7 reasons mommy groups are good for you
Many women have heard of mommy groups and can easily picture them in their mind: a casual gathering at a coffee shop or park, where serene new mothers meet new friends, sip on tea, and share tips that have helped their babies all sleep through the night by 2 weeks of age. In their arms, their gorgeous brand-new babies coo contentedly, allowing their mommies this time to rejuvenate and meet new acquaintances, never once interrupting their conversations with the need for a diaper change.
Ha! If only this were how mommy groups always played out. In reality, they can often be a bit messy, a bit loud, and sometimes can actually end up not being the best place to escape for adult conversation. Thankfully, this last scenario isn’t usually the case.
Luckily, finding the right mommy group can actually be a gift to a new mother who needs to connect with other women in her situation, and who desperately needs the social contact after giving birth and surviving many sleepless nights. Here are some reasons why joining a mommy group just might be right for you.
1. It gets you out of the house. Most mommy groups meet weekly or a few times a month. They are often hosted in pretty relaxed settings: a nearby playground, a coffee shop, a community center, or a member’s house. The nice thing about them is since most moms need a heads up when it comes to scheduling, these are often planned out in advance. This gives you the chance to have an outing to look forward to. In those first few weeks where you can barely manage a shower and hardly ever get out of your PJs by lunchtime, having a mommy group outing can be motivational. Having a newborn can be quite isolating, and this scheduled socialization can help break you out of this rut.
2. You realize you aren’t alone. It can be so overwhelming to think you are the only one with a newborn who cries for 3 hours every evening or who has latching issues, or to feel like you are the only mother to feel sadness or maybe you aren’t cut out for parenthood. Talking to other moms will help you realize you are one of millions of moms in the world who have felt every pang of fear, anxiety, exhaustion, and—yes, really—overwhelming joy when your constipated baby finally poops! There is nothing like meeting other women who validate everything you feel to make you feel less alone.
3. You can learn from moms who’ve been there, survived that. Meeting other women who have been through (and made it to the other side!) of growth spurts, cluster feeds, engorgement, nagging relatives, regressing older siblings, and life without sleep can help to show you the light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, books are great in prepping you for motherhood, but sometimes nothing beats the brutally honest advice of another mom who has overcome exactly what you are struggling with.
4. No one will judge your yoga pants. Seriously: mommy groups are not fashion shows. Everyone understands the gift of sweatpants, and you can all probably identify the stains on each other’s shirts.
5. You just might make lifelong friends for you and your child. While some mommy groups are for mothers of newborns only, you will probably meet a few moms who you click with and hang out with outside of the scheduled sessions far beyond the newborn days. These often become your mom friends for life, and when your baby becomes a rambunctious toddler, you’ve already got playmates for them ready to go (and a friend who understands why your house looks as it does!).
6. Bring on the clothing/baby stuff swapping! So many moms are happy to pass along items they no longer need: too-small baby clothes, baby swings, and even maternity clothes for the next time around. What a great way to save money, and also learn what items worked and which ones to skip.
7. You can meet up without the babies and do grown-up things too. Of course spending your Tuesday mornings with your mom friends and babies is wonderful, but sometimes what’s even better is leaving the kiddos at home and going out for a girls-only dinner on the weekend. These sorts of outings can help you preserve the person you were before you were a mom, and with other mothers who understand why you might need to be flexible and leave early if your baby needs you at home. The bonus: you even get to dress up in “real” clothes!
With so many benefits to moms groups, you might wonder how to find one. Many doctor’s offices, hospitals, and lactation clinics keep a running list of local new moms groups. Social media sites are another great way to locate them. Look for one that works with your schedule, includes babies around the same age as your child, and you click with. Give it a try and if after one group or so it doesn’t feel right, don’t give up and look elsewhere. You can definitely find the right one for you!