Posts Tagged ‘MOPS’

Making Mom Friends

Friday, September 9th, 2016

making mom friends

At some point when my older daughter was around four months old, I began to feel more human again. I was coming out of the fog of having a newborn.  Unfortunately, this is when the loneliness set in. I was a new stay-at-home mom. Many of my friends from high school and college had older kids.  My friends in my current city did not have children yet, and they didn’t understand why I gave up a job I loved to stay home.  I felt like I no longer fit in anywhere.

One morning, I brought my daughter in to meet my husband’s coworkers, and an older woman asked how I was transitioning to being home.  Without waiting for me to answer, she said something to me that has stuck with me.

“Don’t be afraid.  Get out and do stuff.  Make the first move, ask the other mom to get a cup of coffee.  She’s just as scared and lonely as you are.”

She then told me how lonely she was at first being a stay-at-home mom.  Like me, she worked a while before having kids and took a break while they were little.  She also said that some of the moms she met when her oldest was a baby are still her best friends even though their kids were grown up.  It seemed like she knew exactly what I needed to hear that morning.

I took her advice to heart and began looking for mommy and me classes and mom meet ups to do. I used meetup.com and found a mom’s knitting group to go to.  I went to baby story time. I joined MOPS.  And I took the plunge and began asking some of the other moms to get a cup of coffee or lunch after the classes or meet ups.  Some of the moms I clicked with, and some I didn’t. It almost felt like I was dating again, only this time I was looking for new friends.

I’ve lost touch with some of the moms I met that first year, and now with a three-year-old and an almost one-year-old, I don’t have as much time to do all the classes and groups as I used to. I have become close friends with a few of the moms I met, too.  And I always remember the advice I received from my husband’s coworker whenever I am in a new mom group situation.

Becky Nagel is a stay-at-home mom from Denver, CO to two girls, 3 years and 11 months old, who enjoys cooking, running, and hiking.

Do We Need Playdates?

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

DO WE NEED PLAYDATESPlaydates. A chance to get out of the house and talk to adults for some parents, and perhaps an awkward or uncomfortable experience for others. If you’re in the first group, it can be pretty easy to find get-togethers for your toddler. Meetup.com, local mom clubs (including fitness clubs like Moms RUN This Town or Stroller Warriors) or even the old fashioned way, chatting up people at the park, are some of the different ways to socialize your toddler (and you).

Depending on where you live though, if you are a working parent or a stay-at-home dad the playdate scene might be a little hard to break into. My friend was a stay-at-home dad and said women consistently assumed he was looking for dates, not playdates, and our local mom club wouldn’t accept dads or moms that worked more than part-time. He was persistent–I think he really wanted adults to talk to, and ended up finding some good matches for his family.

If you find yourself in the latter group though where you don’t particularly like attending playgroups, perhaps because you are an introvert or are very busy, it can be worrisome to think your toddler is missing out somehow because he’s not cruising the local playdate scene. Do toddlers need socialization via playdate or other organized activity?

Between the ages of one and two to three, children engage in parallel play, where they aren’t interacting directly with their peers (other than to steal toys or knock each other over). You may have seen your own toddler sit side-by-side with another child and not really see them interact like you would see with older children.

At this age, I think playgroups are perhaps more socially beneficial to the parent than the child. However, while the children may not be actively engaged with each other, they are still watching each other and starting to learn through observation about social behavior.

If you want your toddler to get have some play time with other kids, but aren’t or can’t do playdates, you can work around it. If you hire a babysitter, consider hiring one with a child near your toddler’s age that will come along. If you have a gym membership, the gym’s childcare facility may be a place for toddler socialization as well. MOPS or Mothers Day Out are also potential options. As your toddler gets older and more interested in playing with others, you might consider enrolling her in preschool as well.

Meaghan Howard is a mother to two young boys whose sanity was saved once upon a time by her local MOPS chapter.

