Meet Meg, One of the Moms Behind Mom Meet Mom!

Today, we wanted to introduce you to the now not-so-new member of the Mom Meet Mom co-founder team, Meg! She’s a Massachusetts mom with one super adorable little boy who just happens to have some pretty severe allergies. Scroll down to find out more about Meg and what it’s like coping with childhood allergies… plus how Meg finds support! (For those curious, you can find an interview with co-founder Julia here and an interview with co-founder Christa will be coming soon!)

childhood allergy support - mom meet momSo you live in a beach town?

Yes, my family lives in a small beach town called Hull. It’s a peninsula that shoots out about 20 miles south of Boston.  When we go into the city, we take a ferry boat. It’s a pretty great lifestyle. I can remember when I was working downtown, it was such a wonderful feeling to hop on the boat after a long day at work and watch the city (and all of the stresses of the day) get smaller as we took to the ocean to go home.

I understand your son, Jack has pretty serious allergies.

He sure does. Luckily we discovered Jack’s allergies when he was very young. He was 6-months-old at the time and boy was he colicky. He constantly broke out into rashes and barely slept at night. He actually slept in his carseat for several months. When we finally uncovered the underlying issue, everything made sense. I’ll never forget the allergist handing me an epi-pen. I completely went numb thinking to myself “this is actually happening to my family”. It’s definitely challenging managing severe allergies, but we feel very fortunate to have found out the way we did and to have such a strong medical and social support system around us.

What do you like to do for fun in your free time?

In the summer I love to be in the water, which I guess is a good thing living as close to the ocean as we do. My husband and I surf and paddleboard a lot and I swim laps in the ocean. We also enjoy taking Jack for hikes around the local parks and occasionally head up to New Hampshire to take on some bigger trails. In the fall and winter I take to the ice two days a week with a local women/moms hockey league. As a New Hampshire native, I grew up playing ice hockey and played in college, so when I discovered this local league it was an absolute miracle. It’s a blast.

Do you and your husband manage to get any alone time?

Thankfully, yes! My husband and I are very serious about setting aside alone time for just us. We have a regular sitter that comes over to watch Jack for date nights/days. Whether we hit the local pub, a movie or just go surfing together during the day, we cherish this time together so much.

Who is your closest mom friend?

I would have to say Allison is my closest mom friend. She lives with her daughter, Coral, a minute down the road from me, which makes playdates effortless and often last minute.. What’s great about Allison is that, aside from being a fun, easy-to-hang-with mom friend, she also really understands and respects Jack’s allergies. She is careful to clean up before we come over for playdates and even bakes egg and nut free treats for Jack, which is an absolute blessing because I am a horrible cook.

Coral and Jack are a few months apart which makes everything so much easier. They are obsessed with one another. It’s funny, before Coral falls asleep at night she says goodnight to her parents and then to all of her stuffed animals. Right before her eyes close, you’ll hear one last shout out, “night Jack….” It’s possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen/heard.

I was so fortunate to meet Allison. I couldn’t ask for a better mom friend and playdate pal for Jack.

How do you manage your different groups of friends now that you’re a mom?

I have a very close group of girlfriends from college, my old high school squad (no I wasn’t a cheerleader), and a few close mom friends. I put a great deal of effort into each group of friends because I think they are important for different reasons. My friends from high school and college remind me of who I was and who I am, and my mom friends remind me that now as a mom, I am that much more.

What’s great about bringing mom friends into the mix, is that it pretty much eliminates dirty diaper, gushy baby talk with non mom friends (many of which are still living up the single lifestyle). Let’s face it, if you’re not living in the mommysphere, these conversations get pretty old, pretty fast. Having mom friends allows me to indulge in these annoying conversations without feeling guilty/stupid!

Talk to me about how Mama Meetcha came to be and how it led you to Mom Meet Mom?

After having Jack, I wanted to meet other moms pretty much right away. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was no easy task. After many awkward attempts, I shifted my focus to solving the problem at hand. I decided to turn my stay-at-home mom career into a work-from-home mompreneur adventure and launch mama meetcha – an online geolocation and personality matching app. Sounds familiar, right?

It took about six months for me to discover that I wasn’t alone in my quest to help moms meet moms in the area. I stumbled across Mom Meet Mom while running a random SEO analysis. I simply couldn’t believe it. Immediately I tracked down Christa and scheduled a call. A few emails later and a month of a trial working period, Christa, Julia and I decided to merge forces. We buried mama meetcha and are now all 100% focussed on Mom Meet Mom. It’s been about a month and I am loving the partnership.

