Mommy Groups Heaven or Hell?

I’m not a joiner. I don’t like crap where I feel trapped in a place for a set amount of time with strangers, so the idea of joining the mommy group organized by the Public Health nurse in my area, made my ass itch. It didn’t start until my baby was 6-weeks old so I figured I had time to back out of it if I wanted to (and I was too tired to think of a nice way to say no) so I agreed to try it.

I was all set to cancel but my friend (who is also not much of a joiner) said it was the best thing she ever did and essentially forced me to go. Long story short, it was a great thing to do and here is my list of the pros and cons based on my limited experience:


You’re not alone. Once my baby was born, and the visitors left, everything was back to the same old, same old and I felt very isolated because it wasn’t the same-old-same-old because I was at home by myself caring for a whole person. It’s nice to be surrounded by women who are in the same boat as you are.

Poo Talk. It feels so good to unleash the poo obsession with people who are just as excited as you are to discuss it. I’ve decided that suppressing a new mother’s “poo talk” is just as bad as suppressing poo and it needs to happen somewhere. I’m sure that the other people in your life would appreciate you sharing the frequency, consistency and colour of your baby’s poo with other “poo talkers” as well.

Birth Stories. Women’s birth stories are like men’s war stories and I would be fascinated to know what women that have gone to war AND given birth revel in more. Nothing is like a friendly round of “if you think that was bad then…”

Baby Measuring Stick. You’re never *quite* sure the first time around just how much a baby cries, poos, spits up, wakes up in the night or eats and it’s nice to be able to get an idea of what the average is and if you should change things up or if it’s just par for the course.

The near future. It’s nice to be around Moms that are a month or even a few weeks further down the road than you are so they can share the light at the end of each dark tunnel. I have never been so happy to hear a woman in my group say her baby slept through the night the first time because I knew I couldn’t be far off for me (it turned out mine didn’t come for another 2 years but that’s beside the point). It gave me hope dammit!



You’re not all there. I personally found it really hard to hold an intelligent conversation for the first year of my child’s life, so I hated that I was constantly looking like a tired, doughy, asshat and these women had never known me any other way. I’m sure they felt the exact same way but I was too sleep deprived to realize that logic at the time.

One Upsmanship. There is always one Perfect Penny in the bunch that just *has* to be better than everybody. Everybody thinks their baby is awesome and most women do a pretty good job at graciously giving equal billing to all the other mothers in the group (even though they know their baby rocks it like a pizza pocket), but there’s always one broad that you want to beat with a bag of hammers because she won’t shut up about how brilliant her baby is. Well, let’s just hope her baby reads social cues better than she did because I’d had 7 minutes of collective sleep and I could tell everyone in the room was sick of her shit.

Baby Measuring Stick. Yep, it’s in pros too but the worst thing ever is when EVERY baby in the room is eating fine or sleeping through the night and your baby is the only hold out. I find pregnancy and early motherhood is very similar to your teen years and you don’t want to veer too far away from the average. Even if it’s seemingly a good thing like not crying too much you’ll start wondering “Why doesn’t she cry as much as the other babies? What’s wrong?” Sadly, it’s a vicious shit spiral and, even though it’s impossible to avoid, I find it’s exacerbated in a group of new mothers.

Different Parenting Styles. You will find that there is a gamut of parenting styles even from the get go. I liked to group them into Hippies and Hitlers and everything in between. Within my group I found I had hippy leanings but in another, I’m sure I’d be viewed as a Hitler. There was one woman in my group who decided to let her two-month old cry all night in her cold vomit in an effort to “sleep train” her. I have no doubt that little girl is a wonderful, well adjusted little kid but even as I type this, my eyes are starting to well up because the idea of letting a hungry, little baby cry like that just breaks my heart. I’m a suck.

A newborn is the only thing you have in common. One woman in the group asked the public health nurse what kind of immunization, if any, her baby would need because they were missionaries and were leaving for Papua New Guinea in a month. Wow. I hadn’t ventured to the grocery store at this point because I hadn’t figured out the logistics of getting the baby in the cart yet, and this woman was flying across the world in a month. She was a lovely woman and I tried talking to her a few times but we were so completely different. The only thing we had in common was that we were too tired to figure out chit chat that appealed to the other one so we just gave up. She didn’t even get my “it rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again” reference I made when she gave me hand cream one time. There was no hope for us.


So there it is. Love ’em or hate ’em, there will always be bands of new mothers that try to huddle together in the most wonderful/worst time of their lives – I’ll call it worsterful. Hopefully they lean on each other for support rather than lash out at each other in some kind of vulnerable, primal defence, but it will probably always be somewhere in the middle.

