If mothers groups had an instruction manual

Like kids, mothers groups don’t come with an instruction manual. Maybe they should.  

coffee-cup-espresso-colorful-large

Be real. These are the women who are going through the same things you are. Just be honest with each other. If your baby isn’t sleeping through and you are one night away from losing it, tell them. Someone will be having the same experience you are. Someone might also have a baby that sleeps 12 hours straight, but they will be having their own struggles. I honestly don’t think anybody finds early motherhood a complete breeze.

Talk about things other than your kids. Okay, so they are going to be a pretty big topic of conversation but there is so much more to chat about.

Do not compare. This is a bit tricky – when you are with a group of babies the same age as your own, of course you will fret if your child seems behind. But it helps to remember that the normal range of development for little children is really, really broad. Your baby will catch up.

Own your birth story. It will be amongst the first things you share. I was always slightly embarrassed that I had no dramatic and gory tale to tell. And I know others who were slightly ashamed of having “popped the top”. What’s the point of being ashamed about something that resulted in your beautiful baby?

Make it easy. Do whatever makes sense. Fortnightly catch ups in a set park can be a good way to go. Don’t go places where you are continually going to be uncomfortable with little children. Mothers groups tend to follow this trajectory – meetings in coffee shops with babes under six months, then onto people’s homes when the crawling starts, then out of the houses and into (fenced) parks when the walking happens.

Be interested in children other than your own. Go ahead and tell you friends all the wonderful things about your child. They understand. Just remember it’s a two way street.

Do not pretend. There is no point adding to pressure. Sure, clean your house to perfection before hosting mothers group, but please, please don’t pretend that it always looks that way (unless it really does – then kudos to you). See point one.

Try not to whinge (too much) about partners. It’s tempting but it’s a bit toxic I think.

Check in. There are plenty of reasons why someone might not make it to mothers group. But I think it’s nice to check in and just make sure your friends are okay. It can be easy to get lost when your baby is small.

Offer help. This is your village. Offer help where you can.

Accept help. Don’t be too proud. We are strongest when we can lean on each other.

Be realistic. With your time. With your expectations on other people’s time. And the fact mothers groups as a weekly thing have a limited lifespan.

Let the dads in. There was a short period of time where my husband was the stay at home carer whilst I headed back to work. He headed off to mothers group just as I did and was welcomed with open arms.

Most of all: FIND ONE. My mothers group(s) were one of my biggest support systems when I had my first baby. They remain a source of support and friendship. I think it’s so important to connect with mothers of babies the same age. If your local health clinic doesn’t run mothers groups, try to form one with friends, online due-in groups, mothers you regularly see in the park or people you meet in post-natal exercise classes. There will be other mothers around you with children the same age. If you live in a remote place where that isn’t the case – find support online. Sometimes you have to build your own village.

Arrow 2

What would you add to a mothers group manual?

10 thoughts on “If mothers groups had an instruction manual

  1. Hugzilla says:

    Brilliant!! I also love that you added the point about the online mother’s group because that is exactly what I did. There are around 40 of us from all around the country and I can’t even say how much it has enriched my life. We’ve all helped each other out so much – not just offering support online, but in person too. Come to think of it…. One of the girls came and gave my son and I a lift home yesterday when my car broke down on the highway!

  2. Shari from GoodFoodWeek says:

    A nice little post here. I think I’d add that you don’t have to be best friends with everyone in your Mothers Group – just like you wouldn’t be best friends with everyone in your workplace or at school. Stronger bonds may form and some Mums might brake off and that’s okay. As your parenting styles evolve your Mummy friends will evolve too.
    Shari from GoodFoodWeek recently posted…Life: A very unhenny 1950’s affairMy Profile

    • Robyna says:

      Exactly! It’s not realistic to click with everyone just because you happen to be at the same stage with your kids – but in a group of ten or so women, you are bound to find at least one that you connect with.

  3. Hannah says:

    Love this. I live in a tiny town and there was no mother’s group. I felt completely lost. Found some online groups to help and then started going to playgroup when the boys (twins) were older. It’s been a lifesaver for me and great for them to play with other kids. And luckily, it’s a brilliant bunch of mums who don’t judge, help each other out and listen.

  4. Jasmine says:

    Yes to all of the above! I would have loved an online group when I had our first as we lived remote & I really had no idea! That said we survived well!
    Upon returning to the big smoke we joined a couple of playgroups, & constant complaining about partners really took the shine off one for me. Ouch, I would return home traumatised.
    Then I found a couple of ladies who loved their husbands (yeay!) & we would hang out, we are still good mates today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge