There are fewer things that scare me than the idea of mommy groups. And this is coming from someone who was in a sorority in the U.S! (Note: the sorority I was in was very laid back and made up of athletes like myself who just wanted to chill and have a beer). Regardless, if I am used to being part of female groups and working with women, why am I so afraid of joining one? Come June and my mat leave, I will be needing some daytime socializing and the people most available are fellow new-moms also on leave. I think the media and hearing one-off stories have fed into my belief that mommy groups are:
- Clique-y (these groups will welcome you but only if you’ve passed their vetting process)
- Judgmental (you raise your baby, how??)
- Competitive (Where do you live, what do you and your husband do for work, what baby brands do you use?)
- Full of women who only talk about their babies as they have nothing else in common
Are any of these worries legitimate and am I so perfect to assume I won’t judge? Additionally, how does one find a group if one doesn’t have Facebook? What if someone doesn’t want to join a members-only mommy group? What options are there for new dads?
- Go to places downtown that are baby-friendly and strike up a conversation with whoever is there (libraries, coffee shops…)
- Bring the baby to your usual haunts to see familiar faces (for me it’s the Royal Botanical Gardens).
- Start up and advertise your own drop-in group at the local coffee shop and see who shows up.
- Amp up time spent with eager parents and in-laws because they want to see the baby anyways. Maybe plan it around activities and outings.
- And lastly…reach out to any mommy groups and scope them out before deciding for yourself. Maybe they’re not that bad!
Any more ideas to share? Has anyone belonged to any mom group and was it a positive/negative experience?