Be sure to say “hi” to Perfect Penny for me as she tells you how she just can’t find sleepers for her son because he’s in the 450th percentile for height and doesn’t stop rolling over to recite Chaucer. Give her a nice, perfect punch in the face then tell her how lucky she is.

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  • I didn’t find a lot of common ground in the mommy meet-ups when my first was born, but there was a 2nd time moms group when I was on leave with my daughter. It was great! Everyone was juggling a toddler or preschooler and an infant and the competitiveness/insecurity of the first time moms was just not there. Also, I think a lot of us (I know it was true for me) were just a lot more "with it" the second time…the shock of being a new parent was a little less overwhelming. We watched each other’s kids when someone needed to run to the restroom and supported each other when someone had a personal or parenting dilemma. By the second time around we were all embracing the "whatever works" philosophy and it was much more enjoyable. I guess the moral is, it might not be right for you with the first, but you might still find some use for the right mommy group later in your parenting journey.

  • Within a week of being a new mom, a message in my Facebook inbox appeared from an old friend. “I hope you don’t mind that I added you to a mom group I’m a part of. All of the women are so supportive and loving. It’s a really great community.” (Sometimes I look back at this and cry from laughing so hard.)

    Mind? No, certainly not! I was new to the game. Oh yes- it’s a game. I’ll teach you. I meant surviving Mommy Facebook Groups, not the kid. The kid isn’t a game, unless you count barking like a dog to get your baby to bark like a dog. Anyway, I didn’t know a lick about keeping a baby alive. This sounded ah-mazing.

    I was so green then, it’s kind of adorable now how naive I was. Like a fresh doe frolicking in the meadows of flowers, completely unaware that I was being hunted from just yonder the hills. What was just past those hills you ask? Cranky, bitchy, tired, hormonal women who thought their main purpose on this earth was to tell you that if you aren’t raising your child the way they raise theirs, well you might as well just off the kid. And they all unite to be miserable together in Mommy Facebook Groups! I feel like, in the early days of Mom Groups there must have been an initiation where you swear an oath saying you complain about your life at least 27 times a week.

    Alas. A post asking for advice on baby bottles popped up in my newsfeed. Perfect! I registered for only one kind, got a zillion of them, and my baby was over them after a few days. This would be so helpful!! The comment chain started out innocently enough. Some moms chimed in suggesting Doc Brown or Tommee Tippee. Some women suggested different nipples for the bottle (standard versus slow flow versus faucet drip). Ok, I made that last one up, but seriously, what did women do when there was only one type of bottle? We have it so easy. You’d think that’d make us less stressed.

    Then a mom wrote in: “How old is your baby?” Ahem. If you’re new to the game, you wouldn’t think twice about this question. Perhaps you’d even think how nice of this woman to take an interest in the baby. Silly, sweet you. Us seasoned moms… we know better. The poster replied: “3 months.”
    You know where this is going, right? “Why does your baby need a bottle at 3 months? Are you not breastfeeding? There could be nipple confusion if you try giving them a bottle and you should be breastfeeding for at least a year.”

    Shooooot me already with your holier than thou chastising as fuck questions and judgment. CHRIST. Is it your business if this woman is breastfeeding or, if she did, for how long she breastfed? NO. NO IT IS NOT. She asked about bottles. She didn’t ask you to come bitchslap her in the face with your boobs full of IQ laced breast milk. For real. (If you’ve been around long enough, you’ve heard the common “breast is best” brag that babies who are breast fed have higher IQ’s than babies who received formula). Formula baby here. It’s totally miraculous I can put together a sentence isn’t it? It’s like I somehow defied all the odds. And I swear to baby Jesus, enough with this nipple confusion bullshit. Stop scaring moms.

    Comment after comment poured in.

    “Sometimes the milk supply just dries up and you have to supplement,” one gal chimed in. Oh honey, I wish I could have warned you… don’t ever say “supplement” in a mommy group. Blood hath been shed over such crimes.
    “You shouldn’t need to supplement. Your body knows what your baby needs and your baby knows how to get what she needs from you.” Oh, thank God. Finally, a woman who knows my jugs and my baby better than me! Maybe she can let me know when I’m ovulating next.
    “Well I’m just saying blah blah blah recommends breastfeeding for 2 years. Why wouldn’t you provide the best for your baby?”

    LADIES STOP BEING ASSHOLES. You can breastfeed your children until they can tie their shoelaces if that’s what you really want to do. Yeah, I’m totally gonna judge you because that’s weird and creepy, but I’m not going to be an asshole to you. I’m gonna let you do you. You want kids hanging off your boobs in the park while I day drink mimosas and lattes, cool. But do us all a favor and pull the stick out of your ass that forced you to lecture another mom who didn’t do it your way. There are other options if you want to take something up the ass.

