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In the weeks after my son was born, I remember feeling like I was drifting through newborn-hood with ease, euphoria and the glow of a mum that was just “meant to be”. Looking back, I think I was partly coping and partly high on my sleep deprivation and caffeine combo!

There is no doubt, however, that Mothers Group was and is my weekly light at the end of the tunnel. I’m in mummy love, which is why the break-up is so hard.

Joining the Mothers Group Tribe

Walking into my first Mothers Group session with a 6-week-old poppet in the pram was akin to my first day at school. I had packed my nappy bag the night before, I had checked and re-checked the pram walking route to the community centre, I allowed myself enough time to pick-up a takeaway large skim latte and… I was the first one there. After arriving, I fretted that my baby would need a nappy change, cry or even worse – need to be breastfed (which I hadn’t yet done with an audience) – at some point in the next hour. But I needn’t have worried. The next mum to arrive was a kiwi like me, super friendly, similar story, and I knew right away that everything would be fine as we were all in this experience together.

“Mothers Group” can take many forms and regardless of how your tribe is created (be it through your local community centre or chatting to mums at the local playground), the outcome is still the same and provides essential support, advice, guidance, friendship and love – particularly during those tough first months.

The Break-up

At some point in the past 12 months our Mothers Group transitioned from “essential” to “something-fun-to-do” status. Initially united in our cluelessness, we can now read our baby’s mind, pre-empt a dirty nappy and understand when they’re crying for the blue block instead of the green.

We’re no longer in survival mode, but rather looking for other likeminded individuals that we relate to as friends as well as mums. As much as I respect and admire all of the lovely mums I was fortunate to meet, I’ve found myself naturally gravitating towards the ones that have a similar approach to parenting, socialising, love, life and coffee habits as I do.

Some mums have returned to work after maternity leave, others have moved away from the area, and some are just naturally growing apart. Either way, our 20-strong group is starting to disperse.

I guess that’s to be expected, but after sharing such a special and intimate beginning with each and every one of them, there’s a part of me that feels like my family is breaking up.

Separation Anxiety

I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, as so many mums I’ve spoken to have talked about similar scenarios with their own Mothers Group. I’ve come to the realisation that as a new mum I question myself daily and doubt myself frequently, so it’s important I surround myself with positive, supportive mums, and I shouldn’t feel guilty about that. Likewise, I’ve accepted that the blissful first year is coming to an end and we need to get back to our separate lives.

Where for art thou Mothers Group?

I’m happy to say that since our first official Mothers Group session we still meet regularly, and I’m definitely a proud member of my tribe; a group of inspiring, latte drinking, nappy rash discussing, café clogging, playground frequenting women, who always make me laugh when I need it most. I’m sure I’ve made some forever friends here.

The cherry on top is the accompanying gaggle of toddlers who I love to pieces – I’m sure in much the same way that actual tribes of women loved and cared for the children in a united way.

Mothers Group Etiquette

Mums can be a funny lot, so get the most out of your group by keeping these tips in mind…

  1. Share don’t brag: There’s a fine line between sharing your experiences and bragging about your child’s brilliance, but you’ll find you’ll get the support you’re looking for if you do more of the former
  2. No judgement: There are millions of ways to parent, so try to stay open minded
  3. Take advice with love: Take others advice as just that, and don’t feel pressured to act on anything you don’t agree with
  4. Let the parent, parent: Women can be very territorial with their kids, so be appropriate in your interactions with other children (i.e. don’t discipline another child or feed them something without checking with mum first)
  5. Show up: Organise get togethers and – just like you would any relationship – make the effort; this will help you feel a part of your tribe

What is your Mothers Group experience? Did you have any challenges you needed to overcome, and are you still together?

  • I’ve never been part of a mothers group as such, but always had catch ups with mum fiends.

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  • I lived for our weekly Mother’s Group sessions. My son had colic, although it took forever to diagnose, so I was the Mum with the screaming bub whilst most other babies slept. I needed the out from home, to see grown-ups, but found myself sometimes leaving the group early so my baby wouldn’t wake or upset everyone. It did get better though and we shared many birthdays, etc. together. My son is now 17, and 3 or four original large group still have regular coffee dates. There were many break-ups and people leaving the group for various reasons, but it’s something I really treasure and it helped me through PND and motherhood in those early years.

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  • I loved our Mothers Group sessions. I am still friends with a 3 of the ladies, one more than the rest.

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  • I am in contact with one of the mothers from the mothers group.

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  • You always need to check with other parents before offering another child food because of risk of allergy or it may contain something the parents don’t want the child to eat. I know a Mum who had a party at her home. She showed the Mums the food before she offered it to any of the children. If a Mum said “no” she was going to find something else and not offer it to any of them as most of the children were young toddlers

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  • Well…at 6 months old we went to our CYH group for new mothers.

    It began with 6 of us who completed our course. And continued catching up, some of us attended other play group type set ups and 3-4 other people joined in on our catch ups.

    Great at first, but one of the extra members caused huge ripples and long story short we lost 3 members due to spun stories (which was a hard time).

    Now we are 4 stronger mums who saw through the adversity and now our children are coming up 7 and after siblings and growing families we still catch up (even this week we are planning one). Although it’s not as frequent now we have school etc I am so proud to call them my friends and enjoy seeing their kids grow.

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  • My bubs is now 9 months and my mothers group has pretty much now stopped catching up as a group. I catch up with a few of them from time to time but we are now at the point where we are all starting about thinking about returning to work.
    Some people from mothers group I haven’t seen since the group sessions at the early childhood centre.
    I had heard mixed things about mothers group and I was lucky to have a great group.

    Reply

  • Our babies in my mothers group are only 8-9months old and we are already struggling to find time to catch up. We are all working different days. I see a few separately occasionally but it is so hard to get us all together at the same time. Life is too busy.

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  • I wish I had been part of a mothers group it would have been great

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  • I had mixed experiences with mothers group but I did gain one extra special friend.

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  • Our kids are 11 yrs old now & we still get together once a year.

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  • I loved my mothers group but had the same experience where I felt more comfortable with some of the mums than others. Our children are now 10 so we started drifting apart ages ago. I still wish I was in touch with some of them but catching up isn’t a priority for them with so many other things demanding their attention.

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  • I love my mothers group, facebook is a great way for us all to stay in touch and we meet up randomly and at big meets. Its great support!

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  • I met my best friend at a mothers group.

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  • never did mothers groups much, only went a few times, I never felt comfortable there

    Reply

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