On Dec. 5, Forsyth County resident Kayla Priest made the following post on a local Facebook group: “Am I the only mother in Forsyth that has no girlfriends to hang out with?”
It didn’t take long to get an answer.
“I was just sitting home one day, feeling kind of lonely because I have been in Forsyth for about two or three years now, and I haven’t really made any girlfriends,” she said. “I figured it was very important for women to have other women around, so I guess I got the guts one night to post it on the page. I had no idea it would get as big as it did. By the next day, there were over 1,000 comments.”
The post caught the eye of fellow mom Caroline Ryan, who decided to run with the idea and start a group for mothers called, “Because Mom.”
“No one knew each other, so I was like, ‘I’m going to create a group, and hopefully it turns out OK and I get to meet people,” Ryan said. “Overnight I did it, and we [now] have about 700 members.”
Priest — who said she was used to being around men between her boyfriend, his three sons and her son — said many of those who responded said how hard it was to make friends as a mom, especially for those who had only moved to the area in the last few years or were busy raising kids and working.
“It made me see that, I think, there is a stigma about women not having friends, like people are afraid to speak up about it,” she said. “I guess in fear that it might look like we don’t have it together in our lives, and I think that it’s OK not to have it together, and it made me feel really good to see I wasn’t the only one.”
Posts on the page can range from messages of support to jokes to needs of members.
Ryan said the group soon started meeting offline including meetings, meals, hosting smaller subgroups like a book group and recently a white elephant gift exchange for the holidays.
“We get together three or four times a month, and it is crazy how it just kind of blossomed overnight,” Ryan said. “It really has helped everyone because people are going through divorces or some are homeless and others need a roommate, so it just kind of worked out.”
The group is open to any woman. Ryan said she even found out she lived near Priest and other group members through talking with them.
“A lot of people just think, ‘oh, it’s mom friends. Who needs those?’” Ryan said. “But, you do the daily life and the daily struggle, and you just need someone to talk to. It’s been phenomenal.”