Thursday, May 28, 2015

Why I love my mothers group

Mothers groups tend to get a pretty bad wrap. I knew all about this reputation before I started going to mine and I have to admit I was extremely nervous before I went to my first "meeting". My child health nurse at the time had been suggesting I join a mothers group and I'd quite successfully dodged that conversation for weeks. The thought of leaving my safe little house and venturing out to an unknown location to meet a group of strangers, who I actually had to talk to, quite frankly scared the crap out of me. I'm normally quite introverted to start with and back then my anxiety was on hyper-drive as I was smack bang in the middle of postnatal depression so the idea of deliberately challenging that anxiety made me physically ill.

But after a few weeks of gentle encouragement from both the child health nurse and my psychologist I decided I had to challenge my anxiety if I ever wanted to overcome it. I was still completely terrified, but I was determined I wasn't going to sit at home and be scared of the world forever. 

Driving to my first meeting I'm pretty sure I was sweating bullets. I'd checked the route about 4000 times the night before but I somehow still convinced myself I didn't know where I was going. The one thing that calmed my nerves a little was that I knew someone in the group I was meeting. One of my friends {who happened to have a baby 6 weeks before me and happens to live not far away} had invited me to join her mothers group so I wasn't going cold turkey to a government run group {although that's where they'd all met about 3 weeks prior}. I'm pretty sure that was the only thing that convinced me to get dressed and spark up the courage to actually leave the house that day. But I'm glad I did because that scary group of strangers are now a bunch of really close friends and I can't imagine what I'd do each Thursday without them.


Why I love my mothers group:


We support each other and treat each other as equals. Even though we're all different ages and have come from various backgrounds with different life experiences we were all new first time mums when we met, so as far as parenting is concerned we're all equals. We've all had similar concerns and questions along our mothering journey and we've all been there to support one another through sleep deprivation, teething, tantrums etc etc. Its nice to have a group of women to turn to for support when you have no idea what you're doing.

There's no judging. Not all of us do everything the same and that's ok. We all have different views on things at times but we don't ever judge each other. The way I see it whatever works, works, and that's all that matters.

It gets me out of the house and in those first few months that was absolutely necessary to overcome my anxiety and help with my depression. Although I was petrified of driving to new places each week, each time I did it I grew more and more confident and my anxiety became less and less. Of course nowadays I spend more time out of the house than at home, but I still look forward to our catch ups every Thursday.

I made new friends. I'm lucky that I had a lot of friends before, but anyone who's had kids will know that at least half of those friends magically fall off the face of the earth and disown you once you have a screaming mini me. Its always nice to make new friends who also have kids and don't mind spending time with you and the mini me together.

Ours kids are all growing up together. Bub now has six cool little dudes who are all within six weeks of her age to grow up with {although I'm sure daddy would like there to be a bit more of a balanced boy/girl ratio}. There are two more new babies to be added to the group this year as well :)

We eat cake. I hear you all thinking wtf, but bear with me. Firstly never underestimate the fabulousness of eating cake. Secondly, in the beginning the fact that we used to meet up for lunch was amazing. I got to eat out every week which not only ensured I ate lunch, but I ate awesome lunch. We still eat lunch when we meet up but its morphed into the bring a plate version as the little people require containment a restaurant can no longer provide {so sometimes I'm forced to eat yucky stuff like tuna or coconut, but its still worth it}.

I wouldn't change my Mothers group at all {except maybe banning tuna from the menu}.

Are/were you part of a great mother's group too?

* For those who' like to join I've started an online mothers group Mummy Matters so that everyone can have a place to share and get advice.

Toni x


SIMPLY RACHEL

28 comments:

  1. That is awesome you've found such a supportive group, Toni. I was like you. Really nervous and anxious about mother's groups and as a result, I didn't join one. I went along twice to a group, but I didn't feel a bond with any of the women and it felt cliquey. Instead, I have two friends who I met at antenatal class. We've maintained our friendship through birth until now. I've also made another close friend through gymboree. We met when our first kids were six weeks old and a fast friends now. Ps. I thought my husband was the only one who said 'sweating bullets' :)

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    1. Ironically one of the ladies in my mothers group was in my antenatal class so I recognised her straight away {total coincidence I didn't know she was going to be there}. Haha I'm not sure its a good thing I say sweating bullets but at least I'm not the only one!

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  2. I know exactly what you mean with all of these points! I met my MG mums when our babies were six weeks old and we still meet weekly nearly five years on. They have been such a life line so many times and even just last night we went out for dinner together, to get out of the house and to laugh, albeit mostly about our kids, but it was so good to debrief and do something nice. I am really grateful I got a great, supportive group.

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    1. Oh I hope we're still meeting in five years! We did dinner for the first time a few weeks back and it was awesome, we stayed out til nearly 11pm, the restaurant was trying to kick us out!

