Whether you work outside of your home or you’re a stay at home mom, being a parent is hard work. One of the best ways to keep your sanity while parenting is to spend time with other moms who are going through the same issues as you. No one else is better equipped to help you through temper tantrums, late night feedings, potty training, and diaper changing. If you don’t have a mothering group in your area, starting one is relatively simple and you’ll love the time you get to spend with other women, sharing advice and stories.
The first step to starting a parenting group is to decide who you want your group to cater to. Would you like it to be a group of young mothers? Older mothers? Working moms? Moms of toddlers? Moms of infants? Or would you like your group to be for any mother who lives in your city?
Once you have decided who your group will be for, it’s time to figure out what sorts of activities you want your group to do, as well as how often you’ll meet. Some mommy groups meet weekly, while others meet monthly. There are many different types of activities you can do with your group — craft days, park playdates, visiting local museums, swimming, playing games, or picnic lunches. Depending on how often you want to meet, your group can do the same activities at each meeting or your group can rotate activities.
Once you have your basic goals in mind for your group, it’s time to start advertising. You can try posting advertisements on local mailboxes and bulletin boards, or by handing out flyers at the park. You can also advertise online. Many mommy groups are now using message boards to discuss when and where they’ll meet, and what types of activities they’ll be doing at each meeting.
Meetup.com is one of the easiest websites to use for your group. Meetup allows your group to have a calendar where members can RSVP for each event. This simplifies your job as the group’s organizer because you aren’t constantly trying to keep track of who wants to attend.
Other moms use message boards such as Cafemom.com to keep in touch. This website is free to use and is a very popular board, so your group is sure to get a lot of exposure to local moms.
In an age of networking, still other mother groups use websites such as Facebook or Myspace to advertise their group and keep track of members.
Once you have members and scheduled meeting times for your group, it’s important to also have behavior policies in set. Will you allow mothers to gossip at your playdates? What should a mom do if her child misbehaves? How will you handle personal disputes between mothers? It’s important to decide these things and share your decisions with the group so that each member is well aware of the policies and guidelines.
The benefits of sharing parenthood with a community of women is endless. The laughter, stories, and support you will share will be an amazing asset in some of the most challenging and exciting years of your life.