    And see, you’d think this might be like a one-time thread. All groups have a few resident bitches, right? But no. It happens all the time. It is actually the only predictable thing in my life right now. I may not be able to predict that my baby will wake up at 3am having shit herself all the way up her back, but I can sure as shit predict that if I come across a post with a picture of a bottle, some hussy is gonna have a say about it.

    Let’s take last week for example. A mom friend of my liked a post from a woman who has quadruplets and it popped up on my page. This mom’s Facebook page has close to 70k followers. She posted a photo of her baby napping on her husband’s belly. Aw, sweet moment right? Most of us probably have one of those lying around if Dad is in the picture. But in this particular photo, you could see a bottle of an opaque liquid. It could have been formula. It could have been breastmilk. I could have gone on with my life never having known.

    But not these moms following her. I didn’t have to scroll far for the first comment. “Is that breastmilk?! If so, I’m even more impressed by you!” I’m sure the mother of FOUR BABIES is totally worried about impressing you. Thanks for sharing! I mean I know she’s totally going to high five herself because some woman who probably doesn’t have QUADRUPLETS is letting her know, she’s even more impressed with her. I mean, if it was formula, yawn. Definitely yawn. Can confirm, as a mother of one, I’d totally be unimpressed if it was only formula. Hmmm, maybe I should write and tell her that. Totally sounds like a good idea because naturally, I know she’s counting on me as an internet stranger to let her know how I feel about how she feeds her kids. I’m actually only impressed if she could breastfeed all four kids at once. Only then will you get my accolades!!


    Annnnd that’s how I feel about mom groups.

  • Ok this link is probably totally inappropriate for a baby post, but your lotion on the skin reference deserves this follow up. 🙂 my husband randomly found this song a few years ago and it’s quite catchy. If anyone can appreciate it, I think it’s you. (Try listening without watching if the movie actually gives you the creeps. Then watch the video.) lol

  • The thought of joining a mommy group was also nauseating to me. But I forced myself to and I’m glad I did! Sure, there are going to be some people that you ordinarily never would’ve befriended (like the simultaneous jogging, BF’ing, stroller pushing mom – WTF?!?), but there will be at least one person that you connect with. And that’s really what they’re for IMO – weeding through the other moms and finding a winner or two. It’s kind of like dating. I have one good mom friend from the group I was in. We still get together on weekends with our almost 3YOs and have dinner (with wine) at each other’s home. And if everyone in the group makes you want to drink at 10am – you could always try a different group until you find one with people more your speed. 😉

  • Hey, having a tall kid is kind of a pain. It’s hardly bragging to remark that your kid is tall. Some kids are tall and some are short. This is the way the world works. It’s not a race. And it’s really quite frustrating when your five-month-old can’t wear those adorable footie fleece things all the other kids at day care have! Those things are freaking cute! Meanwhile, you’re putting useless shoes on a baby who can’t walk so his toes don’t freeze off.

    My son has hit a few of his benchmarks "early" (he was born almost two weeks overdue, so often times adjusted for gestational age, he’s not early at all), but I don’t know why I’m supposed to sit on them like some shameful secret until all the other babies have gotten their teeth in. It’s not an achievement to get teeth early. It’s mostly a health risk. Nipple biting kills. Or at least feels like it might.

    • Oh, I’m not bashing tall kids – I had a tall baby it IS such a pain to have to put them in footless pajamas and two piece everything because they are long – but this woman was practically beaming at the fact that her baby was longer than everyone else’s and positioned it as a thinly veiled negative so she could go on and on about it. Perhaps it was my fatigue, but I seriously wanted to kill her : )

    • I was thinking the same thing! Especially if their weight percentile is way lower than their height. My poor daughter has been introduced to the world of “clothes never fit” so early ;(

  • Good post. Your "cons" are pretty much why I didn’t join a mommy group. I might have, though, if I was new to an area or didn’t have a ton of family nearby.

    one point of contention – the.mother who let her 2 mo old cry all night in vomit. That is NOT the Ferber method. That is child abuse. Ferber recommends checking on your child after graduated intervals, not letting your newborn scream in their puke. Also Ferber doesn’t recommend sleep training until at least 4 mo. I don’t know if she thought she was using Ferber, or you just assumed, but either way, that’s incorrect. And possibly very harmful.

    Otherwise A+ post

    • You are correct about the Ferber method. She actually used that term but I shouldn’t assume that people know that she was doing it wrong in case they think that’s the way it’s done. I changed the wording so there’s no confusion. The whole thing still makes me shudder.

