355: Building a Resilient Community as a Busy Mom // Jen Banks

 

For the past few years, building a community has been a struggle for me. 

With my work commitments and the ages of my kids,  I’m not finding the natural opportunities to meet up with other moms that I did when my kids were younger and going to playdates and parks and preschool. Building a community has become increasingly difficult!

I am missing out on the blessings of a deep, resilient community and especially close female friendships. 

Do you feel that in your season of mothering? How strong would you say your sense of community is right now? Are you a part of a supportive neighborhood, friend group, church, or club? Are there people you would feel comfortable calling or turning to with your wins and losses? Do you feel like the people in your real-life circles truly know you?

If you’re thinking, “Sorta not really,” you are not alone! 

That’s why I’m so thrilled I got to interview Jen Banks on my show. She inspired me to recommit to building a community—and not just any community, but a resilient community! I’m excited to share her wisdom with you as we talk about what a resilient community means, why it matters, and how we can work on developing it in our busy lives as moms. 

Let’s jump into Jen’s awesome ideas!

 

1. Building a Community by Creating

Jen’s first tip for building a community starts with creating the boundaries for your community. By this, she means actually defining a physical space for your community. We spend so much of our time in a virtual space, so having a physical place designated for our community is an important part that allows us to narrow our focus and energy.  Often, this can be a geographical area, such as your street or culdesac, but it might also include an area of interest, such as a book club or the moms in your school’s PTA. And remember, the point of narrowing isn’t to leave anyone out – it’s to give you a manageable place to start, or else you might not start at all! 

I love this tip because it’s something I’m slowly working on in my own neighborhood! 

A couple of summers ago, we bought new lawn furniture, and it was really expensive. To justify it to myself, I was determined to use the furniture and invite a different family over for dessert once a week throughout the summer. I did that, and we used that lawn furniture. Usually, we invited over families from church. But one particular night (that was probably my favorite night of the summer!) was when we invited our physically close neighbors.

We live on a street that’s not part of a neighborhood. It’s on a busier road, and there are apartments, duplexes, and then there’s our house. It’s not very conducive to a feeling of neighborhood and community, and there are no other children very close to us. Because of this, we hadn’t really gotten to know our neighbors ever. But I reached out to those that are right around us, and invited them over for dessert. Three families came, and it was delightful, and it wasn’t as awkward as I feared.

We all got together, and everyone told me how much they enjoyed it. We exchanged phone numbers, which we hadn’t done before. And it’s not like we’re all besties now, but I have had two of those families reach out to me when they needed some help with something.

And that, my friends, is a starting place for building a community! Now I know that I can reach out to them if I’m in a bind, and they know a little bit more about our family. 

We’ve started something with building a community here, and that feels really supportive. 

 

2. Building a Community by Collaborating

Jen’s second tip for building a community includes reaching out and truly getting to know those within your designated space. Find out about each other and invest in knowing each other more deeply so you can support each other more deeply. What do people do for work? Can you support each other’s businesses? Can you get your kids together for play dates? Where can you work together to enrich the lives of everyone in your circle? What interests do you have in common? What needs do you share? 

Jen shared an example of compiling a business directory for the businesses in her area. Through this, she met other business owners and entrepreneurs, which has since become a place where they collaborate on workshops, branding, and building each other’s businesses. I love this example! 

Get creative with this! Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box!

 

3. Building a Community by Celebrating

Jen’s third tip for building a community involves the fun of celebrating! I love the quote Jen shared in the episode: “Shared joy is double joy, shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” Let’s double our joy by sharing it with others by coming up with meaningful traditions that are just fun! It might be a monthly girls’ night out, an annual Valentine’s Day party, or neighborhood Olympics in the summer. Get creative, get brave, and invite others around you to join you in your joy. I know they will thank you for it!

One way to celebrate others is to be aware of the small things going on in their lives. For example, when I first started my podcast, I was really excited when I hit six months. My friend texted me and said she wanted to celebrate with me by hosting a lunch with a few other women. This alone was so thoughtful and supportive, but when I showed up, she had gone a step beyond and bought a beautiful hardcover notebook as well. She told me it was for writing my future ideas. She also had each of the women write down something they’d learned from my podcast inside of the book. This meant so much to me then, and it still does now. 

Celebrating milestones and accomplishments is a really beautiful way to build deep, strong, resilient communities. 

 

My friends, if you have a great idea for building a community, I want to hear from you!

Maybe you have a fun tradition with your neighborhood or group of girlfriends, or you have additional insights you’d add to this conversation. Find me on Instagram and send me a DM, and I will re-share it to my Stories. Or leave a comment on this blog post, and I’ll share it as well. Let’s all learn from each other how to build resilient communities that will bless our lives AND the lives of our children.

 

If you want to listen to the full interview, head to your favorite podcast platform!

 

>>>Are these tips from Jen on Building a Community helpful? What have you done to build a resilient community in your life? Share your tips in the comments! 

 

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Related Episodes like this one on Building a Community:

Mentioned in the Episode:

About our Guest:

Jen is a mother of three young boys, as well as the owner of an in-home preschool and the founder of the podcast A is for Adversity. She is passionate about building community and building women.

Get in Touch with Our Guest:

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