Mom Groups Provide A Lifeline For New Mothers

Thanks to Neighborhood Parents Network for sponsoring this post.

The best thing that I did when my boys were younger was join a mom’s group. Though my oldest was just a few months old at the time, I still made it a point to go to every playdate that I could. The reason wasn’t so that he could play with other babies but because I, as a mom, needed that connection with other moms. I discovered that motherhood, especially in the early years, can be an extremely lonely time if you try to go on the journey alone!

Over the years since starting this blog I’ve heard from dozens of other moms who have felt the same way. Motherhood is isolating and developing mom friendships is so important! One mom, Sarah Dyer (founder of Shine On) shares how the mom’s group she joined was a lifeline when she needed it most.

(Pictured above: Sarah and her children)

Here is Sarah’s story:

 

I found out about Neighborhood Parents Network’s New Moms Groups from a girlfriend just before the birth of my first son in 2007, and it became my lifeline in the early days of parenting. I underestimated the value of having friends who have babies who are at the same age and stage as your own. Even though everyone has unique experiences and babies who go through different things, you relate on a level that no one else around you is experiencing. My New Moms Group met once a week, sometimes more. Sometimes it was the whole group, sometimes not. It was always whoever could make it and we all understood that.

Being a new mom can feel overwhelming, and it was nice to know that this was a group that wouldn’t care if I had showered that day or if my baby was still wearing his pajamas. Just showing up was a huge accomplishment! We shared the fun stuff, we shared the hard stuff, we shared our frustrations and the things we loved, and we supported each other. We talked about what worked and what didn’t work with our babies and which pediatricians we recommended, what classes people were taking, who had read what, who was trying what. Everyone had different ideas and you could take or leave whatever information you wanted to without judgment. 

Soon we had first birthdays, we were going out at night as mom friends, our husbands met each other, people had second babies and third babies, and we all still kept on with our friendships. It has been 10 years since those early days, and in the last month alone I have gone to a dinner party with two of my NPN friends and our spouses, I have gone for lunch with third mom from the New Moms Group, and have run into another while out running errands and we’ve made plans to get the group together for drinks. These are people I truly enjoy seeing and with whom I am thrilled to be sharing life experiences.

Early parenting can be a rough go, or it can be super-easy—sometimes it just depends on the day. Having people along for the ride can help get you through your day, and sometimes you’ll be the one helping someone get through theirs.

(Pictured above: An NPN New Moms Group)

If you aren’t in a mom’s group yet I encourage you to join one. This parenting thing is hard but mom friends who can lend a listening ear, offer advice, and just be there during the hard times, are priceless. If you live in the Chicago area you should look into the new moms groups that Neighborhood Parents Network offers. Join NPN today to take advantage of all they offer new moms, including free playdates, childcare resources, online and in-person parenting workshops, and, of course, New Moms Groups. Now through Sept. 23, use promo code NPN15 to save $15 on a year-long NPN membership! Click here to learn more.

August 15, 2008

Yesterday I went to a “mom’s of infants” group and was so excited to meet other moms that had babies. I joined the group because I am trying to get out more often and I want Jacob to get used to being around other children. Not only did I leave my house to go to the group, I made an even bigger step by going alone (well obviously I brought Jacob). In the past I would never have went anywhere alone so I can see myself growing in that aspect.

Tomorrow I am going to an annual yard sale that helps raise money for the homeless. I’ve gone in the past and found wonderful things. I am going, list in hand, and have decided I’m only going to buy things that I am looking for. After this I am going home childless because my sister-in-law is taking Jacob overnight. (Thanks again Jen!)

I am looking forward to accomplishing as much, if not more, than I did last weekend (wow it seems like my last time alone was a lot longer than a week ago…). On the list of things to do between Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon: go to Target, go to Hobby Lobby, empty out car and wash it by hand, wash and put away all laundry, rearrange furniture in nursery, dye my hair, put together a shelving unit, setup my scrapbook area, finish baby announcements/thank you’s and send out, vacuum, put pictures in frames, find and print out a living will form online, empty contents of one file cabinet into a box to sort at a later date, compile week’s menu plan and grocery list, packup Jacob’s clothes, clean kitchen/wash bottles, rearrange my 300 list, and lastly blog about my 24 hours of accomplishments. (Congratulations if you read that entire list) I listed these things because I am hoping reporting on what I have done at the end of the time will push me to work harder. I probably won’t post tomorrow night because I want to spend as much time as possible working towards my goal but I might post an update, we’ll see.

Today’s Challenge: Choose one thing you have been putting off and do it! It will feel so good to cross it off your list of to-do’s.

August 12, 2008

I finally figured out what is going on with my whole job situation… I am now officially a stay at home mom! My maternity leave was set to end tomorrow but my new availability does not work for them so I had to quit. I am still unsure as to how I feel about this whole situation. I’ve wanted to be a SAHM for as long as I can remember. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I would occasionally say things like “a teacher” or “a writer” because you couldn’t study for a career as “a mom”. I never thought I would actually be able to be a stay at home mom and even throughout my pregnancy and since I had Jacob had assumed I would be returning to work. It will be hard to say goodbye to the wonderful people I’ve worked with and goodbye to the colorful conversations we had, but it is what I have to do.

Today I worked towards meeting my goal of becoming involved in “mom” groups. I went to a park play date with Jacob, Jennifer, and Camden. We got there early and nobody was there so we waited and waited and nobody showed up! I was disappointed because I did not get to meet anyone but proud of myself that I had made the effort to go. The old me would have stayed home. As for my other goals: today I finished a Nora Robert’s book and the crossword puzzle I had been working on. I started a sudoku book and tasted a snack item from another country that I had never had before. I also started working on cleaning/organizing my room. That is going to be a very long process. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to eating the papaya that S bought for me, spending a day at home with Jacob, reading the posts in my RSS feeder (481 and counting), and going through my books to see if there are any I’d like to donate.

Today’s Challenge: Make a list of your goals. It could be five or fifty or five hundred. What is it that you want to complete this month or this year or over the next 60 years? They can be little, they can be big. What would make you happy and fulfilled? Take as long as you need for this challenge. If you write down your goals there is a better chance that you will complete them. Please feel free to put a link to your post in the comment section. I’d love to read them :)