They say it takes a village to raise a child, but not everyone has or can find one of these “villages.” So, what does a new mom do when they lack a support system?
First, know that you aren’t alone. Many factors contribute to the lack of support many new mothers face, and there’s no doubt that entering parenthood without support is hard (heck, even with it, it’s hard). Rest assured, there are ways to find peace when you lack a support system as a mom. But you can also work toward building your support system.
Factors Contributing to a Lack of Support System for Moms
Though the existence of a “village” may have been the norm for new moms in the past, more of today’s modern women are finding themselves left to navigate motherhood on their own.1,2
Whether stay-at-home moms or working in an office, women are expected to balance full schedules and endless tasks. People are generally busy and preoccupied with their families and obligations and don’t always support each other.3
In addition, societal pressure is perhaps more significant than ever before, especially given social media’s rise and constant presence. Women constantly see online content depicting others who seemingly “have it all together.” Thus, it can be easy for moms to form unrealistic assumptions of what they should be able to handle with little or no support. This opens the door for feelings of shame, “mom guilt,” and fear of being judged when it becomes clear that we, as mothers, can’t do it all on our own after all.4
All these factors make it difficult for mamas to seek out and receive the support they so desperately long for. With the bar set so high for women, even finding (and keeping!) mom friends can be a challenge. That said, motherhood is a journey that we don’t have to walk alone.
How Moms Can Find Peace Without a Support System
First, remind yourself that you’re both normal and, more importantly, amazing for doing what you’re doing despite not having a support system. Then, open yourself up to the idea that you’ll still be just as amazing if you seek the support you deserve. Whether that means connecting to other moms in person or via online groups, seeking professional assistance, paying for a part-time mother’s helper, or doing whatever you need to do to thrive as a mom, know this: It’s OK to lean on others. It’s necessary, especially in motherhood.
Once you’ve become comfortable knowing we all need support as moms, working toward building a support system can be hugely beneficial. This task might feel daunting to some – especially if turning to others in times of need hasn’t been a familiar practice. However, it is entirely doable. Even more, it’s worth it.
What You Can Do to Build Your Support System
Here are some tips on how to build your support system as a mom.
Reach Out to Friends and Family
Even if you’re convinced your family and friends can’t be there for you in the way you wish they were, reach out. Sometimes people don’t know when someone needs support. Be specific with your needs. Your efforts may or may not yield the desired outcome, but trying won’t hurt anything.
Get Involved in New Activities
It can be easy to get caught up in the daily grind of motherhood. Signing up for new activities provides an opportunity to switch things up and naturally get to know new mom friends and create a support system. Bonus points for those that repeat on a regular basis, like a barre class, mommy and me music classes, or your child’s school’s PTO!
Make Space for Fresh Connections
Whether running around with your little one at the playground or scrolling your feed during nap time, there are ample opportunities to connect with other women in our everyday lives. You never know where striking up a conversation (if even in the form of a post) will lead you when it comes to meeting your mom BFFs.
Be Open to Professional Support
While mom friends are truly a gift, sometimes we might need professional support. There are ample resources available when it comes to well-being in motherhood. Therapy, lactation support, postpartum doulas, night nannies, mothers helpers, you name it. These services all exist for a reason, and there’s no shame in taking advantage of any of them.
Be There for Other Moms When You Can
We’re all in this together. Moms need moms, and extending yourself to others is an excellent step to building genuine, mutually supportive relationships.
There’s no doubt that momming is hard as it is and even harder for moms without an adequate support system. But with some intentionality and branching out, peace can be found, and tribes can be built. Motherhood isn’t meant to be experienced alone.