Did you know that 92% of U.S moms use social media? I’m sure that the percentage has increased significantly since the pandemic, when we’ve been bound to our homes without any social interaction. Moms are stressed out and we are unable to socialize with our mom squad to catch a mental break like we did pre-COVID. Before the pandemic, we had our mom breaks that consisted of late night dinners or early morning weekend coffee runs in order to get a break from mom life and enjoy the company of our girlfriends.
When I first became a mom, I didn’t have many mom friends. I had heard that raising a child took a village and it would be crucial for me as a new mom to find those connections. I wanted to surround myself with a strong “mom village” that was in the same phase of life as I was in. I had no idea the route I was about to take was going to take me way out of my comfort zone.
Have you tried meeting new friends as an adult? It’s not easy. Especially as a mom, I always wondered where other moms hung out; as it turns out, it’s on their phones. I quickly learned that I wasn’t going to meet my new mom besties in line at the grocery store or getting coffee at Starbucks. I knew I had to get out of my comfort zone and get online to find some mom groups in my area.
I remember hearing about organized “mom playdates” on Facebook. I remember thinking the idea of meeting someone in real life that I’d only talked to online was just too strange — but I decided if I really wanted to branch out and be a part of the community, I needed to put myself out there. I needed to find my mom squad, and social media seemed to be the quickest, surest route.
During maternity leave with my first child, I attended a few Facebook-organized mom events, and I was immediately surprised at how fun they were. I loved meeting new people, so I didn’t realize how much fun I was really going to have meeting new moms I had never talk to in-person. I started getting more comfortable with creating playdates myself and inviting along some of the new moms I had met in these groups. I couldn’t believe that the power of social media had brought a group of what I now call my best friends together. This is when I realized how powerful social media can be in building community and lasting friendships.
One of my favorite stories is of meeting a mom I found on Instagram when I started blogging a couple years ago. We hit it off instantly, and we were bummed we lived five hours away from each other. After months of getting to know each other online, we decided that we would meet halfway and spend the day together with our kids.
I remember telling my husband that I was going to meet a new mom friend and that I was going to take our toddler on a 2.5 hour road trip to meet her and her family. You could imagine his response: “Are you kidding me? How do you know you aren’t being catfished?” I could understand his concern as a dad and husband how risky it might sound. After all, anybody could pretend to be a mom behind a computer screen. But I had taken every safety precaution and we would be in a public setting, so I felt comfortable enough to meet this mom and her kids. I later found out that she too did some investigating on me as well to see if I was really who I said I was. I don’t blame her!
We had a blast that day, and we continue to visit each other a few times a year and have stayed great friends. The distance is unfortunate, but we use the thing that brought us together to stay up to date with our lives: social media. The power of social media is amazing. With the pandemic I know many moms are missing the mental break of meeting their friends in-person. But I think sometimes we forget that we have technology that connects us and we can use it to our advantage, especially right now. Happy hour Zoom calls are one of my new favorite things. Yes, it’s not the same as actually seeing your friends IRL, but on the bright side you can stay in your pajamas, have endless snacks and drinks, and you don’t have to worry about drinking and driving.
We are living in a different time where we are meeting our new friends via social media. No longer do you have to walk the mom journey alone because you don’t have mom friends who live nearby. And while “real life friends” and “online friends” have long been separated into two categories, my online friends are some of the realest, closest relationships I have.
Social media allows us to reach people we wouldn’t normally meet. It also allows us to stay connected to one another during a global pandemic and cross-country moves. Moms need whatever adult interaction we can get, so utilize your resources — especially the electronic ones — and hang in there. Your squad is out there and you don’t have to do this alone.