In the absence of a village, more than ever parents are actively seeking out connections. While there are many programs in our community (both in real life and online) that help facilitate those connections, sometime it’s hard to find the right “fit.”

Who has time for things that don’t add true value to our lives? As a mom of two busy girls and a small business owner, my time is my most precious commodity, and I’m certainly not going to waste it on unfulfilling relationships. Is there a Tinder app for moms yet? Match Making for Mommies, perhaps? Is Speed Dating for Daddies a thing?

Spend 15 seconds on any Facebook group geared towards parents and it becomes very obvious that we are all just screaming for connection. And not just any type of connection, but a deeper connection with people who “get me.” A tribe, some would say.

Amongst those plenty of fish, how the heck are we supposed to find our peeps? Our hug-them-tight, ugly-cry, zero-judgement-no-matter-what parenting posse?

Dig the Toxins

Cutting the cord on a toxic relationship will feel like the weight of the world has been lifted from your already burdened shoulders. Valuing your time, energy, and self-worth over a relationship that has slipped into toxic territory is the first step in opening yourself to new connections.

Put Yourself Out There

This requires leaving the house. If you’re a new mom, this can be especially difficult. Find activities in the community that will put you in direct contact with the type of parents you want to meet. If you want to connect with other new moms, find a postpartum support group, a breastfeeding café or a postnatal fitness class. If you’re a “crunchy mom,” find a local Facebook group of other liked-minded parents and ask if anyone would like to meet for a playdate or organic fair-trade coffee. You may not make an immediate connection with someone, but the more you “get out there” the more opportunity you have to meet “the one” (or ones, hopefully).

Say Yes

Personally, this is the most difficult part for me. When opportunities come up, take a leap of faith and say yes. When that Facebook post comes in your mom group asking if anyone would like to meet at the park, say yes. If you get chatting with a fellow mom at a stroller fit class and she asks if you’d like to grab a coffee after class, say yes. What do you have to lose? At worse you’ll spend an hour chatting with someone you’ll never talk to again. At best, you’ve just taken the first step to building your tribe. Because once you’ve made that connection, there’s a good chance that mom will know other moms, and, boom, tribe.

Making it Stick

Ok, you’ve met someone. You feel the spark and are starting to think that you’ve made that connection you’ve been looking for. How do you translate the meet cute into a long-term sustainable relationship? Be you. Speak your truth and let you guard down. Laugh. Cry. Wear sweatpants, stained shirts and messy buns. Don’t clean your house. Exhale. Let them see you – messy, perfect you.

The magic of breaking down your walls is that people tend to follow suit.

Elaine Kapogines

Elaine Kapogines is the publisher of The Holistic Parent, a natural health and wellness magazine for families in the Waterloo Region and Wellington County. She's also the mom to two spirited daughters and a crazy Boston terrier.

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