Tanya Enberg: Unexpected Mother

Feb
07
2013

8 Reasons Why Joining a Moms Group is a Must

FRIENDSHIPS ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH, AND FOR BABY TOO

Without them, who knows where I’d be.

Curled up in fetal position, I suspect. I am talking about my moms groups here.

They have been my escape from the house, the resuscitators of my sanity, and at times the only source of grownup conversation I’ve had all day until my hubby comes home.

Sure, I had my reservations about joining a ‘moms’ group at first.

Certainly we’ve all seen gals who’ve gone from fabulous to frumpy. We’ve witnessed women who’ve permanently ditched style for stretch, fitness for flab and personal pampering for pee-stained Pampers all in the name of the motherhood.

No way, I did not want to board that train.

And surely we’ve all run into more than one judgmental mom out on the rounds, no? You know them … of course you do. She’s smugly casting you stink eye when your baby has a meltdown in the sandwich shop while hers is behaving so adorably she could star in the cutest baby commercial going.

Yeah whatever. She’s having a good day.

It had also occurred to me that joining a moms group would be akin to willingly signing up for a Stepford Wives style cult or voluntarily returning to high school, and why would anyone ever want to do that?

Thankfully, my fears weren’t realized.

Seeking out others to commiserate with is one of the most valuable decisions I made earlier on. The women I’ve met are warm and welcoming, funny and smart and very understanding. Without these connections, being a mama newbie would be a very scary and lonely experience.

Whether it’s stroller fitness, yoga, weekly play dates or café meet-ups, here are eight reasons why finding a supportive network is essential to your overall well being.

— Learning the parenthood ropes at the same time creates incredibly strong bonds. Let’s face it nothing cuts through the bullshit quite like busting out a boob to breastfeed in front of a bunch of people you met like a millisecond ago.

— Past generations lived in tightknit communities that leaned on one another for help, but it’s a very different world now for modern moms. A UK study found that the first year of parenting is not just grueling, but also lonesome for new mothers, with seven in 10 saying they felt isolated at home. So get out there and find a community, and if one doesn’t exist, create it.

— Mom groups bring together an unlikely cast of characters. Your paths likely wouldn’t have crossed had you not become a parent, but there you are getting to know fascinating people all sharing what is easily the most daunting and powerful experience you’ll ever know.

— You can be bone tired and have days when it looks like you crawled out of a rat’s nest and no one will understand this quite like another mom. You have curdled spit-up on your pants and soggy bits of Baby Mum-Mums in your hair? So what? So does she.

— You will have the chance to share the good moments and the rotten ones, too, like your baby’s three-day diarrhea blast or when he decided to test out his new tooth by chomping down on your nipple. Yeah, that.

— Sure, listening to baby zombie talk is cute, but eventually you’ll want to speak with fellow adults. When you first meet other mamas, you will talk way too much about babies, but that will change. Soon you’ll be talking sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll like old pals. OK, maybe not, but you will talk careers, relationships, travel and fitness.

— Studies show that a strong support system helps reduce stress, blood pressure and the risk of depression. Meanwhile, research out of Harvard University found that breast cancer patients without a network of friends are four times more likely to die from the disease than those with close friends of 10 or more. Yes! Socializing really is good for your health!

— And last but not least, you might create life-long friendships during play dates, but even better, so can baby. While they may not understand the lessons yet, playing with others lays down the important groundwork for sharing, collaborating, relationship building and rule following. 

Good luck mamas and happy connecting!