I read a blog recently that equated making new mom friends to dating. In fact, I think that’s true about making new friends in general! Do you share the same values? Do you have similar likes and interests? Can you call on them at 2am when it feels like your world is falling apart?

Let’s face it, being a parent is tough!! Whether you stay home, whether you work, whether you do a combination of both, parenting is hard. It’s even harder if you are going down this road alone. True, a supportive partner helps! But sometimes you want another mom who just gets it. She understands¬†exactly what you’re going through and doesn’t find you crazy for wanting to drink wine at 10am because your toddler just. won’t. listen. She knows just what to say, and when to say it. Maybe she has older children and has seasoned mama wisdom and advice to give. Maybe she knows just the right time to offer to watch your beautiful, loving, screaming baby so you can find some sort of sanity.

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Since battling postpartum depression and anxiety 2.5 years ago, I have fought hard to build my village. During that time where I felt so alone, I discovered the true importance of having solid mom friends that you can count on. Here are some tips to building your village:

Test Drive Mom Groups
I was fortunate to have found a wonderful and loving mama group through Enlightened Mama. I knew it was the place for me when the moms cried along with me, didn’t judge me for continuing to nurse my baby to sleep at almost a year, and supported each other through thick and thin, never whispering a word of negativity about another. It can be difficult to find such a group, but keep going until you find one that fits your needs!

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
As the wonderful Jillian Michaels says “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith and invite that mama at the park out for coffee. Maybe you see the same mama taking her baby for a walk at the same time you do every day. Or maybe you felt a connection to another mom begin when you both were breastfeeding your babies at the mall. Making small talk is incredibly difficult for many people. But you might be missing out on some wonderful, lifelong friendships if you never take the chance!

Be The Friend You Want To Have
This advice goes beyond making and keeping mom friends, it’s great advice for being a good friend in general! You’ve taken the leap of faith, and started the beginnings of a great friendship. Now keep it up! If your mama friend just had another baby, take her a meal! Offer to fold the laundry, or clean the kitchen. Thinking about going to an awesome new park? Invite your new friend along! Want to have a friend that listens completely, doesn’t judge, and is compassionate? Be that person!

Be Authentic
Last, but not least, be authentic. Be real. Be honest. Be vulnerable.

Building your village takes time. Be patient with the process! But you will find that you will make some of the most amazing friends who will carry you through the best and worst years of parenting.