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Why You Should Join a Mommy Group

This article was originally published on Red Tricycle.

I swore I would never join a mommy group. After all, I am an intelligent woman with many other interests outside of being a mother and I wasn’t going to define myself by this new role I was about to take on. To make things worse, it had been insinuated to me that joining the right mommy group on the west side was very important. And that I should join while I was still in the first trimester of my pregnancy so I would get in. Gag.

Fast forward 18 months and I’m still going strong with our weekly mommy group that I signed up for after my daughter was born and it is one of the things I look forward to most in our week.

Here are some of the reasons that I became a convert...

1. You need to get out of the house

​A couple weeks after the baby was born and my husband went back to work, I had the sudden thought “Farts. WHAT am I going to do all day?!” Turns out that even if you want to get out, the first few trips out of the house with your newborn are shockingly fraught with anxiety. Did I buckle her in right? Do I take her out of the car seat or leave her in? Should I bring the stroller? What if she needs to be fed while I’m driving? What if she stops breathing while she’s in the backseat? What if she cries? What if I have to feed her in public?

It takes practice to get into a rhythm where you feel confident in getting out of the house. I ended up begrudgingly signing up for a Mommy & Me class simply because I got bored being at home all day. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a mommy & me class is a perfect place to set as a goal to get to in those early days. Everyone has their boobies and bottles out feeding those babies, changing diapers, shushing, rocking and bouncing on balls.

2. You have feelings. So many feelings

Turns out that having a child come out of your body and then having this helpless little thing depend on you to keep them alive nearly every minute of the day can be a bit life changing. It’s often hard to know how to feel about this change to your life, your sleep, your marriage, your career and your general hygiene. And the hormones. Oh the hormones. Sometimes it feels good to just talk it out, listen and learn that there are other people going through the same struggles.

3. You don’t know what you don’t know

Most of us have great googling skills when things go awry (“how to stop diaper blowouts”, “newborn won’t stop crying”) but the internet has its limits when it comes to providing information at the exact right time in our babies’ lives. I really never thought about how to foster good self-esteem, how complicated introducing foods can be, that baby masturbation is normal (omg!) and how important self-care can be as a mother. My class has been a treasure trove of amazing parenting info to keep me sane.

4. Sometimes being a mom sucks

It can be hard. Kids cry a lot, sometimes won’t eat, don’t sleep, vomit on you, smash your phone in the driveway and will generally surprise you with the new and unique ways they can confound you. We are all equally confused by our kids. There is something oddly soothing in knowing that we are all struggling and there are other people out there having the same problems as you. Sometimes worse. And hearing about how much worse it can be will always make you feel a bit better.

5. You might make some friends

I told myself “I already have enough friends, I don’t need any more” before becoming a mom. Even if you have a lot of friends with kids, there is something special about making friends with moms whose kids are the exact same age as yours.

Also, it turns out that when you sign up for a class last-minute, you get to meet a bunch of other DGAF moms who aren’t hung up on hanging in the right social circles either. These moms I’ve become friends with have been an amazing addition to my life and I genuinely would be a lot less sane without them.

Whether you’re pregnant, just had a baby or have a toddler, it’s worth checking out some of the Mommy & Me classes on the west side. You never know how much you might like it!

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