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Thursday, October 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mama Bear Moxie: Finding friends in the same season of life

By Kristina Phelan For The Spokesman-Review

I’ve been a mother for going on 14 years. When I think back at how young and naive I was with my first newborn, I chuckle.

I am the oldest of three girls, and I got married and had kids very young. My sisters got married later, and I didn’t become an aunt until my oldest was 11. That left me in a unique spot as the older sister with kids. My sisters always supported me, but it was lonely not being able to share the crazy mom life. Thankfully, our mom was there to bounce questions and ideas off of while always giving sound advice. However, I needed to find friends in the same season of life.

Finding my tribe of mom friends was hard at times. I had to put myself out there and introduce myself. Making new friends as an adult can be awkward, but it is so important. My experience was compounded in that we lived far away from family.

I remember my first Mothers of Preschoolers meeting. I desperately needed to find someone else to talk to during the day that didn’t include any mention of Elmo or Curious George. I walked into the meeting with a baby on my hip and hoped for the best. MOPS saved my life as a new mom. I looked forward to our monthly meetings and ended up creating a ton of friendships. Those women became my supporters, cheerleaders and mentors during the crazy stage of being at home with preschoolers.

As my kids grew, I was aging out of MOPS but still needing friends. I found other moms by joining the PTA at school and setting up weekly playdates at the park. I got to know working moms that I had not met in MOPS. Expanding my friends helped me understand the many struggles that mothers face.

Now years later, I am in a book club that meets weekly at a friend’s house. I’m one of the older moms who has the luxury of having all of my kids in school. Since I have the oldest child in the group, others ask me advice on certain situations. It has become a full circle moment as I look back on my own journey and sharing ideas that worked for us.

I say all this to encourage other moms out there seek out friendships. It may take you a few tries, but be encouraged that there are other moms in your community with similar lives. It’s important knowing that you aren’t in this mothering thing alone. Consider attending a local MOPS group or check out a book club at the local library. Even inviting a few acquaintances for a weekly playdate at the park will help build bonds.

Because we all need support in this journey of mothering.

Kristina Phelan is a former Spokane-area resident now living in Illinois. Visit her website at www.mamabearmoxie.com.

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