Amazing Moms: Christina

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Most women know a few moms who just amaze them. For me, I have several ladies who I look up to, admire, and turn to for advice. One of these ladies is my dear Christina. I have known Christina for just over two years, and the more I learn about this mom, the more I find her amazing.

Christina has two small children who are 3 and 6 months. I always thought she mothered with great composure, but with the arrival of her sweet baby girl, I am continued to be amazed. She mothers with patience, love, and extreme goodness. When her kids are not listening, she maintains her composure and guides them. I have never seen her lose her cool with her kids. Her family isn’t near-by, and her husband works very long hours. His job involves putting himself in danger to protect others, but she is strong and courageous alongside his career.

amazing moms

Giving Back

Christina is always there to help. When I had my son Levi, she was at my house, entertaining my other child outside so I could get some alone time with my newborn inside my house. She brought me food. She stopped at Starbucks on her way, because she knows I need my coffee. If I ever have a problem, she is right there to help, listen, and keep me in line. Christina volunteers at her local church with the children. She nurtures, guides, and loves them. She is also a member of my local MOPS group. She has a willing spirit and often helps with activities and whatever the needs are of our group. She has volunteered to take meals to new moms, even though they didn’t live near-by.

Amazing Talent

As a mom, I often forget I have talents and hobbies. Christina has never lost sight of her creative juices. She has a very successful Etsy shop where she does graphic design. Her work takes time, but she is always on time with her orders. She creates prints, invitations, and other paper goods with creativity and beauty. Christina uses her gifts for good. I admire that she doesn’t lose sight of herself as a person, even though her days are spent in the tasks of a stay-at-home mom.

My friend Christina is just amazing. She is always a listening ear. She puts herself out there to make new friends at our local MOPS group. If anyone is in need, she would give up her home to help out. She is out there making a difference for moms like me who just need encouraged. I am lucky to call her friend. Her kids are blessed to call her mom.

Karyn Meyerhoff lives and writes in Northeast Indiana where she knows a few amazing moms.

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. 

Finding Mom Support

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Finding Mom SupportI became a mom in August 2012. My husband was in the Navy. We lived in Southern Georgia, and I had never been around babies. Fast-forward two months later: We move to Northern Indiana, 6 hours from any family or friends. My husband starts his new job, and I have a 2-month-old baby girl. It would be an understatement to say I needed mom support. A good friend once told me that finding other moms you can connect with was one of the most important parts of motherhood, and I have to say I agree.

Where to find mom support?

For me, the first support I found was in a local mom’s group called MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). I was fortunate that our realtor saw I needed some friends and invited me to her church to check out the group. Not only does this organization offer encouragement, it also offers free breakfast and free childcare. You can find groups in your community who meet weekly, monthly, or even bi-monthly.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, try to connect with your husband’s coworkers and their spouses. Check out websites like mommeetmom.com or Meetup.com. Facebook has helped me find many connections for support. Local groups have pages on Facebook where you can ask questions, meet other moms, and even plan play dates with other moms in your area.

Benefits of Mom Support

I think finding other moms to connect with and support you is a vital part of motherhood. It helps to go to those who have been through this journey before. The support of other moms can also help you maintain your sanity. I know I cherish the times I have with other moms. We may just sit and talk while our kids play or go for a long stroller walk while sipping Starbucks. However, the adult conversation does me a great deal of good. Other moms can be helpful when you have questions. From nursing to potty training, most moms can be helpful and share a funny story or two to make you feel at ease.

Remember that you ultimately are the mom of your children. Don’t ever let another mom make you feel that you are inadequate or not enough for your child. Look for moms and groups that will build you up and help you along your journey. Sharing your motherhood journey with others help you through the tough times and allows you to see you are a great mom. I am lucky enough that  I have two lifelong friends whose children are a week younger than my daughter. They encourage me, laugh at my stories, and wipe away any tears I have. That my friends, is support.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of one and one on the way in Northern Indiana. She loves being a mom, but she really needs the support of others.