What advice would you give other moms out there who are struggling to build mom friendships?

Be patient. Think of how long it took for you to build a strong group of close non mom friends. Whether you met them initially in grammar school, high school, college, at work, or in the neighborhood, building and retaining friendships over time, takes time. The thing about new moms is that everything changes at the drop of a hat, so we naturally expect our new posse of mom friends to suddenly appear. Be patient. You will meet moms you hate, you will meet moms you love but they hate you, and you will go through phases where it seems there are no moms you will ever connect with. This is all natural. As long as you continue to keep your head up, be yourself, and get on Mom Meet Mom (that’s right, be proactive), the right moms will come around.

What’s your super mom power?

So you know how some moms automatically slip into baby talk with their kids? I slide right into song. I sometimes wonder if Jack thinks he is living in an episode of Glee or Mary Poppins because I sing to him constantly… like all the time. It’s actually turned into a habit that even my husband is falling victim to….. “buttery toast, buttery toast. Everybody loves their buttery toast!!” I really hope Jack isn’t let down when he figures out that this is far from the norm :)

Featured Mom: Stephanie from Urban Flowerpot

This week’s Featured Mom is Stephanie from Urban Flowerpot, a super stylish mommy blogger whose motherhood journey had a heck of a lot of twists and turns. Here, she shares a story of tragedy, prematurity, and isolation that’s still evolving – a great reminder for those of us who haven’t yet found support to keep looking because it can come in so many forms.

Picture this: you’re 25 weeks pregnant and returning from some baby shopping with a girlfriend followed by a dinner date with your husband. You decide to stop off at the grocery store a few blocks from home to pick up fresh oranges (because those are your craving) and frosted animal cookies (because that is the craving you can’t fight anymore). You pay for your items and then step out of the store to see the street being closed off and complete mayhem. Your apartment building is on fire; and more specifically it is your floor. The top floor.

Home. You were just heading home. You were going to make a Valentine gingerbread house and watch some mindless Netflix (Bones!) while curled up with your cats on the puffy couch and wait for your ankles to return to their new normal size and rest away the aches of second trimester.

But instead you’re standing on the curb watching firefighter spacemen tromp by the dark caverns of where your windows used to be and you realize: your stuff is gone, you’re homeless…and your cats are dead. Oh, and your wedding is in two weeks.

prematurity and isolation - mom meet momIt’s a lot to process – in fact, I’m still processing, and it’s been just over two years since that night. It only takes an instant for your whole life to change. So they say, and so it goes.

We slept on the floor of a friends’ home while we searched for a new place. Meanwhile we got married and I returned to work (12 hour shifts at a tequila bar). I was in the middle of a shift on a busy Saturday night when something didn’t feel right. In the ambulance they tried to explain that I was having contractions but I didn’t believe them. I was only 30 weeks along and I’d already been through so much. If my body was going to give out to stress wouldn’t that have already happened?

One hour later I’d given birth to my son but didn’t know what he looked like yet. He was rushed from the room in a sea of neonatologists and nurses. They were still sewing me up and I thought if they hurried I could make it back in time for the late night rush and make up all the tips I’d lost. I’d been watching the clock the whole time.

Ladies, I don’t know when I went into shock or how long I stayed there but I basically set up residence in the realm of is-this-really-happening-or-have-I-just-not-woken-up-yet?

It was official: I couldn’t relate to anyone anymore.

I went through my days in NICU (58 of them, including a re-admittance) and tried to build a home out of the apartment we’d found one week prior and the donations people brought. Nothing about it felt like home other than having my husband with me. Brandon never left my side during all of this; total wind beneath my wings, for realsies. I sometimes joke that without him I’d still be sitting on the curb staring up at our apartment, frozen, but that’s not really funny – it’s just the truth – his strength is what got me through.

prematurity and isolation - mom meet momTristan wouldn’t stop having bradycardia episodes. He also couldn’t stop gulping this food. He loved to eat, choke, and brady so much he became a NICU adverb. One day when I was in my corner crocheting with Tristan down my shirt I heard this one nurse tell her other nurse friends, “No, I was like Tristan hungry!” For the record he is now the pickiest eater on the planet and on an all beige diet and lovin’ every minute of it while I go grey trying to figure him out.

