Monday, August 5, 2013

Mommy Monday: Tips on Connecting with Other Mothers While Connecting Kids in a Social Environment

When I became a mother for the first time, I was also living in a new state, in a town where I didn't know a soul. I wasn't going back to work anytime soon, and I hadn't found a church to attend regularly, so I didn't have those outlets to meet people quite yet. I knew it was important for me to find creative ways to build relationships with other women and mothers, because I knew if I didn't put in the work, I would be all alone, sitting in my house with my new baby, with little support and no one to talk to in person or relate to. That was a horribly lonely thought, and a place I didn't want to be right when I became a new mother. With all the hormones and emotions that naturally come with caring for a new child, I didn't want to add 'has no friends and nowhere to go' to the list. Eek!

So... I set out, determined to find some kind of group, moms club or meetup in my area to get involved with. Thankfully, I found several options near me, several of which I tried to join before I even had my son, just so I would have some familiar faces and relationships to start building on. By the time I had my son, I felt I had a few places to go where I could continue getting to know people, as well as several options for mommy groups to participate in to get out of the house.

After I had my son, I realized through talking with other new moms, that this is a common 'problem'. Becoming a new mother makes you not only want to keep the friends you already have (of course), but it makes you yearn for new relationships with moms able to relate to where you are currently at in this new stage of life. In this blog post, I want to list some suggestions on how to connect with other mothers in your area. It's so important and SO refreshing. Not just for you as the mommy, but as your child reaches each new stage, it's also important for them to have the social aspect of being around other children and learning to adapt in new environments.

These suggestions are things I found that worked for me, as well as some groups I've learned about that I would have joined if I had one near me. I hope you live in a town that offers some options for you to choose from. Also, if you  have any tips or ideas to offer that I haven't listed, please add them to the comment section so other mommies can have more things to think about. Let's help each other out!

* Meetup.com : This website allows you to search by your town or zip code for meet ups in your area. You can customize your search preferences to be geared toward just mom/baby related meet ups. For example, Moms with Wee Ones is one I've seen near me. Preschool age and under typically, but each group is different.

* Search church websites : Many churches have moms groups or women's groups. The church I attend offers a weekly Mommy and Me meetup in one of the children's rooms of the church. It's casual and you just hang out with other moms while the kids are free to play. I also found another church in my area that has a weekly moms group for women of all ages, and they offer free childcare in one of the children's rooms. I've attended that one on and off since Landon was 8 weeks old (he's almost 2 now). Most churches do not 'require' you to be a part of that particular church in order to attend a group like this. I love that!

* See if you have a Stroller Strides class near you. This is a great group to get healthy and fit after having your baby. You work out with other mommies, and you bring your child in their stroller and include them in your workouts! Here's a link to their website where you can search to see if there's one in your area: http://fit4mom.com

- Fit 4 Mom is the parent company for Stroller Strides, Body Back and Fit 4 Baby classes. Choose whichever if right for you!

* Ask your child's pediatrician if they know of any local moms clubs/groups. They will often keep flyers or pamphlets in the office to give to moms who ask. This is how I found out about the Moms Club of Albany; my town's moms club that has several meetups per week, as well as fun Moms Night Out events and All Age Play outings. They do field trips, days at the park, trips to our local water fountain where kids can splash and play, etc. Check to see if your area has a group like this.

- Also, when you have your baby, often times the hospital will include information on any moms groups offered through the hospital/ medical group that you can attend right after having your baby. This is a great way to connect with moms going through the same stage as you, and fun to meet moms with babies the same age as yours!

* Indoor Play Places / Indoor Park : During the winter months, it can be more challenging to find things to do that get you and your child(ren) out of the house and socializing. I've found many places offer indoor play opportunities. For example, in my town the Boys and Girls Club offers their large indoor gym  3x per week for the Albany Indoor Park. There are a TON of toys, mats, activities, etc. for kids Kindergarten and under. Your area may have one with a wider age range, so check out Indoor Park on Google for your area maybe. These often come with a small fee, but in my opinion, it can be worth it to have a guaranteed fun place to take your child, where they get out their energy and you can watch them play while chatting with other moms too.
- I also found a local church that offers their church gym twice a week to community members with children. They have a lot of the same kind of toys and things for them to do. This one is free.

* Facebook Group Pages : This is a great way to find local moms groups and play dates. Type in the name of your town in the search bar, with key words like "moms group", "play date", etc. If you don't see anything, consider starting your own! There are certainly other moms out there who are looking and may not have many options. You could start one easily! :)

* Craigslist : This site certainly can have it's cons, but if you're careful, it can be a great resource as well. I actually found a play date group through the 'activities' portion. I found a post from another mom that was new to my area and was using Craigslist to find out if there were any groups she could attend or play dates to take her son to. I reached out to her, and long story short, she had gathered about 6 other moms and created a meet up. I would suggest being cautious when looking for meetups on Craigslist. But there can be some good options on there at times.

* Park and Recreations Department of your town: You can get online and go to your town's Parks and Recs site. This often can be a great resource for finding family-friendly events in your area, as well as specific groups and classes you can attend. I signed up for a Live and Learn with Your Toddler class when Landon was about 12-14 months old. It was a slightly more structured environment, where moms brought their toddlers to a classroom of a local school or the library, and we did crafts, ate snacks, sang songs, read books, played games and spent time outside.  They had a routine we followed, and it was a good environment for young children to start learning to share and do something as a class.

I can't think of anything else at the moment, but may add to this list through time. Again, if you have any suggestions, please add to the comment section so other moms can see! :)



2 comments:

  1. Been totally hooked on your blog:)
    New blog stalker here ^_^

    ReplyDelete