You did it! You became a mom! Congratulations! Whether your journey to motherhood was long or short, easy or hard, you gave birth or adopted, it's about to get real. The beginning of motherhood is an exhausting stupor of changing diapers, trying to keep a baby fed while keeping yourself awake, and wondering if you're already messing everything up.
Don't worry, you're not. Once your baby is a bit older, you'll either head back to work much too soon or you'll find yourself wondering what the heck you're going to do with a baby all day.
READ MORE: No Mom Is An Island: Support Groups
If you fall into the latter category, you may be considering joining the often ridiculed and sometimes feared mom group. After all, it's important to socialize your baby...and yourself. Really, it is. As a stay at home parent, it's surprising how lonely it can feel even if you're never really alone. Human interaction and conversation is key to good mental health and healthy parenting. Getting out and meeting people who are going through the same thing as you is generally a good thing.
So, really, why not try and join a mom group? You may love it!
Still, it's important to note that these parent/child groups aren't for everyone and that's ok. Some moms will have zero desire to pal around at the park with a bunch of women they barely know only because they gave birth around the same time. Which is understandable when you think about it.
Most mid-size cities should have a handful of groups that can be easily found with an easy Google search or through your church or at your local library. Some may cost a small membership fee to join but there should be many free options as well. You can expect park playdates, local field trips, and storytimes. Some groups, like MOPS, offers free childcare as an extra added incentive to attend. Moms do a fun activity while the kids are away and of course, engage in some mom-versation.
If any of those don't sound like your style, look around for more specific activity groups. There's a mom group for everything: religious, athletic, first-time moms, experienced moms, natural moms, and basically any kind of mom you can think of.
Once you take the plunge and get to a group, you may feel like you're getting ready for a blind date. Making friends as a mom is kind of like dating. It all begins with awkward conversation and getting to know you questions. The kids will play and the moms will chat. It may feel like it lasts forever or it's over all too soon. You'll know fairly quickly if the group is for you or not, but we recommend going at least twice to make a fair decision.
Best case scenario? You meet your mom tribe. The meetings of your group become something to look forward to every week. You child builds some connections and learns how to socialize with other children close to their age.
Worst case scenario? You waste the morning meeting a bunch of women who didn't float your boat. If you're especially unlucky to meet moms who never moved past high school, move right on past them. Likely, it'll hit somewhere in between. In your group, you'll realize how different some people are from you and how judgemental life can get. The variety of parents you can meet will make you a more well-rounded person, and more tolerant of others. That's somewhere we can all grow.
Becoming a member of mom group certainly isn't for everyone. If you don't like mundane talk revolving around kids and complaining about the perils of motherhood, don't do it. But if you're a little bit lonely, and even if you're really shy, check it out.
Did you ever join a mom group in your early mothering years? Or are you in one now? What do you think? What was your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below!