      Thanks for pointing that out!

  • HA! I’m sure you hear this all the time but I would love the shit out of you in real life if we were friends. I said the lotion quote at a birth recently (I’m a doula and I was rubbing lotion on a mom’s back during contractions) Dad and the other doula laughed, mom had no clue and the nurses looked pretty horrified. But hey, it was that kind of moment. Sometimes I’m an ass hat, but I give damn good back rubs so it’s all good 😉

  • i generally hate mom blogs (sorry, but most of them are lame and go on about the most mundane things in a poorly written way) but this blog is hilarious. i am sitting alone and laughing at it. amazing. i’m not even a mom yet (but thinking about it soon) but want to read every single post. you also make the prospect of becoming a mom seem a lot more doable, and a lot less "give up everything fun in my life". i love this.

  • I’m only 3 months pregnant and I’m already hearing about how I’m doing things wrong! My co-worker seems to think its her job to tell me everyday how I should be working out because she worked out straight through 8 months, then got her baby out in two pushes, oh and also I should really be eating more protein (as she stares at my lunch). Woop-dy freaking doo for you! I don’t feel like working out, so NO and I just got done feeling like a queasy pile of crap for two months, so chill with the eating comments! I’m not sure I could handle a mommy group….

  • I haven't had any children, hope to soon but Erin's story sounds a lot like my mom's. She never produced milk when I was born and the nurses just refused to give me a bottle. I lost weight and got sick so I had to stay in the hospital for a week. The damn OB actually got involved, telling the nurses "It's her child give her a bottle." We just need to remember that, it's our child!

  • Christ on a cracker. And they say men are competitive. Take a look at what some women do to/for their kids in the interests of only wanting "the best", and you'll see women are just as bad as men: "Well, little Buttmunch was walking at 6 months and potty trained by 8. I only feed him whole foods I grow myself sprinkled with holy water. I went hiking through Tibet last year with him strapped to my back…it was such a bonding time…" *gag*

    It's enough to drive a person to strong drink, truly. The one-upmanship of motherhood is subtly poisonous and absolutely ridiculous. We're all in the trenches together. If we can bond with strangers about lipstick over bathroom sinks, why can't we cut each other a little slack when it comes to different styles of parenting?

  • Erin – your comment (although it was a month ago! I'm late on the reply…) Anyway, it was really interesting to me. Particularly this part: "I had to stop going to the group after a few weeks because no mom wants to feel guilty about doing her best."

    I totally agree with that last part. And I actually had the exact opposite experience at a Mom group. When I was at home on my own trying to figure things out, I felt guilty about everything I was doing because I didn't know if I was doing the right thing or not. It ended up being the fellow first-time Moms in the group that I joined that made me feel like I was normal and that I wasn't the only one making the choices I was making and doing the things I was doing.

    I think someone said you just have to find the group that's right for you… and I totally agree. Like a bunch of people here, I'm not a joiner either. I never wanted to join a Mom's group because I thought it wouldn't be my thing. But it's ended up being my saving grace!

    I'm sorry you didn't get the support you deserve. That really sucks. You said it best:

    "Mamas face a lot of judgment during a very stressful time, and I just wish that we could drop our preconceptions of what works for your family is the "best" way or the "only" way and just support each other instead of throwing judgment at one another. "

    That's what I found with the Mom group I joined… and I wish that kind of support for every new Mom!

  • Love this blog post and love all of the comments! Yorkie's especially hits home! I'm an epileptic and because of the medication I have to take to keep from having grand mal seizures my OB/G initially said I shouldn't breastfeed. I cannot tell you how many people I have encountered who have asked me these intimate breastfeeding questions as soon as they realize I'm pregnant – and then are presumptuous enough to look down on me when I say "I might not be able to."

    I've since discussed the situation with my neurologist and read up on the drug, and I think I will be able to breastfeed. However, I will be damned if I ever go looking for help from La Leche League of Self Righteous Martyrdom or any other pro-breastfeeding group. They can all take their granola and shove it where the sun doesn't shine.

  • I don't wish to stir the crazy with this, but I've devoted a lot of discussion time, blog space, and research about breast feeding, and more disturbing than that truth behind it all is how women use it as a litmus test to gauge Good Motherdom. Of all things–how the mother eats, how she deals with her child, what she feeds her child, her choice in partners, ANYTHING–how she feeds her baby for first 6-12 months of life seems to slam barriers down faster than almost anything else.

