Make the most of new moms’ group

When Kiwi was three weeks old, I packed a diaper bag, strapped her into her car seat and drove to a nearby new moms’ group. I felt shockingly good for being just a few weeks postpartum. I had put on mascara. My nursing tank was clean. I felt ready to meet new people, build a village in a relatively new community and offer the wisdom I’d already gained, having done this whole newborn thing once before.

In the coming weeks and months, though, that I can do this! attitude crumbled under the weight of sleep deprivation, Kiwi’s silent reflux and my own postpartum depression.

In those months, the new moms’ group became a lifeline.

Joining a new moms' group can offer support, ideas and the amazing friendships that will last your kids' entire childhood. Here's how to make the most of it. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Why join a new moms’ group?

A friend of a friend who was expecting once scoffed at the idea of a new moms’ group. “Why would I ever pay to join a group where people would tell me what I already know?” she asked. I didn’t know her that well, so I kept my mouth shut.

But here, I’ll tell her what have gained going to a new moms’ group, both with Kiwi and Peeper. I got:

  • Unconditional support. My fellow mamas were there every week, and they listened to me no matter what.
  • Ideas. I have a new question nearly every week, from how to transition a baby out of a swaddle to how to make sure your cruiser doesn’t faceplant in the tub. Brainstorming ideas with a room full of experts—aka moms—gives me more tips to try.
  • A chance to help others. Especially now that Kiwi is older, we have been through much of what moms with younger babies are struggling with. I, then, can chime in with what worked for us.
  • A reason to get out of the house. Having a newborn can feel like living under house arrest. It feels good to leave the house—and even better if you get to interact with people other than the checkout lady at Target.

Joining a new moms' group offers a lifeline in one of the most challenging parts of your life. Here's how to make the most of it. Ten Thousand Hour MamaThe families you meet at new moms' group will become your village—and your baby's besties! Make the most of the group you join—here's how. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Win at new moms’ group

Not all new moms’ groups are the same, but I have been unspeakably fortunate to have found the communities within the moms’ groups for Peeper and Kiwi.

That said, it takes a little effort to make the most of a new moms’ group.

New moms group night out

Based on my experience, I offer these suggestions to connect deeply and build your village.

  1. Be vulnerable. Motherhood is not easy. No one expects you to be that uber together mom. (Does she even exist? I don’t really think so.) And, as the wonderful facilitator who runs my new moms’ group says, “Being vulnerable is a gift. By opening up, you allow others to be vulnerable, too.”
  2. Start a Facebook group. Crises always seem to strike at 3am, and having a place to vent/ask questions/post a picture of your baby’s weird poop—at any hour of the day—helps you stay sane.
  3. Don’t leave without getting someone’s number. Exchange numbers with at least one person each time you go to new moms’ group. Then don’t be shy to text.
  4. Keep a standing date. Every week after new moms’ group, a handful of mamas and babies go to lunch together. There’s no strict commitment—we attend as our schedules (and kids!) allow—but we know the option of grabbing a bite or heading out for a picnic is always on the table.
  5. Plan play dates. Every so often, one mom hosts a play date. The get-together gives our kids a chance to play/poke each other’s eyes and gives us a chance to catch up.
  6. Introduce your families. In new moms’ group, we see our mom friends and their tiny babies. Most of us have a partner, and some of us have older kids, too—none of whom come to group. Meeting the whole family, like we did for a holiday party and a giant brunch potluck, strengthens our ties. Some of the dads are becoming friends, too!

All the babies! Joining a new moms' group will build your village when you most need it. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

I’m still friends with many of the women I met during the new moms’ group I attended when Peeper was born. It’s been a beautiful experience watching their babies grow from tiny peanuts into preschoolers.

I feel so fortunate to have built this community—this village—of moms. But don’t take my word for it. If you have a new baby, test out a new moms’ group for yourself. It’s in your power to create a nurturing, supportive, loving and fun community to raise your baby—and yourself as a new mama.

Did you find a supportive community when you were a new parent?

Every day should be Mother’s Day

Yes, I know that Mother’s Day has come and gone, but moms continue their hard work on the 364 days they don’t get cards and brunch and flowers—so why shouldn’t I write about an amazing mom I know? 

My dearest E,

I know this isn’t your favorite holiday, but I have some things to say, so suck it up!

You are a wonderful mother. That said, this whole parenting thing is effin’ hard. Thank you for not trying to hide that from me. Your transparency has made the transition into motherhood feel less difficult. Ok, maybe not that much less difficult, but at the very least, your letting me see you struggle makes me feel less alone when all I want to do is get in my car, drive away and never look back.

(I don’t feel like that very often these days, but I have felt like that. And when I did, I called you.)

I appreciate your advice. I appreciate that you wait for me to ask for your advice. I appreciate that you couch your advice in terms of what worked for you or what you read or what you wish you’d done differently instead of telling me what I should do or what will work for us.

I appreciate your support. I feel stronger as a person and mother because you are on my side.

I appreciate your willingness to listen anytime. You don’t remind me that I’ve rehashed the same issue a dozen times already. You let me vent even though you’re in the car driving with the family and they all have to listen to me on speakerphone. Have I mentioned lately that you’re one of the best listeners I know?

You will make a scoffing noise at this (STOP THAT RIGHT NOW), but I’ll say it anyway. You are the perfect mother for N. Not the Perfect Mother (and I probably wouldn’t want to be friends with you if you were—how boring) but the best-matched mama for your strong, fierce, lovable, sweet, hilarious, huggable, opinionated, determined, smart little one. I learn how to be a better mother by watching you two.

I am so thrilled for our girls to grow up together. I have a feeling that they’ll come to love each other as much as we love each other. And if the shenanigans we got into together are any measure, the two of them will have A LOT of fun together. (And perhaps cause us an ulcer or two.)

Enough mush.

Ok, maybe just a little more.

I love you! Happy Mother’s Day.

The girls' first kiss
The girls’ first kiss

Is there a mom you know who deserves a compliment, hug or mimosa today? Let her know! Share below, too!