When we finally came “home” he was on an apnea monitor. It’s basically a lunchbox with a REALLY LOUD ALARM (the kind that rattles your brain into mush) that went off if he forgot to breathe or his heart rate dipped too low. We had to keep him plugged attached to the lunchbox with sticky wires so he was always charged.

Here is a common misconception (if you haven’t been through NICU yourself): when a baby is discharged they are “all better.” It varies per preemie, of course, but in many cases your child is just well enough to leave. My guy’s heart rate would drop so low I’d have to remember not to shake him as he’d go limp as death in my arms and his fingers and mouth would turn a terrifying blue-grey. I’d try to remain calm and tickle his feet and rub his back while my brain was shrieking BREATHE! He was on the monitor for four months before he stopped having episodes. Four months post NICU that is. I haven’t even touched on the silent reflux that turned him into a screaming vomit banshee.

I remember one particularly exhausting day where I saw a neighbor from my old apartment at the grocery store so I tried to run (I didn’t want to talk about how much the fire sucked and how ‘big’ Tristan was getting). Well, he totally barfed but I’d mastered this dodge-trick even while babywearing so that I could shift and the puke would fly over my shoulder. I didn’t stop. I’m so sorry grocery store people! I was mortified.

It’s probably not news at this point that I never got to experience early motherhood in a typical way. I had invented a new normal. In fact it was about a year or so before I could really get out with him. His lungs were weak from prematurity and we had to avoid germs. He got bronchiolitis four times in a row, lasting seven long months. I was judged a lot by veteran moms who had full term babies once upon a time ago. They thought I was being over protective and a germophobe because I turned down invitations to group events.

The only comfort I found in meeting new moms was online. They were preemie moms so they spoke my language and understood me in ways nobody could – not even my husband. He was so supportive but he processed things differently (as should be expected) so he was happy when I found a group of women who’d all had preemies around the same time. We bonded like superglue. Two years later and they’re still my best friends, though unfortunately scattered around the country.

I’m trying to socialize more on the playground and with other local moms now, though. I can almost get through a playdate without mentioning the words fire and preemie. Almost. I’m not quite there yet but it’s a rule I’ve set for myself and I’m trying. I don’t want to be Katniss anymore. Ohhh you’re the ones who had the fire, yeah, what was that like? No! I just want to be me again. I miss me.

Writing about my experiences has helped a lot. For a while my thoughts were wound so tightly I didn’t know how to talk anymore. Small talk seemed so trivial after experiencing something so enormous. I had to allow myself the time and space to heal before I could move on.

prematurity and isolation - mom meet momI’m doing much better now. We had a playdate this week with a full term little darling and she and my son shared water and food and I didn’t worry once about germs. We live in a really big city so it’s like you don’t even know who your neighbors are and the faces at the playground are always changing. I’m pretty shy at first so it’s hard to start conversations but I’m trying. The other moms are really nice. There is something to be said about the bond of motherhood. We might be completely different when it comes to everything but the one thing we have in common is the strongest: we love our children.

This spring I’m hoping to talk to more moms both online and in real life about toddlerhood and the new challenges I’m facing with Tristan. I’m still stumped as on how to answer when talk turns to remember-when <enter third trimester woes here>  <and enter newborn stuff here>. I know my story is scary. I know it’s a bummer. It’s also quite the conversation killer. But it’s my story and the only one I have to share.

where moms meetDo you have a story to share that would make you a great Featured Mom? Email with a brief summary of what makes your story special for a chance to be featured at Mom Meet Mom.

Meeting Moms: Why Must I Be Shy?

I’ve recently come to prefer the term “introvert” to shy. Shy just sounds like there’s something wrong with being reluctant to go to big parties and preferring the company of a few, close friends to a large group of acquaintances. That said, renaming and reframing doesn’t change the fact that my reticence around people can make it hard for me to make new friends. This is doubly true with mom friends, since the places where I meet moms tend to be noisy, crowded, and loaded with distractions (because, you know, toddlers). Add to this the complication that my sweet daughter has inherited a fair portion of her mom’s shyness, and trying to meet moms can become a recipe for disaster.
Are you or your kids in the same boat? Here are some things that I’ve tried that seem to help!

For my daughter:
* teaching her how to play alongside people: Sometimes just being near a group of kids for a while is enough to allow my daughter to gradually join the group at a pace that makes her comfortable.

* teaching her how to politely exit a situation: When the play gets too intense, or when someone gets too close, it’s easy for my little lady to feel overwhelmed. We’ve taught her a number of polite ways to ask for space (e.g., “I need a few minutes to cool off,” “I’m going to take a little break now,” “I need a little more space”). This lets her have a little more control over the situation without resulting in hurt feelings for her fledgling friendships.

