I'm the mother of a rising kindergartner, but I still haven't found any mom friends. Here's how I get through without that support system.

no mom squad illustration
Ana Celaya

When I found out I was pregnant with my first son almost six years ago, I was just as nervous as any first-time mom-to-be would be. As my pregnancy progressed and my worry about what life as a mom would be like grew, I devoured parenting advice in book, blog, and online forum formats.

While it quickly became clear there was a lot of disagreement on most parenting topics (wait, when should I introduce solids?!), there was one bit of oft preached wisdom that seemed so universal, I figured it must be true: No one can survive motherhood without a tight-knit mom squad to pep you up when you're tired, back you up when you're feeling defeated, and lift you up when things aren't going the way you hoped. As I moved closer to delivery, I hoped and prayed I would find my mom friends fast.

Over the past five years, I've done everything the books and blogs advised I do to develop a mom squad. I attended a prenatal birth class, went to prearranged mom groups when my son was an infant, and struck up conversations with other mothers at preschool drop-off. But despite my best efforts, I'm now the mother of a rising kindergartner and I still haven't found my squad.

While not having a mom group can feel deflating, especially after putting in so much effort to develop one, I've been doing motherhood without a squad for over half a decade now and, despite its ups and downs, I've survived. If you're a squadless mom trying to figure out how to rock motherhood when you don't have a group of women to call for advice, camaraderie, or emergency childcare, check out the tips below that I've learned help make it work.

Lean on your partner

If you have a parenting partner, being squadless means you'll probably rely on them just a little bit more than moms who've got a group might—and that's OK. Whether it's going to them for emotional support, planning a few more date nights with activities of your choosing, or being really clear with them about when you're feeling tapped out, leaning on your significant other, and being open to both receiving and giving support, can help fill the mom squad void in your life.

Get to know your neighbors

The older couple next door or the single man down the street might not share your everyday experience, but by nature of living near one another, you have something in common. Many moms who rely on their squad talk about the importance of having someone close by who can help out in a pinch. And if you're there for your neighbors, chances are they'll be there for you too when you need some last minute help.

Find your non-mom squad

For a lot of women, making mom friends feels so much harder than making regular friends. If this is the case for you, consider investing your time and energy into developing friendships around other parts of yourself and see what happens. Join a book club if you love murder mysteries, take a series of painting classes, or join a class at your favorite gym. While non-mom friends might not want to hear about your baby's latest blowout, they will want to hear about other important parts of your life and there's a lot of value in that.

Hire help

It's always nice to have someone who understands the struggle step in to provide support with no strings attached when you need it most. But if you don't have a mom squad, you might not have this kind of backup in your life. Don't let that stop you from reaping the benefits of help though. Hire a babysitter. Order yourself meal delivery when you don't have anyone to set up a meal train after you bring Baby home from the hospital. Hire a postpartum doula to come over and listen to your birth story in those hazy postpartum days. While the gift of support is nice, buying support will often help you get through those parenting rough patches just the same.

Find virtual support

With so much conflicting advice online regarding the how-tos of parenting, there can be real value in finding a virtual group you trust in order to seek out parenting advice. Find an online group that resonates with you. Think a breastfeeding support group if you're nursing, a formula feeding group if you're formula feeding, or a gentle parenting group if you lean towards attachment parenting. Then make yourself at home asking questions, receiving advice, and giving your input on others' challenges.

Get out of the house

Often when mothers talk about the importance of their squad, they talk about how vital it is to have other adults to talk to when parenthood seems all-consuming. While the cashier at the supermarket or the barista at your favorite coffee shop won't be the ones to swap sleep training stories with, getting some positive adult human contact can make a world of difference when you're feeling overwhelmed. You can also try hitting up local moms groups or meetups—even if you don't find your next BFF there it can feel nice to be in the company of others who probably do want to exchange all their sleep training stories with you.

Don't let your squadless status impact your self-worth

Being a mom without a squad can sometimes be really upsetting. You might wonder if there's something wrong with you that's preventing you from making the friends you so desperately want or if you're worthy of the sort of friendship that seems to come so easy for others. I get it, deeply and truly down to the bones get it. But it's not true. Just because you haven't found your people doesn't mean you are not worthy of love and friendship and all the sweetness life has to offer. It means, simply, that you haven't found your people.

On the days that you start to tie your worthiness to whether you have mom friends or not, step back and savor what's good in your life, and be grateful for all that you do have. It's hard to do sometimes but remembering the positive can often pull us out of even the deepest funk.