    Have had my first baby in an NHS hospital, breast feeding was shoved down my throat from the moment he drew breath. My hospital boasted a 90% success rate, and after 4 days of hearing my child screaming from hunger (because the staff REFUSED to give him a bottle), suffering from hypoglycemia, and me in tears constantly (instead of marvelling over his mere existence, as I have so many medical problems I should not have had 1 kid, let alone two), a midwife finally came in and said, "Woman, do what's BEST for you. Not anyone else. YOU." Anyone looking at my medical history could've figured out in a tick that I am physically incapable of nursing–it's pretty flaming obvious–but I guess that would've been too much work to consider another point of view.

    I have seen women breast feed their babes happily on park benches, then tuck the sleeping tot into a pram and light up a fag with a sigh. I've seen them chug coffee or full-sugar sodas or even bier as they nurse. It's ridiculous that in the mind-bending chaos of motherhood that women use breast feeding as the dividing line because in the end, it's a deeply, DEEPLY personal question.

    The next time someone asks me, "She was breast fed, of course?" I'm going to reply with, "And you like anal, of course? Because that's the only way sex should be had. Dear dear…you look shocked! I'm sorry, I thought we were asking deeply personal questions that were nobody's business…a thousand pardons."

  • This has been bugging me the last few nights since I read this post, which is absurd I know but I just have to leave a comment now!
    I think all moms do things that they feel bad about, and I think that they tell other moms what they did so that they don't feel so bad. Maybe that lady who ferberized her baby and let the baby cry all night in cold vomit felt just AWFUL about it, probably worse than she let on, but she shared it with the group because she felt bad and need a bit of "confessional" time. I think its interesting that when you start to type "I am a terrible…" into Google search, "mother" is the second suggestion to complete that search. Mamas just want to connect sometimes and know that everybody makes mistakes with their kids so they can forgive themselves and move on.
    Mamas face a lot of judgment during a very stressful time, and I just wish that we could drop our preconceptions of what works for your family is the "best" way or the "only" way and just support each other instead of throwing judgment at one another.
    I live in a super hippy area so I'm classified as a Hitler in those mommy groups even though in other circles I'm considered super crunchy. I could just FEEL the judgment seeping over me when I shared when my son was 4 months old that I couldn't breastfeed exclusivley anymore because my milk supply had dropped. I was hit with a barrage of exercises/schedules/things I HAD to do since formula is poison, and of course everyone had to tell me what I had done wrong to make my milk supply drop. Ugh. I had to stop going to the group after a few weeks because no mom wants to feel guilty about doing her best.

  • I have never posted on a blog before; but, this one is awesome. I have one "baby" who just turned 16. I couldn't agree more on the "Mommy contests" – I thought I had to be the worst mom on the planet. But, being a veteran now (at least to most who have commented on this blog), I will say a few things I have learned or adopted as personal policies. First – NEVER tell anyone who is pregnant for the first time about your delivery horror story. I was so scared by what everyone told me – I decided when I was 4 months pregnant that even if my labor resulted in a SWAT team and the surgeon general, my response to anyone expecting would be "it is so different for everyone, just do what you think you can do and what you think is right." Second – just love and care for your baby. When he is sick, cranky, hungry, drooling, or learning to crawl – hold him, feed him, love him, rock him, walk him, cheer for him, love him, love him, love him. I nearly drove myself crazy with second guessing myself, beating myself up, blaming myself, and finally my mother in law said, "Just as long as you love him and do the best you can do, he is going to be fine." Now, I can't say I have done a good job – because my job isn't over and it won't ever be …. I will always be a mom and he will always be my "baby" – even when he is 60! I got a card when I was pregnant that said "to decide to have a baby is to decide to let your heart walk around outside of your body forever." I couldn't agree more… heartbeat just came in and kissed me on my head and said "I love you, Mom." Was two years of sleep deprivation, 30 extra pounds, 24 hours of labor, unknown amounts of poo, and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth it? ABSOLUTELY!

  • I joined the MOMS CLUB here locally when my oldest son, now 3, was 5 months old. I laugh now because I joke around that I have to pay for my friends, who by the way, are some of my closest friends and the BEST support network ever! It’s $20 a year and the monies collected go towards service projects for our community, activities for the kids, and supplies for our meetings. The free babysitting is a plus too- my playgroup rotates around and helps each other out whenever we can. I have two boys now (the baby is 1 1/2) and the benefits they have experienced cannot be replaced with any amount of money. I’m a joiner and I highly recommend that any new mommy join some kind of support network!

