New mom groups – why aren't they a bigger thing in the US?

posted 5 months ago in Parenting
Post # 16
Member
493 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

I think it depends on your area and you have to seek it out to an extent.  I am expecting my first and hired a group of doulas to attend the birth.  The benefit of their practice is that they offer prenatal and postpartum workshops for all of their clients that are expecting around the same time.  This gives us the opportunity to be around other couples prior to and post birth.  I have not socialized with these people outside of the workshops, but imagine I may once the baby is here.  My community also has new parent groups that I hope to join shortly after my baby arrives.  So in my experience, it is really about seeking it out and putting myself out there. 

Post # 17
Member
6033 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

I know several people who have been part of mom groups and loved them (US Bee here, based in the crunchy granola SF Bay Area). I didn’t join one because I was already a part of several other (unrelated) women’s groups where several of us started having children around the same time so I got my “mommy group” experiences there and through my connections with friends and family.

I think many mothers feel a lot of the stress and pressure of our unhealthy US family leave policies and it shows in some of the ugliness that comes out of many stranger mommy interactions. It was my experience, though, that when I was becoming a mother, all of the mothers around me gathered me in and checked in on me and provided a lot of loving support and guidance. I actually found it really helpful, too, to have mothers who were a few years ahead of me in experience because they were out of the most challenging aspects of the transition (which kept me hopeful!) but they were still close enough to remember the acuteness of their own experience and would randomly reach out and say things like “Hey! Your baby is about 4 months old, right? How are you? Are you getting enough rest? When is the last time you got out and did something fun? Do you need anything? What’s your address; I’m sending you a care package.”

Post # 18
Member
1822 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

Im from new Zealand & mum’s groups are huge. Women generally meet through their antenatal class. My sister had a baby 4 months ago & i think she catches up with these girls once a week.  They have coffee together & maybe go for a walk or each others houses. It’s a support network.

Then again we get a year off work. I have a friend in Australia with a toddler daughter and mothers groups are huge there too. 

Post # 19
Member
6945 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

I already have lots of friends who are moms – actually all my friends are moms, so I have just never felt the need for a “mommy group”. I’m also like a solid 5-10 years older than most of the moms in the mommy group in my area. I’ve found that my parenting style and ideas just don’t allign with a lot of new moms. I graduated college without facebook and just don’t feel the need to live or die by social media. I’m not a co-sleep, nurse until they’re 5, cloth diaper mom. There is nothing wrong with those moms, they’re just not the moms I want to hang out with. 😉 Like others have said, moms are soooo damn judgemental so I prefer to keep my mom friends that I already have. .

Post # 20
Member
11807 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

I’m in the US and new mom groups are very popular in my area. I was involved in one that started with our childbirth group and transitioned to a baby and toddler playgroup. Some of my best friends to this day were from this time.  We ranged from full time working moms to part-time working moms to stay at home moms. Contrary to a PP ‘s experience, our group was extremely supportive and friendly. 

Post # 21
Member
1364 posts
Bumble bee

There are tons of mom groups in my area.  It seems to be the most active type of group actually.  In regard to the previous poster’s feelings on entitied bitches & mom shaming I have to think that much of that is in online which is really unfortunate.  Online is the way many people find their group. Even though in person meetups are much kinder & more supportive, the online aspect can be extremely discouraging & alienating to any group and ultimately can affect offline participation as well.  

In the US where maternal or family leave lags behind many of our counterparts it would make sense that a higher ratio of participation happens online than in person comparatively.

I am not a mom by choice but even still, mom shaming really bums me out.  And I agree that it’s a pervasive problem in the us, or at least in parts of it.  

 

Post # 22
Member
7733 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

I’m part of a mom’s group and it’s pretty great. We have children of all ages, have play dates, a monthly Mom’s night out, and we take meals to moms who have had a new baby or had surgery etc. 

Post # 23
Member
395 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

megm1099 :  wow, I’m really sorry your friends have had that experience…I’m also in upstate NY, and I have to say my experience has been totally different. I’m in a couple groups that are more parent/baby activity groups (like a music class) vs a specifically new mom-group, and I’ve experienced only commraderie and acceptance of different parenting methods. 

Post # 24
Member
9026 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

megm1099 :  It is not just in the US. We have had participants with restraining orders against each other, have had to disband groups due to bullying and shaming and I must say the most troublesome groups at any community centre I have worked at were the mothers groups (new mums, playgroups, etc). I am in Australia.

Post # 25
Member
9026 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

I think a big part of it is also that in the majority of the countries mentioned there is funding available from all levels of government (federal, state and local) for community services like this. There is a gold coin donation for all the groups where I am but toys, art supplies and facilitators/guest speakers are funded either directly by a level of government or via a grant.

For example playgroups victoria take out an insurance policy that covers every single playgroup in the state that joins their organisation. The fee to join is nominal and also provides them with countless resources and access to subsidised courses (like cpr and first aid). That is a huge cost saving because insurance can cost anywhere from $500 to $1800 for a community group.

Local councils also make facilities available at no or low cost for the groups to meet. It is free for 6 months here where I am for community groups with a $5 per hr fee after that for the use of a room/hall. 

I also find that the community development or childrens services teams of local councils and other organisations (like aboriginal or cultural groups, churches, charities that service women) also apply for funding to provide groups for mothers and children. Or provide childcare so mums can attend groups/services that they run.

But this only happens because our society see’s the value in using taxes for these purposes. I am CFBC but happily pay taxes that contribute to providing these services for others. Just like for elderly, disabled or cultural diversed people.

Post # 26
Member
654 posts
Busy bee

TravelingBride31 :  i’m in the northeast and am a part of a mom group for kids born the same season as my son and love it. It’s great because we can bounce experiences off each other and share laughs about what our kids are currently doing. You can join some Facebook groups when you get pregnant and hopefully you’ll be able to make some good connections. 

Post # 27
Member
269 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I feel that in my urban area, I could throw a stick in any direction and hit a mom group. They aren’t set up through the hospital though, more through interests. I know friends in mom groups for running, mall walking, ones based on the month their kids are born in, breastfeeding, part of the city they are in, different areas of interests… 

Post # 28
Member
1768 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

US bee, upstate NY.  I paid to go to a new mom meet-up night, but it got canceled because I was the only person who signed up.  I have met some nice people in my daughter’s gymnastics class, but I am not really outgoing enough to develop relationships with them outside of the class.  I find facebook to be the most useful resource for connecting with other parents for me.  There are various acquaintances I had from high school who I now chat with online all the time about mom stuff, just because we both have shared similar experiences on facebook.

Post # 29
Member
416 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I’m in New England and there were some options when I had my kiddo 2.5 years ago. For me, the problem was I only got my act together to get out of the house on time at around six weeks post-partum, at which point my leave was half over, and as an introvert, I found it hard to integrate into a group that seemed already established because it was dominated by SAHMs who had been coming for many months. I’m pregnant with my second and have found a different group to try this time. We’ll see! 

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