this is why I normally skip Monday playgroups

There will be 7 women here tomorrow with 7 three year olds and 4 more that are 18 months or younger. Heaven help me.

Our playgroup started out with 12 women back when our oldest kids were babies. I took James for the first time when he was 8 weeks and I think we were planning our Friday lunches within a couple weeks of that. We met at a Mother/Baby group at a local hospital and it was exactly what I needed. I was a new mother and had no other friends with children and no family close by - kind of isolating, to say the least. The first 8 weeks with James were rough and this group was really the first time I even ventured out with him alone, other than to Target or something. The hospital group was much larger but our group-within-a-group pretty much stayed the same from the start. Oh, we invited others and a few came a few times but none seemed as interested as we were so we quickly shut them out. (HA! just checking if you're still reading! I'm kidding, of course!)

We started meeting for a potluck lunch every Friday at a different home. We were still in an apartment at the time and the first time I hosted it was pretty cozy. :) Everybody brought something and there was always tons of food and we just sat around and ate and nursed and held our babies (or tried to get them to sleep in another crib - yea right!) It was unusual for everyone to show up but we normally had at least 6 or 7, I'd say. A lot of the women who are now working part time were still off at this point so there were lots of hours to fill and everyone was happy for a reason to get out of the house with their tiny one. We all had email and it was our preferred method of communication right from the start - a ringing phone could wake a baby, you know.

As the kids started getting a little bigger we would meet for walks or go to the mall or zoo - a local theater even had a Mommy Matinee so we could go see movies with our babes on Tuesday mornings. One Tuesday, soon after the program started, the paper came to interview those of us that were there and James & I, along with Kate & Natalie, had our picture in the paper. I'll have to dig that out some time.

Side note: The first time I went to Mother/Baby hour I sat a couple people away from Kate. I didn't know her at the time, of course, but we ended up in a smaller group talking when the class was over. She asked if anyone would watch Natalie while she ran to the bathroom and said she'd do the same for us. I still clearly remember Natalie laying there in a red sleeper. When Kate came back I took her up on her offer and skipped off to the bathroom ALL BY MY SELF! Oh, the freedom she gave me, the sweet precious freedom to pee alone. It was at that moment that I decided Kate would be my friend for life. :)

So, here we are 3 years later, still getting together on a weekly basis. We actually have 2 scheduled playgroups a week now - and yes, we have a schedule. It's drawn up for 3 months at a time on a volunteer basis. One woman moved away a while ago and another family is living over in the UK for the year so we are down to 10. We also have a monthly MNO (moms night out) and the occasional weekend family bbq or outing. Lots of us do things on a more individual basis now (in a group this large you will naturally gravitate towards one or two) and while that has caused some strife a time or two, I think we've all managed pretty well. We normally only go to one of the scheduled groups a week because the timing still conflicts with Rubys' 2 nap schedule. I tend to avoid Monday groups because they are so big (7 three year olds and 4 toddler/babies are a LOT to deal with for James, Ruby and myself) but having it here will make it easier. I think I'll take some before/after pics to post tomorrow. :)

I don't want to paint it all rosy & perfect, it's not, but it's definitely been a big & really fun part of my life for a long time. I genuinely care about these women and really love all these kids of ours. (That just keep coming, by the way. There will be 4 more additions this summer and fall!) I wrote a while ago how I recently felt I needed "more" in my life and now that I've found some new things and met some new people, I am back to feeling positive and thankful for our group again.

I didn't even touch how wonderful I feel this has been for James - that is another post in itself. I came down here to post about the delicious bars I made for us for tomorrow and it kind of took on a life of its' own!

Comments

  1. I've been part of a similar playgroup... I met them online. Gasp! ;) There were six of us moms and we each had two kids then. It got chaotic (in a good way!) but then three moms ended up moving away and that leaves three of us moms (us three have nine kids between us now). I'm so happy that one of the mommas is homeschooling too so we just keep on our playgroup tradition now that the oldest kids are 6-6.5yo.

    I hope things went well with your wild-and-wooly playdate today!

    Seriously- I wish all moms had a playgroup like these, they are soooo wonderful especially in this day and age of the nuclear family.

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  2. I know - I think it saved me! I still tell all the new mamas that I come across about Mother/Baby hour, I just think it's the best thing.

    That's neat that you can continue while homeschooling - I bet that's important. We are talking how things will be different next year with most of the kids on different preschool schedules. sniffle.

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  3. Awwww, glad to hear you still want to get together with us, even though I feel like I have been in whiny mode lately. It's surprising to me how resistant people are to Mother-Baby Hour. Several women I know who have had their first babies have been reluctant to go? Wonder why that is? With no family around, it was a life-saver to me (and I never would've met you (hugs)).

    Kate

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