For me:
* learning how many social events I can handle: If I pack my week full of playdates and park trips, I end up overwhelmed, anxious, and standoffish. I try to keep a few days a week unscheduled so that I don’t max out my ability to be friendly.
* approach other moms who are flying solo: I admit, I am lousy at talking my way into a group, so when meeting moms, I’ve found it makes a huge difference if I only talk to other moms who appear to be at the park without other friends.
* come up with a gimmick: sounds cheesy, but on my nervous days, it really helps to have a standard tool that helps me start a conversation. It can be something as simple as offering gum to the mom you’re trying to meet (and yes, I totally use that trick).

* let go of failures: this one is tough for me, but it’s important to recognize that moms are busy, and have bad days, and, heck, they might be just as introverted as me. Sometimes I try to meet a mom and it doesn’t work out, and that’s okay!

Of course, I *wish* that I had Mom Meet Mom available to me when I was going through my most recent intense bout of mom meeting efforts. Can you imagine, just fill out a profile, supply a location, and potential mom friends are matched to you at the click of a mouse? Awesome!

julia high - mom meet mom

Planning Playdates for Kids: Do You Stay or Do You Go

So you signed up for Mom Meet Mom to meet moms, and now you’ve got a playdate scheduled. It turns out that planning playdates for kids isn’t as easy as ‘my house or yours’? First, these days there may be allergies or dietary restrictions to contend with so you need to choose playdate snacks carefully. Some moms aren’t content with free play and will be expecting a structured activity to be ready for the children. And of course, there’s the question of whether this is a drop off playdate or a hang out playdate.

What’s a drop off playdate? It’s a playdate planned specifically for the kiddies, where adults are not expected to stick around. Kind of like a drop off party, but with way fewer children. Otherwise known as “You mean I have two hours all to myself?” for one lucky mom. That is, if said lucky mom is cool with leaving her little darling under another mom’s care for that period of time. Not everyone is, and that can cause friction among moms whose kids are tight.

How do you know if next week’s get-together is, in fact, a drop off playdate? Heck, how do you know if drop off playdates are even appropriate? Here’s a quick guide to the world of the drop off playdate so you can plan accordingly:

WHEN ARE KIDS READY FOR DROP OFF PLAYDATES?

Age: When your kiddo is two or under, planning a playdate is usually just a nice way of suggesting you wanted to hang out with a certain mama. At ages three and up, kids have learned to play with each other and not just near each other, so playdates are suddenly about the children socializing versus coffee time with kids underfoot. After six, expect drop off to be the norm.

Esagerness: Many moms are ready for drop off playdates when their kids are around 4 years old, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the 4-year-olds feel the same way. You know your kid, so you know whether the idea of you driving away to run some errands won’t phase her… or will fill her with dread.

Familiarity: A drop off playdate with a mama you’ve known since you were both pregnant is way different than a playdate with someone from your daughter’s preschool class who you only know by sight. Adjust your expectations accordingly. Your social circle may be more open or less open to drop off playdates.

Confirmation: If you’re not sure what your kid’s playdate pal’s mama is expecting you to do, just ask. There’s nothing wrong with asking if she was thinking you’d stay for a cuppa or drop and dash. Just be sure to ask before you actually show up for the playdate.

Comfort: Look, you’re the mom here. If you get a major case of the heebies when you think of leaving your little one at another family’s house for the afternoon, you can choose not to. Hosting playdates in your own home means the decision to stay or go is out of your hands – now you just have to figure out your policy on asking other mamas to stay or go!

christa terry - mom meet mom

Don’t Forget, Moms… Opposites Do Attract

They say opposites attract. As I get older, I am starting to realize this in a big way. And in the case of my sister and I, it couldn’t be more true.

We grew up in a small New Hampshire town with acres of woods behind our house and no interruptions but the sounds of grasshoppers, birds, the occasional mystery animal, and children engaging in their favorite childhood hobbies.

For me, the hobbies were enjoyed alongside my brother and the boys in the neighborhood. I played pond hockey for hours, climbed trees, and threw on boxing gloves – yes – taking a few punches in the face from the lower weight class of the boys. I was a true tomboy.

My sister also engaged in hobbies. She was a figure skater for years and played a mean violin. No one could turn their heads away from the gorgeous sound of music whenever she had the fiddle in hand. She played like an angel. One day we even got a little scared because one of her boyfriends was caught standing below her bedroom window listening to her play. Total creep. Needless to say he didn’t last.

