The idea of a mother’s group can strike fear in even the most confident of women. We’ve all heard the horror stories about bitchiness and judgy mums, and the idea of sitting in a room with a bunch of strangers and a screaming baby on your boob sounds like your idea of hell. Not only that, but sometimes when you are looking after a baby twenty four hours a day, the last thing you want to talk about with other people is…babies. Unfortunately, babies are the main topic of conversation in a mother’s group (at least at first) so you might be thinking about giving yours a wide berth. But before you do, here’s a few things to consider.
How are they assigned?
It really comes down to the luck of the draw with these things because you get assigned a group according to your location and the date you welcomed your baby. So you’re put with other local mums whose bubs are the same age. Makes sense.
Sure you might go along, and might not click with anyone and decide it’s not for you. Nothing lost, nothing gained, and that’s fine. BUT, you also might go along and find some fellow parents who are on your wavelength and go on to be lifelong friends. Or you also might find something in between the two, which is still a win.
Building up your support network
But trust us, even if they don’t become your life-long besties, having other mums who are going through exactly what you are going through, as you are going through it can be so helpful. Because so often even if you have friends who have had kids, they won’t be able to remember all those little things you’re going through, especially in those early months. Having someone to message and say “my boobs are leaking like crazy HBU?” or even just to send funny memes to 3am is priceless.
The truth of the matter is, those early months of new parenthood can actually be quite lonely and it can be hard for some people to adjust from going to work and pursuing a career, to taking care of a gorgeous, helpless infant all day. Being surrounded by other parents who are feeling the same way can really take the isolation out of those early days – which does wonders for your mental health.
An excuse to get you out of the house
In those early weeks, just getting out of the house is a mission, and can be really quite daunting. So having an excuse to get you up, showered (maybe, no judgement!) and out of the house is great. It can be very easy to stay in the house but getting out, getting fresh air and maybe even a coffee if you’re lucky is so important for your mental health. But there’s also very little pressure because everyone there is in the exact same boat as you.
Sure, there may be that one mum who always looks effortlessly put together and annoyingly fresh-faced while the rest of you more closely resembling a background extra from The Walking Dead. But, in the main, it is really damn liberating to have a place you can just show up to with baby vomit on your shirt and have no one bat an eyelid.
Your baby’s first friendship group
It’s also great for your bubs as they grow to have social interaction with other babies their age. Living in the same area means your kids might end up going to school together so nurturing those friendships can help give them a helping hand socially. It’s also really, really cute watching them grow together and start to interact more.
There’s no obligation to stay…
And look you might be worried about the judgy mums, competitiveness, mindless baby small talk or those high-achievers whose babies have been sleeping through the night and listening to Mozart from day one. But remember it’s not high school, there’s no obligation to be there or talk to anyone who doesn’t make you and your baby feel special. Don’t stress if your baby is unsettled or crying, if it’s yours this week it’s bound to be someone else’s next week. Try sitting up the back until you feel comfortable – near the snack table – and you’re sure to find some like-minded folks to gravitate towards in no time.