents started hosting play dates at their homes, which evolved into special events like holiday parties, craft days, and more.
And then, it went from just getting the kids together to getting the moms out too. It’s important for moms to have some quality kid-free time. So one night a group of us got together to do a craft night and “Mom’s Night Out” was born. Cookie exchanges, baby showers, mani-pedi nights and many a birthday celebration followed. And the group also holds a monthly dinner at restaurants all around town.
Jennifer Liddle, the group’s current admin says, “As the admin, it is so rewarding to brainstorm and execute events for local moms and kids to meet. I’ve made some of my closest friends through this group–friendships that transcend the initial reason why we met in the first place, our kids. Additionally, I’ve seen several other friendships blossom and it makes me so proud that I have had a part in that. I remember when I moved to the suburbs, I was worried it would be impossible to make friends. This group of ours made it possible.”
Continues Johnson, “Eventually, this tiny idea became a reality with new parents joining everyday. Play dates, mom’s night’s, BBQ’S, birthday parties–we had our village. Jennifer Liddle, who runs the group now, has taken it to over 270 members! It’s awesome!”
As an introvert, it can be hard for me to get out of my comfort zone and take a chance in meeting new people. But sometimes you just have to do it and hope for the best. As Thomas Jefferson said, “With great risk comes great reward.”
I’m so glad I did. I’ve cultivated many new friendships through the group. We all want to feel like we belong somewhere. And it’s great to know that there are others you can turn to for camaraderie and support.
I truly enjoy living in Mount Pleasant and really feel like I’ve become a part of the community-at-large. I’ve gotten to know my town and my community through local meeting places such as the library, farmers market, school events, and of course a Facebook play date group that I just happened to click on that fateful day.