I joined a local moms group last year in an effort to expose my eldest daughter to children her own age. My concern was that we didn’t know very many people with young children, & as she began talking about having friends, I didn’t have anyone toward whom I could point her. So we joined the group. Until then, I hadn’t realized how much I missed connecting with other moms.
I have other friends, but they have either already been through the infant & toddler years, or they don’t yet have children. I didn’t have any friends who were in the same place in their lives. No one with whom to discuss the frustrations of potty training & discipline & the death of nap time. And I didn’t realize how refreshing it would be to connect with other women who are dealing with the exact same thing.
There’s a whole group of us, & we coordinate a monthly calendar of activities to fill our weeks with socializing & constructive play. It’s a totally different experience heading off to the zoo with four other moms & their kiddos instead of just me & my offspring. And with our combined children, it’s no problem to set up activities like a tour of the local fire house.
While I’m able to gain much-needed support & encouragement as a mom, I also get ideas for how I can better mother my children. Whether it be an idea for a fun activity or a potty training tip or just a reminder of how I look when I finally lose my temper with my toddler, I’m getting a clearer picture of the kind of mother I want to be.
No, we don’t all agree with each other, but no one criticizes anyone else for our differences. Granted, I’m probably the crunchiest mother there, from what I’ve gathered, but I’ve still connected with AP parents & breastfeeders & non-spankers. Everyone has their own style, & when we find common ground, we quickly combine forces to learn as much as possible from each other while reminding ourselves that we’re not the only ones.
I can’t say that I want to be close friends with every mom in our group either, but there’s no one I actively dislike, which is a blessing. It makes the group that much more pleasant. Sometimes we even set up a moms night out, & we go to dinner with each other sans children. (It’s a real treat to occasionally not have to share my food.) Some even swap babysitting to get an occasional night out with the hubs.
So my one piece of advice to any mother, if I were to ever be asked for advice, is to try to connect with other moms who are in the same place in life. There is so much to be gained from the relationships one builds in these groups, & chances are, there’s a moms group in almost every town across the USA, from a formal club (like MOPS or MOMS Club) to an informal group that utilizes evite.com or some other organizational tool. So far, I’ve found four such groups in my small town.
A moms group is as much for yourself as for your children. It’s networking, socialization, education, & entertainment all in one place. It’s an opportunity to connect. It’s important, because it reminds you that you’re not alone.
To find a formal, local chapter, check out:
- MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) – An international, Christian organization for mothers with preschoolers. Other age groups available.
- MOMS Club – A national, secular organization for mothers.