Prior to having the baby, I hadn’t given a lot of thought to what I would “do” during my maternity leave. I mean, taking care of a newborn is a full-time job, that I was sure of, so I just didn’t plan to “do” anything else. For someone whose dance card is usually booked weeks in advance, this black hole in my calendar was both scary and exhilarating. As Benjamin and I settle into our new routine with the baby and he begins to take more jobs that will force him to be gone during the day, he thinks it’s important that I plan some activities outside of the house to maintain my sanity. At the moment I am perfectly content to spend every minute focused on little Owen and tending to his needs (because frankly, it’s tough to do anything beyond a short walk with the dog when I only have 1 hour of peace between each feeding). But as Owen’s nursing times stretch longer and I’m able to leave the house more, I see Benjamin’s point that I might really enjoy a bit of social interaction beyond babytalk.
So he suggested I join a “Mommy Group”.
Now, please don’t take this the wrong way if you are in a Mommy Group and love it, but I’m just not sure I’m the Mommy Group type. I hate small talk. I don’t want to sit around and compare babies. I am very picky about who I spend my time with… I find a few close friends and love them dearly, but I don’t enjoy faking relationships for the sake of having a group of women to have lunch with. Call me a grouch; but it’s the truth. That said, when I do find friends who I connect with, they are friends for life. I guess I just wonder if I could get over my preconceived notions about Mommy Groups enough to join one and make a few friends. Mom friends.
Currently I can count my Mom friends on one hand. Since I’m relatively young, I’m the first of most of my friends to have babies. I kind of love this — I don’t feel like just because I have a baby I have to immediately have only Mom friends. However, as Benjamin keeps reminding me, it would be nice to have people to turn to with questions (other than my mom and sister), and people to hang out with who would not mind scheduling around nursing schedules and nap times. Also, since I’m lucky enough to have a few months off from work, I’m going to have a lot of time to kill during the day that I imagine would be way more enjoyable if I spent it going to the park and taking walks with other Moms rather than sitting by myself.
So what’s a new Mom who is nervous about Mommy Groups to do?
There’s a place around Boston that is infamous for having wonderful Mom & baby classes. Almost all of my friends have joined groups there and really enjoyed them. Chances are, I will too… if I just stop focusing on it being a “ladies who lunch” group and more like a class. Anyway, they have several options, from daily playgroup drop-ins (not so useful at this point since Owen is so tiny) to Mom & baby yoga (not so good since I can’t exercise for a few more weeks) and a 6-week long Great Beginnings class. The Great Beginnings class is probably the best option right now (it’s for babies 2-10 weeks old and is run like a class). It’s $180, which seems a little steep for 6 classes, but as Benjamin pointed out, we spent more than that on childbirth classes and breastfeeding classes, and this may be even more important for me if I can make some friends going through similar challenges. They also have a breastfeeding drop-in class, which I think might be very useful as I work towards being able to breastfeed in public (easier said than done!).
I’m going to give it a shot. Wish me luck!
Any thoughts/suggestions before I sign up? For those who have had babies, did you join a Mommy group? Where did you meet Mom friends? For those who have not yet had babies, are you interested in/excited about a Mommy group, or apprehensive?