|[Image designed by Chinh Van]|
- It gets you out of the house. In the newborn phase, it is damn-near-impossible to even get a shower, let alone pack everything you need and coordinate getting baby to the car and somewhere else. But you have to eventually, and it gets easier with time. Meet with other Moms, take advantage of any breastfeeding support/teas/lunches your hospital offers - whatever you can do! Even beyond the newborn phase, you need to regularly get out of the house. Otherwise, you'll live in your nursing tanks and PJs.
- Much needed social time. Mommy meetups are the best. Being a Mom, especially a new one, is socially isolating. Frankly, you need some adult conversation or you'll go insane.
- Social interaction for the babies! Don't forget that your baby benefits from social gatherings, too! Whether it's sharing a game of stackable cups or just practicing tummy time together, your baby will probably enjoy playing with new friends. Plus, it's so damn cute to put them all together and take a picture. [See above - Caleb is the one screaming with his feet up in the air, of course].
- Stimulation and new environments for babies. Our meetups are usually at a mall, library or park - places that are full of new sights and rich sounds for babies to take in. I wonder if babies like people watching too?
- You can relate to other Moms about everything you're going through - they get it! Whether it's face-to-face contact or online, you need reassurance that you're not crazy. (Is it weird that I keep picking my baby's boogers? How long is a bottle of formula really good for? Why am I so emotional about stopping breastfeeding?)
- Swap tips and product suggestions. I've learned so much from other Moms about which toys and babygear are worth it and which aren't. I like to think it will prevent me from buying useless crap and saves me money in the long run. A couple Moms even convinced me to try (gasp) cloth diapering.
- Connect online for support, venting, suggestions - any time of day. We have a Facebook group that is in constant use day and night. Mommies use it to vent ("Today is one of those days where I locked myself in the bathroom and cried" kind of venting. And that's ok, because we've been there too), ask how-to questions ("How do I schedule solids around bottles?") or ask the been-there-done-that Moms for advice on sticky situations ("My daughter keeps feeding her lunch to the dog. How can I stop it?"). And occasionally, some comic relief ("So, I think my vagina is broken...").
If you're not part of a mommy group, check out meetup.com for a local group. Or, start one of your own! Story time at your local library is an easy way to find other Moms.
Please tell me how you benefit from your mommy group! What am I missing?