We cannot emphasize enough the importance of hanging out with other women who are doing what you’re doing. Swaddling, nursing, trying out bottles, using front carriers, swings – these are some of the things you’ll discuss. But there are also the sensitive issues of body image, careers, and relationships.
It’s quite likely that you and your partner are experiencing parenting a little differently. Finding other women with whom you can share your experiences is important. Furthermore, it is an excellent motivator to get you out of the house.
Mom’s group outings can give some structure to your week. You will make a commitment to meet up on Tuesday morning at 10 am and by gosh, you better be there, no matter how many times you have to change your shirt before you leave the house. Your challenge this week is to find a group to attend.
We each were in a new mother’s support group that met with a facilitator that helped guide us through group discussions. If you don’t have a facilitator, here is our simple suggestion for a format:
- Meet twice a week. One day is more focused on talking, and might take place at someone’s house or a picnic area. The other day is an outing. Take turns organizing the outing.
- At the beginning of your discussion gathering, go around the circle and let each person tell one “high” and one “low” for the week.
- Connect online to facilitate discussion throughout the week.
- Vary your outings. Use this website to inspire you to try new things together.
Some people to ask about mom’s groups: your childbirth educator, a lactation consultant, a church or synagogue, a prenatal yoga class instructor. Or, visit an online resource for finding moms in your area, like MeetUp.com.
We know that at this point, any other women you see walking around with a stroller looks like a “real mother,” but believe us– everyone is learning and struggling on the job. Being a new mom is like being a freshman in college. The people who live on your hall are likely to become your best friends, even if you had little in common to begin with.
Find some strangers whose babies were born the same month as yours and turn them into friends, or at least companions. Tell your birth stories in all the gory details, and you’ll have nothing left to hide from these people. This is our third weekly challenge. If you complete this challenge, give yourself a gold star and please let us know how it goes.