We shared a room. I was a complete slob and she was an obsessive neat freak. Her 80s wardrobe was perfectly hung in order with absolutely no wrinkles. My wardrobe hung out of drawers and you could surely find a sweater or pair of jeans stuffed under my bed.

In school, my sister was top of her class. She was an A player loved by all of her teachers. I, on the other hand, hung out in the C squad and got a case of senior slide like it was nobody’s business. We both made it to college (lucky for me), where my sister majored in music, and I in hockey and partying.

It wasn’t until after college that our paths united. We were both somewhat settled in our careers, living in Boston, enjoying our independence as single women in our 20s. We found ourselves in a similar place and became absolutely inseparable. We slept over each other’s apartments all the time, went out on the town regularly, and occasionally took off on an adventure.

We were married within a couple years of one another and had our first child within six weeks. Today we talk on the phone just about every day and with our busy family schedules, manage to get a visit in at least once a month. The older we get, the more we appreciate and love our differences… ying and yang.

where moms meet - mom meet momwhere moms meet - mom meet momWhat I’ve learned from my relationship with my sister is not to turn my back on potential friends that aren’t a “perfect match”. With Mom Meet Mom, yes, we want you to meet moms like you, but we encourage you to go off the reservation once in a while and connect with your opposites. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

When You’re the Only Working Mom in Your Group

All moms are created equal in the newborn days. Paid or unpaid, most new mothers give themselves a few weeks or months of maternity leave to bond with their tiny babies. After that, though, some moms have to or choose to go back to work. Some moms have to or choose to quit the jobs they’d planned to go back to. And some moms had already planned to make the switch to full-time homemaking. Or get downsized and so transitioning to SAHM-hood just makes sense.

As moms, sometimes we make choices and sometimes those choices are thrust upon us…. but anyway, moving on.

Let’s say you’re a working mom with three months of maternity leave, which in the States is a generous assumption. In those three months, you might go to the weekly mom’s group at the hospital, breastfeeding support classes, coffee at your bestie’s house, and baby gymnastics. In the process, you’re going to meet moms and maybe make some new friends.

Those twelve weeks are going to fly by – trust me, I know. And when they do, you’re suddenly going to be the odd man out if you’re the only working mom in your group of friends because your availability is going to change drastically. Why? It’s simple.

SAHMs can plan playdates for kids during the daytime on weekdays, so lots of SAHMs reserve late afternoons, evenings, and weekends for family activities. SAHMs can also meet up for Mommy & Me classes, baby swimming lessons, morning coffee, and other fun stuff that usually only happens Monday through Friday. (Ed. note: Thanks a lot, local YMCA…)

Working moms, on the other hand, have to plan their fun around the 9 to 5, which is probably more like 8 to 6:30 when you factor in the commute. Some working moms are lucky enough to have flexible hours or an early end time, but that’s certainly not the norm, so everything from dance class to meeting moms has to be fit into evenings and weekends.

This is more than just a scheduling issue, though. Moms who are going back to work after a few months or even longer can feel like they’re literally losing friends. When your entire circle of moms meets up when you’re at work and aren’t around for playdates when you are around, you may feel incredibly alone. But of course, no one is trying to exclude anyone else. The SAHMs probably miss their newly employed bestie as much as she misses them.

So what do you do? How about:

Plan a Wine Night and Make It Monthly

A monthly evening sans kids puts everyone on equal footing. The key is making it stress free. Whoever hosts buys the wine, and everyone else brings the snacks. And if you’ve been so busy working or chasing after your kids that day and you can’t manage to throw anything together? No worries. Seriously, for a wine night to work no mom should ever feel guilty for showing up empty handed or covered in spit up.

Get Dads in On the Action

If SAHMs and working moms are both reluctant to give up time with family, make get togethers a family affair. Picnics and parties where everyone is invited mean no has to choose between friends and family and dads don’t feel left out of the fun. Or keep things small by inviting one family over for dinner, once a month.

Meet in the Middle

If these are your besties, be straight with them. You may be surprised at how flexible they can be when they understand how isolated you feel. Once it’s all out in the open, you can figure out how you can help each other keep in touch.

Meet Moms at Work

No, you shouldn’t have to make new mom friends just because you’re stuck in the office five days a week, but maybe there are other moms at your company who are also feeling left out of the SAHM fun. These moms may be more open to getting together on weekends or joining you and your little for a Saturday swim class.

