A few years ago, I moved to my now ex-husband's home town, where my parents also lived. While it was nice to live near my parents and for our daughter to be able to see grandma and grandpa more than a few times a year, I didn't have any local friends. The process to build a new circle of friends was terrifying and tedious and nothing like what my mom's friendships looked like when I was a kid. You see, millennial moms are redefining the word "friendship" in so many ways.
My current circle of mom friends exists online, at least most of the time. We engage together in a virtual village, commiserating, supporting each other through challenges, celebrating milestones, and laughing at the frequent funny moments of parenthood. This village of people, many of whom I will never meet "in real life," are helping me to raise my children and grow as a parent and a person.
We support each other through career changes and diaper changes, because for many of us, having a career and raising a family are not mutually exclusive. But, through the power of the internet, working parents are able to form friendships with stay-at-home parents, who we probably wouldn't have met before Facebook. Plus, and because we are so connected, my millennial mom friends are not just my partners in parenting, they are partners in activism, too. We don't just care about what happens in our village, we care about the world and are trying our hardest to change it for the better.
My mom (and dad, and just plain parent) friend group is diverse, dynamic, and teaches me something new every day. Seriously. We are redefining what friendship means in a modern context and using those bonds to challenge ourselves and change the world.
We are way more likely to meet mom friends online, first (or in lieu of) hanging out in person. A few weeks ago, I told my husband that a good friend had her baby, he asked, "Is she an online friend or a real friend?" I replied, "Same thing."
Seriously, I have met some of my best friends online. People I go to for advice, to vent or, to just be silly with, exist primarily for me on my smartphone and laptop.
I have been able to connect with and learn from all types of parents, from all types of backgrounds, and with diverse experiences and identities. My parent friends are literally an endless source of parenting and personal advice that is available every hour of every day. How cool is that?
We get that our lives are busy and don't feel bad when people cancel because live happens. And we plan events to accommodate different families' needs. Sunday brunch or Wednesday wine night can be just as fun with kids and couples.
Many millennial moms are attempting to have it all. We care about our careers and our families, and we bond with other working parents at work, at daycare, and in the line at Starbucks.
We care about our families and care about the world. We are just as likely to meet new mom friends at a protest, as we are at our kids' preschool.
I never would have had the confidence to run a marathon (or run, period), if it wasn't for my friends cheering me on. A group of badass warrior goddesses is on my team and always has my back when I'm working towards meeting goals related to fitness and my family.
Modern parents challenge traditional ideas about who does what in families and friend groups. We reject gender roles and learn from each other. Our friend groups include working moms and stay-at-home-dads, Also, we have parent friends who are gay, lesbian, transgender, genderfluid, and agender, and those who have children who challenge our society's preconceived ideas about gender and gender identity.
Millennial moms are helping relaunch the feminist movement to be inclusive and intersectional. Join any "mommy group" on Facebook and you're likely to see discussions about gender, race, and sexuality, because these issues impact us all and our children's future.
I have friends on every continent except Antarctica (I even have a friend who lived there for a while). It is pretty darn amazing to have someone to chat with when I am up feeding my newborn in the early hours of the morning, and to provide insight about international issues that I could never get in my small Midwestern town.
While our moms raised us in communities, neighborhoods, churches, and clubs, millennial moms are new generation, figuring out motherhood and facing new challenges with the help of an amazing village of people from across the street and across the world. All day long I connect with my friends and talk about everything from lactation and midwifery to money management and politics.
It takes a village of like-minded people to support us through the hard days, help us celebrate parenting wins, and, most importantly, let us know that we aren't alone in this scary journey called parenthood.