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"Tips for building a mom community" by Andrea Bear (CatholicMom.com) Image credit: Pixabay.com (2017), CC0/PD[/caption] Lately, I have been tuning into a lot of podcast that talk about how to encourage more womanly bonding and togetherness. In a world where we are constantly over-scheduled and overly committed, how do we find the time to come together and just be? Even where women are together especially in times where kids are around, our quality time is usually split up by wiping up a spill, helping with a bathroom break or snack, so what might have been a “play date” for moms and kids really is a "play do." As a mother of three girls, and a full-time high school teacher, I cherish that time to get together with my girlfriends to  just sit and be. Between my own busy work schedule and my kids' after-school commitments, it becomes harder and harder to find the time. What’s even worse is when I do have free time away from my kids I want to be selfish with where and who I spend my time with, because frankly that time is precious. Yet today interaction is needed more than ever. So how do we find the time to “make time”? Here are a few tips that I’ve come to learn that help when building a mom community.
  1. Keep your expectations low.

Its okay if your activities aren’t centered around high-end things. You don’t need a birthday party or a social occasion to get together. Sometimes just a quick takeout meal on your friend's couch and a heart-to-heart conversation is just what the doctor ordered.
  1. Don’t overplan.

The less structured in some cases can actually be better. I have found that if I plan an event or have a gathering, the more I try to plan out a schedule, the more I will be come disappointed at what didn’t happen. Enjoy the moment and don’t think about what could have been but think about what is. As the old saying goes, “quality over quantity.”
  1. Multi-task your mom-time.

As I have come to learn recently, “There is no such proven method of multi-tasking” but there is the ability to get more out of an event than meets the eye. If you’ve signed up solo for a bible study, ask a friend to join you or see if there are other moms interested, so that you can learn and share together rather than on your own. Being at a birthday party might not seem appealing for mom-time, but it can be the stepping stone to find where community can build. Another way is to carpool with someone to an event. I have found some of the best quality time can be in a drive to and from a destination, because it’s in those drives where the rest of the world is separated from you by the vehicle, and you can just be and have some really great heart-to-heart conversations.
  1. Guest clean vs. friend clean.

Sometimes having people over one’s house seems more like a chore than an invitation, especially when wanting to make your home clean and presentable. In fact, most women feel they can’t invite other women over if their home isn’t picture perfect. Most women, especially those who know you or want to get to know you, won’t judge if your home isn’t picture perfect. I’ve realized that it's really me who has the biggest problem when friends come over to visit. They don’t care if my couch has laundry or a little clutter lying around. Now I try to do the basics (clean the bathroom and sinks, and sweep) but if my house isn’t guest clean, where every corner is immaculate and every cobweb has been removed, I don’t think my company is going to notice, especially if these are women I value and I call friends
  1. Don’t get discouraged if your friends can’t meet the first time you invite them.

The reality is, you're not the only busy mom out there. I used to get upset when I had a lady from my women’s group cancel on me a day before we were set to meet or right before an event. I realized that her life was just as busy as mine (and sometimes busier) and her schedule was constantly changing. Most women usually want to spend time with other women, but the reality is that we often get pulled in multiple directions. Now, don’t assume I just shrugged it off and accepted every cancellation that happened, but when I finally talked to her about it she came clean about the reality of her schedule and her family life.
  1. Pray about it.

In the last year, I have come to learn that the power of prayer can be amazing. Taking a small moment in the day to pray for your friends and future mom friends-to-be. This can be very powerful. God will bring some of the most amazing women in your life if you pray to Him and ask Him to guide you.
  1. Get out there.

If you’re waiting for the perfect moment or for lightning to strike you for an opportunity to get together than you’ll be waiting forever. Call a friend, invite a few ladies over (friend-clean house  not guest-clean of course) for a Bible study. Plan a Friday afternoon get-together at the local pizza parlor, or even just a quick Saturday morning coffee. If you provide the opportunity, most women will provide the conversation to go along with it. The idea is to create more fellowship.

What other ways can you build mom community time?

Copyright 2019 Andrea Bear