  • Love the Yorkie quote :"sh@tting for England"!
    I've managed to have both my babies in Germany, far away from family and most close friends (they're up by T.O. – you probably know them, along with Sam from Vancouver, etc.) and now that we're temporarily living Arizona (read: never want to live here again), I'm divided on the mommy group issue. I was overly a joiner in high school and when I went to university, stopped cold turkey. Unless there was cold, hard cash or some outrageous amount of fun involved. But I did join and ultimately help run a MOPS group while in Germany after my first one was born, mainly because I was volun-told and too sleep deprived to fight back. It was a diverse group of women and since all the little people were safely ensconced in the downstairs nursery, you could actually hear yourself think long enough to decide who you might want to talk to and who you didn't need to give two cents about, but just nod and smile over the nibblies provided. I liked it a lot. Trying to find something here has been a little more than trying – I feel like the freak Canuck who would rather be home in the snow or in Germany-thank-you-very-much-anyhow-for-the-John-McCain-button…Oh well. I say if since I can't really join them, then I'm going to subject myself to the 6th level of hell and go back for my doctorate while my children still think Mr. Dressup is a demigod who'll live forever. Oh, wait – oops.

  • Someone pointed me to your blog, and I'm glad I found it.

    I had my first baby in England whilst we were stationed there, and the Mommy Groups saved my life. People tend to be very real in Yorkshire, and I made some very good friends. No Perfect Pennys there, not when you're on the dusty floor of an ancient church hall, trying to keep a hot mug of tea in your shaking hands and constantly scanning the room for choking hazards. We were all on the same page, no matter our philosophies, all in the foxhole going from day to day, sometimes hour to hour. It was a relief to hear people speak honestly of the struggles of motherdom and not be afraid to call their little ones a pain in the tail…because sometimes, that's the only descriptor that fits them.

    Seven years later (this past February), I had my daughter, and the isolation is intense. I'm now living in Germany, far from any American community, and I was very, very grateful to find a group of British nationals who ran a playgroup not far from my house. Bea's been going there since she was 3 months old, and just hearing my mother tongue being spoken has been like a gift. I wouldn't have cared if they'd told me my child had the face of a llama and that I smelled like a fish taco…I just needed to hear adult conversation in English for a while.

    There is nothing beautiful, noble, sanctified, or natural about motherhood. It's ceaseless, demanding work with a high accountability, no pay, and no benefits because children take far more than they ever give back. On the days Bea is sh*tting for England and producing rivers of snot and I can feel pieces of me burning away, the only tiny comfort I have is knowing that we ALL go through the same thing, even the Penny Perfects. I qualify as an "older mom" because I had Bea at 39, and I can tell you it gives one hell of a perspective and a bottom-line kind of gritty confidence that every mother needs. And yes, you NEED those playgroups, even if they act like they don't need you because you need to shut off the Greek chorus in your head which is telling you that everything you're doing is Wrong Wrong Wrong. And chances are, you'll find someone who's got a tale to tell that will curl your nose hairs.

    Life is messy, motherhood even more so, and it's never a finished product. Anyone saying they've got it all under control is either harbouring a secret drinking problem or focussing on the wrong things or is on automatic pilot. Pity the Penny Perfects…they're the ones who'll wind up in a home by age 60 wondering why they feel so empty whilst the rest of us will still be skipping gaily along with a martini in one hand, laughing like loons because the absurdity of it all is just too much for words.

  • If someone does not get the 'it puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again' reference– we can't be good friends. We can be friendly. I might even like the person. But we can't be good friends if they don't get it.

    It's a metaphor for WHO they are.

    This is a fun blog. Love it.


  • Ah the perfect penny, she's probably knee deep in poop as we speak, I remember those days, right after my twins were born, I took a look at them in their cribs and screamed, OMG, what do I do next? Only with twins it's a different set of comparisons, oh how long were YOUR babies in the NICU? How much did they weigh, oh my, that's not much. Oh that's too bad, that kinda crap. It was very isolating when they were little, trying to take two babies everywhere and a huge hunkin stroller was impossible some days, I would only go to the places that had automatic doors, so I could shove the stroller through. Anyway hope it's better for you now.

  • Yeah, in my experience you have to try a whole bunch of mommy groups then choose one you like and ditch the others. I've had really good luck with MOPS groups. Also, remember that you can meet cool mommies to discuss poop with at the mall play area or the library story time, too. I've met some really good friends at the library!

  • Mommy Groups are definitely more of a first time mom thing. And while it is nice to connect with others in the same boat, I was lucky to have friends off on mat leave with me. We did attend a few mommy and me classes, even with a woman who brought her one child and her nanny, but in the end did our own thing.

    Once you have more than one human you are responsible for, play groups become a better outlet for mom's and kids. Because by that time, everyone realizes kids eat dirt, cry at inopportune times, and don't stay clean even if you bathed them five minutes previously. At play group, you can sit back, let your kids play, and drink your coffee with other moms who are a little more grounded having gone through the process more than once.

