I’ve been thinking recently about mothers groups and the growing trend of many new mums to either not go along at all or to drop off after just a couple of weeks. In my group of friends, I’m one of the few who still catches up frequently with my mothers group, and most of us still only have bubs or toddlers! Even our group of regulars is now about half the original group, but I love that I’ve got a handful of girls and a whatsapp group where we can organise to catchup at library story time, in the park, for a coffee or over dinner and a few bottles of wine!
I wonder if people view ‘mothers group’ with the stigma as one of those things your mum did back in the dark ages? Coincidentally, my mum joined a mothers group and 30+ years later still has dinner with those same ladies every few months! A few even became our very good friends as we were growing up and continue to be an extended part of our family.
Perhaps we feel like we’ve set up so much of our ‘social infrastructure’ by the time we have kids that we feel we don’t need or have room for any more friends or commitments. Even if this is the case, unless you’ve got some great friends who have babies within weeks of you, I guarantee there are going to be times that you feel desperately alone or frustrated or confused by whatever stage your bub happens to be going through. This is where mothers group really came into its own for me. We finished our organised sessions at the maternal health centre and decided to continue meeting at the same time each week in a local cafe. Oh, to have those days back again – when we could sit and drink coffee and chat with either a sleeping or feeding bub in your arms! These were the times when we really started to connect. It’s hard to imagine discussing intimate details about your birth, or how you and your partner are negotiating parenthood, or confessing you feel like a failure because your baby hardly sleeps with relative strangers. But I think it’s down to this unique time in your life when you feel quite vulnerable, and being connected with others who are in exactly the same situation makes it all just happen with ease.
Our babies are still only toddlers and yet the combination of work, life and family commitments and still-different sleep schedules mean we infrequently catch up with the little ones in tow. But it’s great to meet someone at the park for a play, or have that one friend you go for a regular morning walk and coffee with – because we live close by and our kids wake and eat at the same time. Some of my friends started having babies a year or two before me, and others are only just starting now. The girls in my mothers group have been amazing to go through ‘babyhood’ with, and amazing support to each other when any of us are dealing with sick and fussy toddlers. I genuinely hope that we continue our catchups (preferably with more wine!) over the years and keep being a great source of support for each other throughout future pregnancies, babies, and every other adventure that comes with being a parent.
I’d love to know whether you embraced your mothers group? Please leave a comment about your own experiences!