Being in a mommy group has been a great source of knowledge on parenting strategies and advice for us! My mommy group is made up of some the best woman/mommies that I know and I feel so lucky to be a part of it all. Spending time with all of them and their babies, I’ve come to realize that all babies are different. Everyone struggles a little bit or a lot depending on their situations, but not one of them is perfect.
Take for instance Huntley – she is a great eater, a good sleeper, but has a moment in her day usually around 5-7:30 p.m. (Yes, this includes dinner) that she whines constantly, throws tantrums, refuses to let you do anything other than hold her or stop her from wrecking the house. When I mean wrecking the house I mean it – breaking furniture, opening cabinets and doors, pulling out and throwing anything and everything… No movie, tv show, or toy will keep her occupied during this time. And trust me, you don’t see this part of her day, because if you were here she wouldn’t act this way…she loves company to entertain her. Tanner and I have been working hard on setting a good routine with her during this time, but like others, we’re not perfect and are still struggling a bit. I’ve learned that she is always in a better mood if I take her out to the park or on a play date beforehand but this isn’t always something I can do every day. Luckily, these past few days, actually four of the five week days, I was able to take her out either to the park or to play with friends. Also being able to bond with other mommies that get/know your child is another plus in my book!
Having to break our struggles with tantrums and constant whining during our never-ending witching hours, I have learned how important it is for us to have our mommy group who’ve now become some of our best friends ever! Here are my top five reasons to join a playgroup:
1. Baby/Infant Social Development – Huntley has been a part of her playgroup since 3/4 weeks old and if I knew about playgroups beforehand, I would totally have joined even while I was expecting! She is one of the most social, interactive, confident babies I know, granted she is mine after all and I’m a little bias, but I’ve got a lot to thank our playgroup for her fun and outgoing personality! I believe that being involved and interacting in her playgroup has shown her a world that expands farther than her own home and the people she calls family. Through our playgroup Huntley is able to to mimic and learn through “parallel play” with her peers older and younger than herself. She is constantly wanting to do the things that her fellow peers are doing and challenges herself to learn things that we’ve never taught her. Not to be a bragging mama, but my daughter has always been a little ahead of herself in the milestone department and I would like to credit her playgroup alongside wanting to everything cousin Kaitlyn does for this anomaly. For more insight on development read this 🙂
2. A Source of Support and Encouragement – There are many things that you don’t see or hear about from other parents in person or through social media; things that they are ashamed of, things that don’t feel are beneficial to share, and things that they struggle with their own children. However in a close playgroup that you remain active with, you’ll find that there are so many parents just like you! I guess, unless you have a “perfect” child or you’re just the “perfect parent” but c’mon who are you kidding?! There have been many of times that I had questioned how I would be as a mom before I was even pregnant. I’ve learned that there is no perfect way to do anything/everything whether it be breastfeeding/feeding, sleep-training, potty training, etc. Every baby is different and learns and reacts differently to different methods. And luckily I have my mommy group to give advice, encouragement when I need it, and all the support that I don’t get from my family and other friends. Sleep training was an important task for us and a major accomplishment that I have our playgroup to thank for! I learned and tried all different kinds of strategies and luckily found one that works for us! More about that in another post. All in all, I know that I’ll always have a special connection with the mommies in our playgroup and can’t wait to see how our relationships develop even more as our kids grow up together!
3. The Playgroup Bond (and quite possibly ‘lifelong’ friends’ for your babe) – Essentially our children will, as I’ve mentioned, grow up together! Or at least we hope this! These kids will know each other since baby-hood and so on. These mothers will know their children’s friends and personalities as they blossom into little adults. And these kids will have best friends to grow up with outside their own schools, families, and community. I learned through a friend, quite recently, that she had a playgroup as a child. She is now 27 years old and still remain in close contact with many of those friends in her group and her mother is still friends with her mommy group. I just love that and really hope that my girls and I will have that same continued bond with our group!
4. They Don’t Judge (or at least not to your face) – Bumps, bruises, blood, etc. It’s not wanted for our children, but it happens more than you think, even to the best of us! If you find the right group for you, you will understand what I mean about mommies that don’t judge. I’ll go over some of my most mortifying experiences in another post once I get the courage to share with you, but for now, I am tremendously thankful for my mommy group friends that are always there to laugh about my unfortunate experiences instead of shunning me from the group and dubbing me “worst mom of the year” for those accidents.
5. A Reason to Get Dressed (and get out of the house! or at least for stay-at-home mommies) – If it weren’t for my mommy group/playgroup (and my sister) I would probably end up staying home and looking like crap all day, every day! Having found a group that is so continuously on top of it, providing group activities (almost every day of the week) gives us something to do and something to look forward to! And not to mention, there are always opportunities to create activities for just mommies to, haven’t you heard of ‘mom’s night out’?
and an alternate #5
5. Working Moms need friends outside of work and family life too! – If you’re a working mom, more power to you! I commend you for taking care of your babes on a level that us non-working moms probably don’t understand. Sure it can be difficult for us with our long, constant, ‘never-ending’ jobs, but you come home and might try to do it all! We might be bitter sometimes about you getting some time away from your kiddos and even wonder how you manage to plan birthday parties better than we do… but being a part of a playgroup is amazing, that is if you could muster up some time for it. I’m sure there are a some amazing mama playgroups out there for working moms that would love to have interactions with other working moms and babies with working moms. And who knows, there might be a working mama network out there that I just never knew about.