  • I met a wonderful group of 1st time moms in a water aerobics class at my gym when we were all prego. We formed our own group and meet up frequently to exercise or socialize. Maybe its b/c we are all older (youngest mom is 29), but we are all very supportive of one another and realize there is more than 1 way 2 parent. I am so grateful for this group. I think finding a group with other like-minded moms with things in common is key to having fun!

  • Great post!

    I am not typically a 'joiner' either, but after the birth of my twins I tried a local group called "Hip Mamas" because so many people had said as a single Mom to twins I needed a support group. . .I had to wait until a spot opened up in the group to get "interviewed". Seriously.

    At first I was like oh you pretentious girls can shove your exclusive little group . . but I was also too morbidly curious to let it go after that. What was so special about them??

    Turns out their specialness was being competi-moms and I quit after my "interview". Seems being a single Mom of twins is up the ladder on the uber competative scale, so I was the benchmark to try to reach. Not cool. I was a single Mom and didn't want to be single, and I had twins, which was completely out of my control . . . deal with it! Oh and my birth story involved a seizure at 30 weeks during a 100 year blizzard, being dug out by the fire department and having an emergency c-section with a 50% chance of survival. Also, not my choice and certainly not the ideal way to do it!

    What I should have done was told them I've been happily married for 10 years to my high school sweetheart, struggled with infertility and finally paid 50K to buy donated embryos and had a long, hard 30 hour labor before finally begin given a c-section because I sucked too much at pushing.

    Anyways, thanks for letting me get that off my chest!

  • Really, about all I have to say is this: I just wish there had been "Mommy Groups" and other things when my children were born. They are now 33 and 32. And I would not be able to share in the worst delivery stories. My Daughters-in-law don't want to hear about my 6-hour labor with my first child. The second one was only 4 hours, but that also included a 100 mile ride in an ambulance during the worst snow storm of the year. That's because he was almost 8 weeks early! "Nuff said! Happy Motherhood everyone. It is quite a ride!

  • Thanks for the heads up! I'll have to "carefully" look into something, I'm the first of my friends having a baby and my hubby's friends are all super excited he's having a kid but none of them have any (it kind of makes me feel like "the uterus").

    Oh well, if they're free you only really have to go to one right? Haha

  • I've never been a joiner, either (My husband is constantly nagging me for being a people hater.)……but while I was pregnant, I couldn't wait to do some baby & me things. My excitement quickly vanished at my first encounter of the local moms. I was frowned upon because my son drank his breast milk from a bottle instead of at the source. And all Hell broke loose when I asked a mom about her choice of cloth diapers, genuinely interested — silly me, I thought that was what these things were for – to help each other figure out this parenting gig. One other mother took it upon herself to turn a relaxing afternoon by the lake into a heated debate. Being the instigator, I retreated slowly, shooting apologetic eyes at the Eco-mom as she sat there having to defend herself.

    I went back to the same group a couple more times, thinking I could find some like-minds to branch off with. This is when I encountered the Fair-weather Moms — the moms who only do the fun things with their kids, and leave the crap parts to the help. I couldn't listen to one more person complain about the nanny screwing up pre-school drop off (AGAIN!). Nothing against people who have live-in help, but it's really hard to swallow when the most consecutive hours of sleep I get is 4. They just weren't my people.

    I have since tried another group, which I find better, but there's just no avoiding the Competi-Moms. It sends me over the edge to have to sit and listen to people brag about things that they really have no control over — your baby's teeth deciding to poke through their gums does not make you Master of the Parenting Universe, thankyouverymuch.

    Btw — I've never heard the term commenter Susie used (placenta dementia), but I like it……much more pleasant then my explanation that your brain falls out along with the placenta. Why Baby Brain is not an accredited medical term, I'll never know!

  • I did the baby group thing after my daughter was born. I was also the first out of my friends to have a baby, and those that did were back at work already. So, I packed up my daughter, lined up down the sidewalk on registration day just to get a spot. (anything that requires a line up for a free program must be good, right?!) We sat in a circle politely singing nursery rhymes we realized we didn't know more than the first verse to, and sizing up each other's mommy ability. There was the mom who wouldn't let anyone kiss her daughter on the face because germs from people's mouths caused those little pimply spots on babies' faces. The other mom who declared that she wasn't going to feed her daughter meat until she was 4 years old. I also joined a stroller fitness class. There I discovered the mom who was able to breastfeed her new born, while jogging, and pushing a stroller with her toddler in it. (She was at the front of the pack).

