Three examples. Ready? Set? Go.
The Professional Example
Interesting how this executive frames up SoulCycle here:
One of the key values at SoulCycle is non-competitiveness. Cyclers don’t compete with each other. Rather they share the burden of the exercise together, pressing down on their peddles and bopping on their handlebars in unison, together powering their collective self-esteem and dazzling abs. But Rice says, what really kept people coming back again and again was a sense of belonging that bordered on commitment, if not obligation. It was this sense, she explains, that “If I don’t show up, somebody will be disappointed. If I don’t show up, the energy of this community will be disrupted. What I am contributing to this community is actually propelling it.”
This is Step 1.
The Societal Example
In the U.S. these days, we’ve got a lot of issues with leaving rural communities behind. But not all rural communities are a disaster. Orange City, Iowa — NW corner of the state, but 2 hours from any major airport — is actually thriving. Here is one reason why:
Julie and Greg lived in the Philadelphia suburbs for ten years. They tried to build a sense of community there, but it didn’t work. They had friends, but after a decade their town still didn’t feel like home. Around this time, when Julie was in her late thirties, her mother received a diagnosis of leukemia, and Julie went to Orange City to be with her as she was dying. She was struck by how many people came to see her mother. She noticed that some of these friends had money and others were poor, whereas in Philadelphia her friends were all very much like her and Greg. Julie thought, Here is a woman who has accomplished basically nothing, professionally, and yet she has had an impact on so many people. And she thought, These are the kinds of deep friendships that we don’t have in Philadelphia.
This is Step 2.
The Motherhood Example
Making matters worse, research that demonstrates the importance of early childhood experiences in determining future success and happiness puts additional pressure on moms to get it right. Also, for working mothers (57 percent of women are in the U.S. workforce), who are used to a productive mind-set and established social routines, it can be difficult to adapt to the repetitive life of meeting the basic daily needs of a baby. “A lot of women go back to work because of the loneliness,” Dunnewold says.
OK. Now feast on this (same source article):
According to Leahy-Warren’s recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, mothers with strong social support who have confidence in their ability to parent were 75 percent less likely to be depressed than mothers who had neither advantage. There are four parts to social support, Leahy-Warren explains: hands-on, emotional, informational and appraisal, meaning affirmation that a mother is doing a good job.
What do all these examples have in common?
The need for community.
Build community. Seek it out.
Women have a tendency sometimes to cut each other down — not support each other. But when you become mothers, it’s critically important to build a community around that concept. It’s essential. Maybe somebody has a bigger house, more nannies, whatever. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are all going through the experience and the struggle to be the best we can be and not sure how we actually stack up. This requires support. It requires community. It’s a total necessity.
What do you think?
Do you have a community of mothers where you live? Groups? Walks? Playdates?