All through life we have been making friends. Strategies and social graces may have changed throughout the various stages of our lives, however, we still have a deep desire to connect and have fun with likeminded individuals.
Now into motherhood, we are out there scouting the “mom market” looking for moms that are, well, just like us. We want to find that perfect mommy group where we rally around each other for support through the good and the not-so-good life experiences. We want to find moms that can relate to the joys of parenting and can help us laugh at things that we sometimes can’t seem to do by ourselves.
Online social networking communities are really not that different than your neighbourhood playground. You meet some moms, chat about your kids and your life and you become friends -- or you don’t. The primary difference with an online playground is in “the way” you meet other moms and initiate communication. Understanding the etiquette and structure of social networking sites can help us to connect with moms who closely reflect your style, values and goals.
Lurk before you leap.
Familiarize yourself with the online community, the philosophy and, yes, the moms! Poke around the different channels of communication such as blogs, forums, and groups. Each offers a different way of connecting and communicating with other moms. Find an area that you feel comfortable in and watch from the sidelines for a while.
Plant yourself at home.
Once you feel comfortable within the community, get acquainted. Edit your profile to give moms a glimpse into who you are and what you are interested in. Perhaps you want to add a picture of yourself and/or your kids.
Get out and play.
Get active in the community, start answering requests for advice, start asking for it. Share your experiences and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Join or start groups targeted to those who share your interests; perhaps you have a hobby or would like to get more exercise. Remember, you can be totally “real” in online communities. There is no pressure to be that person your coworkers see, your neighbours see, or even your in-laws see!
By now, you will have your eye on a few moms, (yes, really is like dating, isn’t it?). Take the initiative and ask her to be your friend! Social networking sites have made it super easy to build and manage your network of moms. Usually, you simply push a button and a request is sent off to establish a connection.
It is one thing to add a friend, and quite another to be one. Once you have connected, begin to go back and forth through private messages or email. Maybe you both can join the same group (online or off). Get to know the individual within the mom. Ask questions, and listen. Allow her to vent, laugh and cry. Pay attention to what is happening in each other’s lives, and follow up on it. Be supportive without feeling the need to tell her what to do or how she should feel.
Stacking your mommy network with moms that you really connect with is a key contribution to a happy experience of motherhood. So get started, build your mommy network today.
Michelle Davies is the founder of MommyClub Inc., a comprehensive social network for Canadian Moms allowing likeminded moms to interact and share wisdom -- both on and off-line. MommyClub™ gives you access to events, resources, newsletters, blogs, friendship and more…all in one spot! Join for FREE at www.mommyclub.ca.