How have you coped with mommy isolation after going back to work? Got any tips for the rest of us?

christa terry - mom meet mom

Maintaining Balance in Mom Friendships

I’m just coming off of the crazy social escapade of planning and executing a little kid’s birthday (the miss just turned 3), all while ridiculously pregnant (nearly 38 weeks at the birthday party). The whole experience got me thinking a lot about maintaining balance while still being social. It’s a tough problem for moms; once you meet mom friends, how do you make time to develop that friendship? And how do you do that while still making time for family, ensuring you have alone time, and balancing your other responsibilities? And how do you help teach your kids the same type of balance?

I’m no expert, but these are some of the ideas I came up with. First, the high-level stuff:

  • Know your social goals: Are you trying to establish a new support system? Are you working to maintain existing friendships? Are you trying to transition from being an acquaintance to being a close friend? Are you more interested in finding friends for yourself, or, especially if your kids are still young, helping them make friends? If you know your social goals, it’s easier to pick activities that help you get what you need.
  • Know the temperaments involved: are you more of an introvert or an extrovert? What about your kids? Do they prefer loud, rambunctious play, or quieter activities? How about the friend(s) with whom you are trying to connect? This information helps you choose appropriate activities, prepare yourself and your kids, and predict, to some degree, how successful an activity will be.(For example, my daughter and I both tend to be introverted, and even a bit shy at times. We can do big social events, but it works out better if I keep them short, and ensure that we have solo, quiet play time before and after.)

At a lower level, it struck me that there are huge differences in how moms might approach the social balancing act depending on their work status. Here are some specific tips for different work situations:

Working moms: If your kid is in school or daycare, and especially if you are working outside of the home, your biggest challenges are probably going to involve finding time for family, finding time for your own social life, and ensuring adequate alone time while still not dropping the ball too badly on responsibilities in the home. Your kids are probably doing okay in terms of access to other kid friends, but they may have a hard time finding time for family or time on their own, especially if they have a lot of extracurricular activities. You might consider trying some of these options:

- institute a “family night” ritual – we don’t all have time for the daily family meal, but if you can carve out one night a week (or a weekend morning, whatever works!) that everyone attends, it gives you an opportunity to reconnect!

- if your kids are still small, have some small (5-10 minute) activity that you can consistently do every day during which you just focus on them – maybe it’s brushing your teeth together in the morning, or laying out tomorrow’s clothed at bedtime; anything that ensures that you have time to let them know you care, and to give them an opportunity to tell you about their day.

- work with your partner or support system to find regular opportunities to be social – maybe it’s a babysitter once a month so you can go to book club, or 20 minutes twice a week to chat with your online bestie. Make it clear how much time you need, how often, and how important it is to you.

- consider meditation/prayer/daily walks/etc. – we all need a little solo time to reconnect with ourselves. Even a few minutes a day of quiet reflection can help restore balance, even if the only way you can get it is by taking the scenic route home from work!

- don’t be afraid to take a vacation – it’s easy to get sucked in to the always-connected work culture we have in this country, and, unfortunately, sometimes a difficult financial situation means work takes up more time than we would like. Try to make a little time for yourself and your family each week, and, if the opportunity for a break arises, don’t let guilt or worry prevent you from using it! Even if you end up spending your whole break at home, that’s still a valuable chance to rest and reconnect with folks you care about!

Moms who work from home with kids in tow: This can be a really tricky situation – although you get more time in the presence of your family, you may feel like it isn’t “quality” time because you are working at the same time. Work-at-home moms – like my co-founder Christa – also tend to work longer hours or work at unusual intervals (e.g., early mornings or post-bedtime), which may make it difficult to have alone time or to socialize with other adults. If your kids are small, it might also be hard to ensure that they have opportunities to interact with kids their own age.

- consider organizing a babysitting circle – this is a great way to give small kids a chance to make friends without interfering too much with your work commitments.

- if your schedule allows, make lunch into family-focused downtime – this helps reduce that sense that you don’t have quality time in spite of being with your kids all day. Close the laptop, power down the phone, and work together to prepare and share a meal. Or, if cooking isn’t your thing, make time for a short post-meal family walk and talk session.

- combine playdates with grown-up social time – admittedly, this is not ideal, and it can be hard to find families where the grownups and kids all get along, but if your time is really constrained because you are doing both full-time work and providing full-time care for your kids, combo mom-and-kid playdates may be the most effective use of your time.

