A while ago Joy, Of Course! wrote in her one word meme that she was not wearing a tiara. That made me laugh. But I have to tell you that today I type this wearing a tiara. It is hot pink, and it is MINE, not my daughters (although you and I both know it will end up in her dress-up box, but still...) I won this "Perfectly Pink Tiara" at the annual banquet of my local MOMS Club. I won the "Miss Ellen Degeneres" award - aka "most enthusiastic and funny" (thanks, girls!)
So I thought this might be a good time, while wearing my tiara, to tell you about my experience with Mommy groups.
When the May Queen was 3 months old, I finally went to a group designed for mommies and their infants (under 1) held at the hospital where MQ was born. It was run by a wonderfully patient woman who was both trained in parenting and an experienced mom of four. She was nonjudgmental and very caring. The group was a time for everyone to talk about their concerns and their joys, and for others to respond. Our fabulous leader spoke words of wisdom, certainly, but what she mostly did was taught us to trust ourselves as mommies. This group met every other week, but many of us began walking weekly, meeting regularly at the park, scrapbooking in the afternoons, and having holiday parties together. We continued to do this long after we "graduated" out of the class. This group also provided for me a friend who would become closer than I realized as we ate lunch together once a week, and our girls grew up together. Moving away from this fabulous group of women was difficult.
So when I arrived here in Louisiana and a friend at church mentioned The MOMS Club, I immediately joined her for an event, and wasted no time getting involved. The MOMS Club is an international organization (click on the link to find a chapter near you). There is no "qualified leader" of this organization, but rather it is led by a board of dedicated moms just like myself. What it provided for me was a full calendar of activities outside of the home, a chance to meet other moms, and a way to learn about the activities available in our new community. I have enjoyed being a part of this club immensely, and sing it's praises regularly, even though it did not provide the close friendships I found in the other group. A lot of that is just luck, I suppose.
Mommy groups don't work for everyone. But for me, who lives far away from family and friends, who thrives on activity and adult interaction, and who needed someone to talk to who would understand rather than go all glazed-out-eyes on me when I fretted over the May Queens naps (or lack of naps, as the case would be), they were a life saver. A true beacon of hope when my bag of entertaining tricks was empty by 9:30 in the morning.
As the May Queen draws closer to starting Kindergarten (which is all day down here) I know that my time and dedication to this group of Mommies will change. It already has. But I will never cease to recommend it to people.