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  3. Your group sounds great. Recently my best friend started a playgroup at her place as her family friend has a prep style qualification from where she's from in Europe so she does developmental & fun activities with the kids. Only thing is Lily is the oldest with lots of babies mostly but there's a heap of new mums coming next week for the first time. When I get back it will be kinda huge! But there's always cake ;)

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    1. Cake is the best part hehe :) We're lucky all our kids are all really close in age, mind you we will have the babies joining soon so that'll probably change the dynamics a bit. It'll be interesting to see how the "big kids" act with the babies.

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  4. Mother's group is the best! Mine saved me when I was struggling badly with my baby. I was so nervous about going too, but glad I did!

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    1. Me too, it would've been so much more isolating if I didn't join mothers group.

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  5. I am so lucky to have a wonderful mum's group too. (I have even blogged about them). I never thought I'd be the mother's group type... I'd be lost without them now.

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    1. Yea I didn't think I'd be the mothers group type either, but it grew on me pretty quickly.

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  6. When I first started having children we lived in a small town with no family and our local mothers group was my life! I went every single day, let the kids play and felt like a human being again! As the kids got older, even though I still had babies, I got a little too busy with homeschooling to go but I have many fond memories of our little group! Thanks for sharing and linking up at Favorite things Friday! Make sure you ad the badge to be eligible to be featured! Both Rachel and I will be choosing a different blogger to feature on our blog AND social media :)

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    1. Oh you had one to go to every single day that'd be awesome! I look forward to Thursdays every week because I know I'm going to go see them.

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  7. I was never lucky enough to get a mothers group! When I had my baby I called up my local Maternal Health people that ran the groups and they were all full for the next 4-5 months! Apparently I needed to book in when I was only 6 months pregnant! Then I move interstate and there mothers groups only excepted babies up to 6 months and they were booked up for at least 3 months. I was devastated! Now I'm stuck in a new town and struggling to meet people. I'm glad you found a great group of mums you can share with! (I'm sorry I turned my comment into a mini rant lol)

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    1. I think I was just really lucky that I had my friend who took me under her wing and adopted me into their group. I know others who haven't been able to get into groups either :(

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  8. Um, why would anyone think 'WTF' about eating cake? It is one of the best things to do ever. Oh, and i remember that stage when all of the babies started to get mobile and we had to tailor our plans/activities accordingly.
    That really brought back memories of the mothers group days. It's not actually that long ago but it seems like forever.

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    1. Yea the mobile stage is not fun, I've had to change from restaurant desserts to store bought cake lol. We occasionally go to the park but ends up being more of a workout than a catchup.

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  9. I never really got into a mothers group.. I just didnt click with the ones from when my first child was born as they were so competitive with the comparing thing... even though we had newborns. I always felt like I missed out - specially when I saw others like you who got lucky.. but I am glad that you found such an awesome group xx

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    1. I was so worried they'd all be competitive but they're really not {although I know lots of other mums who are}. I think I got super lucky, thankgod because I think my PND would've got worse if I found a horrible group.

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  10. My first bub was a November baby, and I started going to a mother's group in early December - however they shut it down over Christmas and January so it was kind of disbanded! I did meet one great friend in the group though, and we went on to have our second babies within 2 weeks of each other, and still meet regularly for playdates now with all four of our kids.
    #TeamMM

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    1. Apparently mine had a few other members in the beginning and they just dropped off over the first few weeks. Its so great having babies close together with someone else isn't it?

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  11. Oh that's so lovely that you have such a supportive group! It must be great having ladies with similar babies to chat to!

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    1. Yes its SO good. It'd be so much harder without them.

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  12. Sounds like you got lucky with a really, really good group, Toni. I had two different mothers groups and I'm not in touch with anyone from any of them now (we moved, I say that's why we lost touch, but I doubt it!). That said, the group I had with my first born were a godsend and I really do miss them. x

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    1. I wonder how long we'll all stay in touch for, hopefully at least a few more years. Its been great for me because I haven't gone back to work so they make up a huge chunk of my social circle.

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  13. I never did the mothers group thing as I went back to work really early after my first two kids so there was no point when I wouldn't be able to continue. I was lucky that I had close friends with kids the same age so I didn't feel that I missed out on attending a more organised meeting. Glad you've had a positive experience with your group Toni x

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    1. I love that ours is so informal its like a bunch of friends meeting up for a play date rather than a really formal meeting in a hall with structured activities. I don't think I could do a formal group it'd drive me nuts {I'm glad I missed their first few meetings because they were with the health nurses at a hall}.

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  14. This is great! I love that you faced your anxiety head on! I was never a part of a mother's group but desperately wanted to be after my first was born. It's great that you have that support and great friendship! =)
    Thanks for linking up to 'Favorite Things Friday' with Hip Homeschooling and Simply Rachel!

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    1. I'm so glad I did because I'm so much more confident now :)

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