Posts Tagged ‘mom’s groups’

Finding Support in Moms Groups

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Finding Support in Moms GroupsIn today’s culture, having a baby can become an isolating factor for many mothers. Oftentimes, we are far from our family or used to being able to go our own ways. Motherhood changes your perspectives and your priorities. It resets your schedule and dominates your day-to-day calendar.

Finding others in similar situations can really relieve stress and restore your sanity! It can be hard to make new friends that are in the same life stage you are, especially if you don’t have anyone already in it.

Our society has a great many ways to help us find a new tribe and begin to forge new bonds of friendship. Meetup.com was the first place I began to look when I found myself with a new little one and no close friends nearby with little ones themselves. I tried a few different groups before I found one I clicked with.

It took courage to go to a few meetings, not knowing anyone and not being super outgoing and willing to insert myself into conversations. But babies are great ice breakers. After a few times, my son gravitated to a few of the same kids and I found myself being easily drawn into those mothers’ conversations.

Facebook has a plethora of groups these days, and many times can be a great place to find other mothers that have similar interests and build your new community. Whether it’s an interest like fitness or a geographical location, pick a few that appeal to you and try them out. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!

La Leche League or local library story times are other great places to begin to branch out and meeting new mamas and their little ones. These are free and often can be found in the evenings and weekends so working families can get in on the fun, too.

Building your community takes time and effort. Stick with it and keep going when you find a group you love. Let your little one help you break the ice with new friends and, in your turn, welcome those new mamas when you see them. Each of us needs each other.

TaiLeah Madill is mama to three and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She is passionate about volunteering with her local babywearing group and helping other families enjoy the benefits of wearing their little ones. 

When Adding a Baby Means Losing Friends

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

When adding a baby means losing friendsSome women are lucky enough to be pregnant at the same time as a close friend, sister-in-law, cousin or sibling. But sometimes, you may be the only person you know with kids. Having a baby catapults you into another world, and sometimes not everyone makes the leap with you.

Immediately after you have a baby, most women are in a position they are not used to being in. After being the one who is always there for their friends and family, they are suddenly in need to help—lots of help. You may need someone to come and hold the baby just so you can take a shower. Your house might be a total wreck, which can be hard if you’ve taken a lot of pride in having a neat home. You may find yourself eating out a lot because you can’t manage to get through the grocery store with that tiny baby.  If you worked before baby, you had a whole network of people you saw every day. You had tons of stimulation, things to talk about, and things to do. Now, you may feel like the new baby is your whole world and that he or she is all you talk about. And while that’s as it should be when you’re a new mom, some of your friends, coworkers, and family may not understand.

This transition can affect your immediate family, too. Some dads have time off available to use right after the birth of a new baby, or they may be able to take Paternity leave or FMLA to spend time at home. Many dads don’t have this option. If you are having trouble communicating with your partner or your relationship just doesn’t seem to be adjusting to parenthood, check out marriage counseling. You don’t have to be on the verge of divorce to get counseling—having a baby changes your relationship and how you relate to each other. It’s totally normal to get help in finding your new happy place as a family.

Keep in mind that people have a variety of reasons for laying low after the birth of a new baby. Friends who are having fertility issues may have a very hard time being around a new mom. Often, fertility doctors advise patients to avoid these situations because of the emotional stress it causes them, so give your friends the benefit of the doubt in case this just hasn’t been something they felt comfortable sharing with you.

Other friends—and sometimes family–may resent the fact that you don’t have all that extra emotional energy to support them anymore. You can tell this is the case if they get annoyed or angry that you aren’t available for them, if they don’t seem at all interested in you or the baby, or if they just seem to disappear after it’s obvious that you are busy with your new addition. You should never feel guilty about putting your family or your baby first. It’s important to have me-time and time with your friends, but it’s not always possible right at the beginning. Having a new baby is an intense transition from your old life, and becoming a parent will absolutely change you and how you look at the world.

If your friends are concerned about you, or you feel like you are withdrawing from things you used to enjoy or people you used to enjoy being around, research post-partum depression or take an online assessment, and ask those closest to you if they are concerned about you. Depression closes you off from others and can make you feel very alone even when you are surrounded by people who love and care for you.

Some relationships won’t be able to survive this transition to motherhood, and that’s OK. Part of this transition includes making new friends and reconnecting with old friends who have also become moms and understand what it feels like to be home all day with an infant, or how heartbreaking it is to leave your baby while you work and provide for your family. Motherhood is full of hard choices, and it’s great to know other moms who understand what it’s like to make those choices every day.

Facebook, your local birth center or cloth diaper shop, La Leche League, MOPS, and your local library are all great places to meet other new moms in your area. Many birth centers have mom groups available for moms with newborns who need support and resources, even if you didn’t birth there. The Badass Breastfeeder also has a Facebook group where you can find your local “mama tribe” of moms who are looking for support and friendship.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls. She lives and writes in Queensbury, New York. 

Baby’s First Play Date

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Baby's FIrst Play DateWhen my daughter was 2 months old, we moved 6 hours away from our family and a whopping 15 hours from our previous home. I was lonely. My husband worked all day, and I was home with this little human. By the time my daughter was 5 or 6 months old, I had made a friend or two. One friend I made had a daughter only a week younger than mine. I was ecstatic for my first play date, but I was also nervous. Here are a few things I learned:

Tip #1: Be yourself!

I felt like I was going for a job interview. I remember analyzing my wardrobe and what my daughter was wearing, too. We met at Starbucks first. I sat at a table nervous as can be. After Starbucks, my new friend and I went to a local YMCA and walked on the walking trail with our little ones. It was so refreshing to meet another mom around my age with a little girl, too! If I could go back, I would not be nervous. While you will be watching your baby, you are still going to be interacting with the other momma. Be yourself. Share your interests. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn about a potential new friend.

Tip #2: Don’t stress if baby isn’t as excited as you are.

On my first play date, we went on a pretty long walk. I had prepared and packed my diaper bag with everything I could think of. Of course, somewhere along this joyful walk, my daughter got a little cranky. She was still napping twice a day, and it was getting close to naptime. It’s okay if your baby cries. It’s okay if you have a cranky baby. It’s okay if you have a diaper explosion, or have to nurse your baby in front of someone you just met. You can’t control baby’s emotions. Just take care of your baby and try to enjoy yourself.

Tip #3: Plan activities fun for you and baby.

The first play dates my daughter Johanna and I went on were mostly just walks with my new friend. We sometimes met at Starbucks, which was nice for us. These days, we go on play dates often. We like to go to breakfast. The babies get to “color” at the table while we chat. Play dates at a friend’s house are the easiest. Create a safe baby area where the babies can explore each other, as well as the toys available. Have coffee and cookies for the moms.

Your baby may be small, but he or she can still make friends. You can too along the way. I am so glad I went on my first play date. The friend I made that day is still a good friend and our daughters have been on play dates together now for almost 10 months.

Karyn is a mom of 1 and 1 on-the-way who loves play dates with free cookies for her and free entertainment for her daughter.