In those early weeks after Emmy was born, I had lots of time to catch up on daytime tv and became a Today, Martha Stewart, and soap opera addict. Not to mention I had plenty of time to read What to Expect The First Year cover to cover and I swear I spent hours reading in the BabyCenter forum. But there is only so much tv you can watch and so much you can read before it all just gets, well...old.
Being home all day with an infant was a change of pace. At least I no longer had to take it easy after being on medical leave from work since around May of that year. Emmy had been born at the end of August. Ironically, she was due the first day of school.
Where could I go with an infant? When she was a few months old, she was more likely to wail or need to be nursed while the children's librarian read and sang at storytime. I couldn't teach her to swim just yet. She wasn't old enough to hold a parachute or sing. And while I loved cuddling with her during the day and talking and reading to her, I needed some adult interaction. I was getting out of the house, but doing laps around the mall and park just weren't cutting it nor were my sessions at the gym (even though my body thanked me for all of the exercise). I wasn't the type to stop and casually chat with any moms who happened to be around beyond saying hello when our eyes would meet. Since I didn't want to lose my ability to hold an adult conversation without resorting to baby talk (and because I at times felt really alone) since I spent most of my days talking to Emmy, I had to do something.
After going on Meetup.com and looking for local groups to join, I found a MOMS group (part of MOMS Club International) in the area where I lived. There were several other mom groups on Meetup but I chose a group that was more specific to the area in which I lived and was part of a larger organization. I have never been one to join groups unless I knew someone in one. I had reached the point though where I needed to get out of the house. I needed someone who understood what it was to be home all day with an infant and wouldn't look twice at the spitup on my shoulder. I also wanted someone who understood why I was staying home (and loving doing so).
These women were there for the same reasons I was-to meet other moms and to introduce their children to other little ones who were their same age. The moms in the group were the ones who assured me repeatedly that all kids developed at their own pace when Emmy didn't talk until 18 months. Then, as predicted, she never stopped. They brought dinner when Madison was first born and we were learning how to coexist as a family of four. They shared their parenting knowledge. They became friends.
Where have I been for the last few weeks?
Giving back a small portion of what they have given me.
I have been setting up our new website, helping organize an Open House, and making up Welcome Packets for new members.
Now I can start to sit back just a little. The website is up and running (tweaked as much at it can be). The Open House (where we also worked with the local state police to do a car seat safety check at a local park) is now over.
I am breathing a sigh of relief but glad that we have gained new members, other moms like me who didn't know there was even a club for moms in the area. A club that was in fact a lifesaver. It has certainly saved us from boredom. We have attended themed playdates, playgroups, field trips to the zoo and other places in our community, holiday parties, meetings listening to speakers about various topics, and we have participated in community service projects. There have been annual banquets and moms nights out to without the kids.
I have made a connection not only with other moms but also with our community, something I can say (as embarrassing as it is to say) I did not have before since we had only moved into this area after we were married and were both working full-time and commuting an hour away. There was no time to develop roots here beyond making our house a home for our new family. That has since changed.
If you are interested in finding a local moms group to join, check your local papers for moms club activities or community bulletin boards. You can also search Meetup.com for mom clubs/groups. Another option is to check out the MOMS Club International site for more information about a chapter near you. Some questions to ask when looking for a moms group to join:
- Are they affiliated with a larger organization (a church or a national/international organization)?
- What kinds of activities do they offer?
- How many moms belong to the group?
- What area is served by the group (if it is a larger area then you may need to drive a bit farther for some events)?
- Is there a yearly fee to join?
- Are there membership requirements? (ie. Must moms attend a certain number events each month or year when they join?)