Will they like me?
Am I dressed okay? Is this sweater too tight?
Why am I doing this again?
These thoughts swam through my mind as I prepared for my first Meetup in December 2012, a month after my first daughter was born. As the first of my friends to have a child, I was determined to make “mommy pals” who had kids the same age as my daughter. Although I love my childless friends I felt as though I was on this first-time parent road alone and was a little lonely.
While pregnant I wanted to openly complain to others going through the same things I was going through from the constant kicks in the bladder to always being uncomfortable. I wanted to commiserate.
I joined Meetup at the suggestion of a friend who was also the first in her group of friends to have babies. Since I met my husband on Match.com, I was not a novice to online meetups and decided to dive right in.
I began to join groups with similar interests: new moms, babies, infants, wine, books and running were some of the interests I checked off when completing my profile. Now all I needed to do was actually attend something.
So once I was cleared to drive after my c-section I clicked the RSVP button and agreed to meet a group of new moms of babies born (or to be born) around the same time as my daughter.
We met at a café, just five of us, and I was the only one with a baby since all the others were weeks and days away from giving birth. The butterflies in my stomach started to flutter away after a soon-to-be-mommy began to complain about heartburn. The complaint opened the door for a litany of whining: I’m always sweating!; All I want is a glass of wine!; Anyone else have sore nipples?
“Oh good, I thought I was the only one!” I sighed.
Together we commiserated on everything pregnancy related. Five women from various backgrounds and beliefs in child rearing connected over the one thing we all had in common: becoming a mom.
I emerged from that first Meetup with confidence since I was able to provide first-hand advice on being a new mom. Most of all I felt relieved. Relieved that I wasn’t alone.
From that point forward I began to connect with other moms through Meetup groups; clicking with some and walking away from others knowing we will never come together again. It’s exactly like blind dating: you meet women you have nothing in common with; some who you find annoying and others you really like.
There’s also the rejection aspect of it. There were a few instances in which I felt a real connection with a fellow mommy, be it through common interests or because our children got along; however, it wasn’t a connection on their end as texts went unanswered or plans to meet up were never realized. Those rejections hurt of course, resulted in questioning why didn’t she like me? What did I do wrong?
But just like anything else, you bounce back and get back into the game.
Perseverance worked as I connected with several moms, which resulted in friendships outside of the Meetup groups themselves. Nurturing those connections these past three years has resulted in our children becoming close friends as they continue to grow up together
These friendships are dear to me as I know those women will always be there to commiserate with when our toddlers are being, well toddlers; will be the first to send words of encouragement when things get hard; always bring a coffee for you when they arrive for a play date since they know the infant isn’t sleeping through the night, and can offer words of advice on how to find plan a birthday party for a 3-year-old or how to get a child to pee on the potty.
Connecting with fellow moms via Meetup helped me find my tribe; my fellow mommies who have become close friends and confidantes. Meetup helped us to connect on a surface level but it was our individual personalities that pushed us into a deeper connection of camaraderie that has led to genuine friendships that all started with a click of a button.