- consider online friendships – these allow for grown-up social interaction without needing you to be in a particular place at a set time.

- it’s okay to lock yourself in the bathroom now and again – for work-at-home moms, that extra-long shower might be your only opportunity to get some alone time. Don’t feel guilty for taking advantage of that moment!

Stay-at-home moms: SAHM often get sucked into a pattern of focusing on the needs of their kids and families while ignoring their own need for adult interactions and alone time. This can be especially true in families where the stay-at-home mom is expected to take on the majority of household chores.

- consider babysitting circles or part-time daycare/preschool for little ones: you aren’t failing as a stay-at-home mom if you take a break now and again, and things like co-op preschools or occasional drop-in daycare can be pretty affordable while still creating an opportunity to get some social or alone time.

- resist the urge to do housework on the rare occasions when you are home alone – trust me that your sanity is more important than the dishes. Well, unless doing the dishes is something that genuinely makes you feel better, in which case go ahead and do those dishes!

- learn to trust your partner/support system – when you are your kids’ primary caregiver, it can sometimes feel like you are abandoning your children when you leave them in someone else’s care. Try not to give in to that feeling. Even if your partner or other support person does things differently, that doesn’t mean they are doing it wrong, and your kids will benefit from having a mom who is refreshed and centered because she gets adult interaction and alone time on a regular basis.

- embrace the post-bedtime period (or pre-wake-up if you’re an early riser) – this is a great time to get in needed social/alone time without putting too much strain on alternate caregivers, though it can be tricky for moms who co-sleep. Even if you do co-sleep, try to sneak out of bed now and again!

Of course, Mom Meet Mom is a great resource for moms who are looking to find social balance. We help connect you with moms who have similar schedules, provide tools for keeping in touch with online friends, and give you insight into the personality of moms (and kids) with whom you’re trying to connect. Okay, admittedly, we can’t make dinner or take care of the dishes, but we *can* help you meet – and stay connected with – moms like you in your town!

julia high - mom meet mom

Easy, Kid-Friendly Playdate Snacks

Kids. When they’re not begging for chicken nuggets or some other gnarly thing, they’re begging to be excused from the table because they’re stuffed to the gills after eating what appears to be a single molecule of lunch. I’ve often wondered just what is in the air that is keeping my daughter alive since it’s not the three grapes she had for breakfast.

I’m generally lucky in that the aforementioned daughter tends to crave foods from the healthier side of the supermarket aisle, like raw fruit and veggies and cheese. Before you roll your eyes, I’ll also say that she loves candy and would probably eat chocolate chip cookies to the exclusion of all else if you let her.

Anyway, I know from experience that most kids are ridiculously picky when it comes to food – even if their parents won’t admit it. And that’s okay. When P. eats nothing but raw fruit and peanut butter from a spoon along with a bite of a bread, I remind myself that there must be some evolutionary advantage to this. And hey, at least she’s not one of those ‘only eats white foods’ kids! But if she was, we’d deal with it.

Introduce another child or three into the mix, and things get more complicated. For instance, you’re planning a playdate for your kids. It’s going to overlap with snack time. What do you do? WHAT? DO? YOU? DO?! What, pray tell, will appeal to five kids who are five different ages and be easy enough for you to throw together that morning?

How about:

Fruit kabobs: Food on a stick? You know it. Skewer healthy fruits like grapes, pineapple, strawberry, and melon and serve by itself or mix it up with skewers of cheese and ham. For little kids, cut the points off the skewers. For a fancy dessert-y snack, add a cup of chocolate sauce for dipping.

Kid-friendly crudités: Fruits and veg get fancy when you serve them with individual cups of dips like peanut butter or ranch. Why individual cups? Because kids are notorious double dippers.

DIY yogurt parfaits: Let kids dish out their own Greek yogurt (coconut milk yogurt works, too), granola, fresh berries, honey, ground flax seed, and nuts. There’s something about DIY that gets even the pickiest kids enthused about eating.

The classic English muffin pizza: This staple kid food is as appealing today as it was when we were little. Toppings are optional, but may just get your group to eat their veggies.

Make a rainbow: This isn’t so much about what you’re serving but how you serve it. Pick healthy foods that are every color of the rainbow and then let the kids create their own artful plated masterpieces. Do we sense a few future food stylists?

