Become part of the wonderfully diverse Solo Mom community
In Chicago, we have had monthly ESME meetups for the past six months, and they have been a blast! On average, between five and 10 moms have been at each get-together. Some have come once, some come monthly, some bring kids, and some use it as a break from their kids. What was apparent from the very first meetup is how wonderfully diverse the Solo Mom community is.
Rachel, one of the single moms who has been attending the meetups, says, “The interesting thing is how eclectic and diverse the women are as far as their ages, their children’s ages, the situation they are in, ethnicity, etc.—yet we all seem to have so much in common and so much to share with and relate to one another.” Samantha agrees: “It’s awesome that moms are in different stages of their journey in single motherhood. From those who are pregnant to those who have adult children, it’s great to have one another to share experiences and resources.”
As Solo Moms, we often find ourselves isolated. Taking care of children gives us precious little time to socialize with adults, and our solo status can exclude us from other parent groups. ESME meetups provide an opportunity to create a support system with one another—and together we are strong! Erin says, “I find meetups a great way to bring mothers together who might not otherwise meet. I have made some new friends, and it’s nice to chat with them.”
ESME’s online community is all about supporting one another, and the same is true of meetups. Amy says, “I like the meetup energy. Everyone was so positive and super supportive. If you need a lift up, this meetup will definitely charge you with tons of positive energy.” Santresa shares, “The moment that stuck with me was when a woman came and said she was new to Chicago and had no friends and no family—and how happy she was that she found us. The fact that she had joined the group the same day of our meeting was all gifts and signs from God. I just feel good that we are building a sisterhood.”
If right about now you are finding yourself envious of our cozy group and have started making plans to move to Chicago to join us—I have good news for you! You don’t have to relocate your family to find your own ESME community (although we would love to have you). You can simply host your own meetup.
“What?” you say, “Do you think I have time to host anything between work/carpool/vet appointment/root canals/fighting with my ex/Minecraft/all of life?” Yes, I say—because it’s super easy to host an ESME meetup in three simple steps:
- Decide a time and place that works for you.
- Post it on your local ESME group site.
- Show up.
That’s it. Really! In fact, Nadine, who has never attended a meetup before, is hosting our next one. She says, “I’m a newly single mom and new to the city, and I am looking to meet and make new mommy friends. I chose Tempo as the meetup place because it is very kid friendly and decently priced for food.” She also advises, “When choosing a venue, think about parking, price of food, and atmosphere.” The key is not to overthink it. We are Solo Moms, so we can use our Solo Mom skills even when making friends. We keep it simple, are proactive, and take risks.
The greatest challenge in Chicago has been in finding a location that works for everyone. I finally had to accept that this is not possible. Solo Moms tend to want to accommodate everyone and lose sleep over not meeting someone’s needs—so this will most likely be a common dilemma for many hosts. Having organized six, I’ve finally come to realize that the flexibility and fluidity of the meetups don’t require a perfect solution. We’ve had them in various parts of town, and people come as they can and want, and that has turned out to be OK. If someone needs a meetup close to where they live, then there’s room for that! We don’t have to solve the entire world’s problems at every meetup.
My other source of anxiety was that no one would show up—and I would be eating tacos alone in defeat. Solo Mom meetups need to be casual and flexible, but this makes it very hard to know exactly who will show up. I alleviated this anxiety the first couple of times by bringing a friend or two along. Worst-case scenario, we’ll still have fun! I reassured myself. But that’s just me. You are probably not as neurotic. And really, when you think about it, unexpected alone time with a couple of tacos is kind of great, too!
Mika Yamamoto, ESME's Guide for Public Assistance, has successfully nurtured two children as a Solo Mom and now hopes to achieve the same results as a plant nanny.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.