    It's hard not to measure yourself against the other moms, but to be honest, it was the best thing I did. I met my now best friend at that play group. She had that "i hate being a joiner" look, and I caught her rolling her eyes at the same things I did. We helped each other through the perils of babies, toddlers, second children, and now birthday parties, and family dinners with lots of wine!

  • I love this post!! When I had my first baby I never did mommy groups, hell, I didn't even know they existed!! When I had my twins in Nov. 2009 the public health nazis kept trying to push me to go to these groups for support, like I was going to to jump out of the window or something. Honestly, there was NOTHING that any parent at these "groups" could have said to me to make things easier or better, unless they had twins of their own. I have found the best online support group though and I don't have to try and wrangle babies into a vehicle to make it to the meeting on time. So what I am trying to say is Nayyy.

  • This is a really useful post – I also don't think of myself as a 'joiner' and wouldn't normally want to join a group of women with whom I have little in common, but I've signed up to our local group so it's nice to hear it might not be as bad as I'm worrying it could be.

  • Susie, I think you need a blog of your own! Or maybe you already have one! Your comment was just as entertaining as the blog post 🙂 I'm pregnant with our first so who knows whether I will join a mommy group or not. However, I am already sick of the labor horror stories, and the you don't know what you're in fors, and the your life will change forever so enjoy it while it lasts, etc. I KNOW my life will change! I KNOW labor will be hard! But for heaven's sake people, let me experience it for myself!!!

  • When my son was born, I was the first of all my friends to have a baby. None of them "got it" and I felt ridiculous talking about every little detail of his life. None of them wanted to hear about the poo, the gurgles, my issues breastfeeding, my birth story, but I was on auto-pilot, and I couldn't stop myself, even though their eyes glazed over when I started rambling. I blame the total lack of sleep, and the sheer drain of being a 24/7 dairy cow for my complete unability to read their cues, and also for my lack of diverse topics of conversation. What happened to the independent, eductated woman who had plenty of opinions of a range of matters? Apparently, pushing a baby out of your va-jay-jay has the ability to rob you of your independence, and your mental powers. Placenta dementia, indeed.
    At 6 weeks, I went to a few sessions of the local Mommy Group. I only went to a few, and to be honest, I can barely remember them, other than it was FREEZING (my son was born in December), and people gave me shit for not putting a hat or socks on my kid. I figured, if it meant going from point a, to point b, without him turning bright red, scrunching up his face and screaming like only a newborn can, I would forgo the use of socks and hats. I know, I'm the front runner for Bad Mother of the Year Award.
    Overall, I didn't like the meetings. I loved hearing people's birth stories, and sharing my own, but the competitiveness of it all was sort of depressing. I did like the ability to watch other people struggle as much as I was struggling, and know that it wasn't all puppydogs and lollipops everyday all day. I'm sure it sounds awful, but to see other people doing worse than I was, brought me a tremendous sense of self-worth. Oh my. I try very hard not to judge others, and although I know my baby is the best (please, show me a mother that doesn't believe that of their own child) I am no braggart. I tried very hard to keep our little successes to myself, and only shared the bad parts. I figured, if others knew my problems, maybe they would also feel better about themselves. Win-win?
    Not quite a Mommy Group, at 6 weeks I also signed up for post-natal fitness class. I paid for 10 weeks worth, I couldn't stand it. I dropped out after two classes. Sure, it made me feel like I was getting my pizzadough paunch back into shape, but I couldn't handle the comments from "experienced" moms, going on and on about how it's only going to get worse, "Just wait… you ain't seen nothing yet". Great, thanks for the encouragement. As if I wasn't already wondering how to make it through the next 24 hours without wanting to jump out the window. Why can't people just be supportive?
    Sometimes I wish I could just tell people to shut the hell up. I don't care how perfect your child is, how easy your labour was, how great you sleep at night. I really don't care about a lot. I don't need advice, I'm going to do things my way, so stop effing judging me. Let me be me, and I'll let you be you. Because, really, when it comes down to it, the best judges of our parenting skills are our children. Meet me at the support group for parents of teenagers. There, we can compare how much our kids hate us, and have them tell us what we should have done differently! They're the only ones that really know 🙂

  • You know, I'd thought about the "play group" thing too… thanks for testing the waters.
    At least I could avoid that whole I-don't-think-this-is-working awkardness by punching Perfect Penny in the face and spilling grape juice on her snowflake.
    At least I can take confidence in knowing I'll win "worst delivery" in every group!!!

    And the poo thing!!! Parents are so much more interested in poo than non-parents; we talked for a half hour about poo catching with a fellow parent. The non-parent was TERRIFIED. Muhahsha.

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