Play tea party: Tiny cucumber sandwiches served with juice in wee tea cups (with saucers, of course) along with fresh fruit tarts can make eating good food fun. Pro Tip: Plenty of boys dig tea parties, too.

christa terry - mom meet mom

Motherhood and Tragedy in Boston

I will never forget the energy, passion, love, and pride that flooded the 26.2 mile course of the Boston Marathon when I ran it back in 2007.  At the time, I was running with the Melanoma Foundation of New England on behalf of my late best friend, Glenna Kohl.  I, alongside thousands of other runners, had a dream of hope, and we all carried that dream from Hopkinton, through Wesley and Brookline, up Heartbreak Hill, past Fenway, and eventually down Boylston to the finish line.

I can still remember the chills that took over my body at various moments throughout the race as I passed my fellow runners and read some of the causes printed across their shirts. Some ran for their sick mothers, some for their brothers, and some for their children. Coming down the final stretch, I felt the true energy of this city. And then I saw my source of inspiration sitting on the bleachers, leaning over with a beautiful scarf around her head. She was cheering me on so loud, and it was one of the most powerful moments of my life. I remember being so proud to live in Boston.

Yesterday’s events in Copley Square shook our city hard. As a mother now, my heart is so heavy for the other moms and dads out there who just wanted to bring their children to experience that same energy and passion that I felt six years ago.

So as mothers and as parents, how do we process everything that happened yesterday? How do we move forward?

First, we channel the energy of the people of Boston. The same energy that brings the people together in good times and bad. Then we do what we do best – we hold our children tight and nurture them with our comforting words. And if the children are old enough to grasp what’s going on, leverage the advice of experts. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has some remarkable tips that can help you talk with your children about what happened at the Marathon and support them through this hard time.

As mothers, to some extent (depending on the severity of the events unfolding around us), we have the opportunity to control how our children will move forward in the wake of horrific tragedies like this. Let’s all try to focus on the goodness of the world and the good people in it so that our children will not lose faith. After all, it’s this goodness that drove so many people to run on behalf of others and it’s the same goodness that made people run toward the danger to help their neighbors in need.

If you’re a mom with additional resources/advice to share, please send them along or share them on our Facebook page.

boston marathon bomb explosions

Straight Talk Tips for Meeting Moms

Becoming a mom changes your life and the people in it. Sure, you will always have your best friends from home or college, but what if they don’t have children of their own or live far away? Some of my closest friends are still tearing it up at single bars, and many of them live at least 30 minutes from me.

With this reality at the forefront for many moms out there, the need to meet other moms suddenly becomes a priority. Lucky for me, I’ve had success by following the tactics below.

meet moms - mom meet momGet out of the house.

Whether you’re a working mom or stay-at-home mom, when it comes to managing your kids, it is almost always easier to stay around the house. But the longer you stay in, the more isolating it will become. Get dressed, pack the kiddos up and get out of the house!

Stay local.

Whether you venture to a park, go for a walk or hit the mall, try to keep it local. The farther you travel from your home, the less likely you’ll meet moms that live in your area. It’s much more difficult to manage new mom friendships with moms who live more than 20 minutes from you, especially when you factor in naps, food, and activity schedules.

Keep your head up.

It’s easy to get caught up in your own world and your kids, but try to stay aware of the people around you. I can’t count the number of times I’ve walked passed another mom who was so trapped in what she was doing that she was completely unaware of her surroundings. When you’re out and about keep your head up and eyes open for other moms.

Break the ice.

This is where it starts to sound a bit like the dating scene. Most people have trouble initiating conversation with complete strangers. Remember that all moms share an unspoken universal bond with other moms. You immediately have something in common and something to talk about. Take a deep breath and leverage that commonality:

  1. Lead with a Complement – “Your baby is adorable! How old?”

  2. Find out where she lives – “Do you live in the area?”

  3. Get her number or email- “You know what? I get coffee a few times a week with couple other moms in the area before work. If you are around, you should join us! Let me get your email address and I will let you know when/where we are meeting next.”

Do it again, and again.

How long did it take to secure a close group of girlfriends? Meeting moms that you get along with most certainly won’t happen overnight and the odds of you connecting with your best mom friend on the first try is extremely low.

So that’s it. Just stick to the steps above and you’ll be on your way to some pretty awesome mommy friendships. And in your downtime, don’t forget to sign up for Mom Meet Mom. The cool thing about the site is that everyone on it is looking for the same thing – mom friendships. This makes meeting new mom friends fun and simple.

Please feel free to shoot me some comments/questions! I would love to hear from other moms RE: how you approach moms in your area.