The best group I ever joined

One of the best things that I did with Kyle his first year was joining a mom’s group. We came together as each one of us knew one person, who knew another, and so on, until there were 8 of us (some months later, a few other mom’s joined as well). The youngest (my son Kyle) and the oldest baby were only 2 months apart in age. Our weekly get-together’s were full of stories, discussions, giving / taking advice, listening, laughing, and of course lots of crying, playing, hungry and sleepy babies. In fact, of all the activities I did with Kyle, this was his favourite. He didn’t need my constant attention as he was able to run and play with all his friends* and I was able to socialize without feeling guilty. Ok, maybe it was my favourite too!

                      Kyle and his friends

We were all first time parents so we had a lot to ask and share. Having the youngest baby there definitely had its advantages. Everyone else’s kid went through major milestone before I did and the other moms were able to provide me with a lot of insight about what to expect and do. I remember that solid food scared me. What do I give him? How early? What size can it be? What’s not allowed and so on… I was so grateful to have these amazing women in my life. I always came home and told my husband “well, so and so said this…” And “so and so is doing this with their baby, so we also should”. My mind was at ease knowing that I’m following a route that other amazing mothers have taken and succeeded in.

There were times though, where I felt like the odd one out.  By no means at fault of the other ladies, but just a fact.  I was a bit different from the rest of them.  Not necessarily my personality, but my parenting / mommy style.  For starters, I think I was the only one that owned a “hooter hider” (also known as a cover-up for breast-feeding).  Just to be clear, I had no issues breast-feeding without covering up at the comfort of my home around my female family and friends and my husband.  But when our male friends or family were around, I always covered up.  At least for the first several months.  I think more than anything, I felt that it was weird for them more than me, and I didn’t want them (mostly the men from my husband’s family) to feel uncomfortable.  I remember my first trip to the mall at the Eatons centre when Kyle was around a month.  I frantically searched for a nursing room to find out that the only one in the whole mall was on the xth floor at Sears.  Honestly?  At that point, I was just not ready to breast feed on the benches right in the middle of the mall, even with a cover-up.  So off I went, out of my way, to the nursing room.

The other big difference between me and the rest of the mothers was with regards to solid food.  I think almost all of them bought organic food for their kids or made food from scratch. I on the other hand would have been wise to invest in Gerber immediately before Kyle was born!  I also didn’t believe in spending more money for organic.  While everyone only fed their babies organic, one of the girls commented that I only fed “non-organic”.  Luckily, Kyle was the youngest so no one really asked me for my advice on this topic.  I think I was too embarrassed to admit this to them at the time but I can’t believe how naive I was on this topic!  Yes, I still bought pre-made food, but Kyle switched from puree to solid food within 3 months, so I just fed him whatever we were having for dinner.  I also started buying organic fruit.  I read about it a lot, and realized the benefits.  In fact, the fruit markets next to our house sell them only for a marginal increase.  And I figured that while I’m at it, I might as well switch to green cleaning products.  I thought to myself – if the other mom’s could only see me now!

There were also instances where I didn’t always contribute to the conversations.  While by no means was Kyle a GREAT sleeper (are any babies great sleepers?), he was pretty good.  Our first topic of conversation during our weekly get-together’s was always regarding sleep (of course).  Unfortunately (or fortunately for my sleep), I didn’t really have much to “complain” about, so I just sat by while people chatted away.  I kind of felt guilty that I couldn’t chime in.  Luckily, I had plenty to say when our discussions turned to our parents and in-laws!

There were certainly times when I felt like the odd one out, and I’m sure there were times where the others felt like this too. But we all had one thing we could relate to – the challenges and joys of being a new mom! We were all taking motherhood one day at a time and it was nice knowing that others were feeling the same ups and downs that I was. For this reason, I would highly recommend that all new moms join a mom’s group if they can.  There’s nothing like other first-time mom’s to make you feel sane and normal when you’re just trying to stay a float…

I truly miss the weekly get-together’s and feel so fortunate to have met such an amazing group of mothers.  Alas, they all went back to work and left me on my own at home.  We are all currently “planning” on having our second child together so we can continue our mom’s group for a second round…If I get invited back. Regardless of what the future holds for us, I will cherish the memories for years to come.

* Ok – he really mostly just lay on the floor (see picture above)

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