Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The politics of moms groups...Where do you fit in?

Do you participate in a "moms group" or have a regular playdate or meetup that you attend?  It wasn't until after my second pregnancy that I even found out such things existed.  I suppose I should have known when my daughter (my first child) was born that there were people I could meet, groups I could join, etc. but I was a new mom and aside from hanging out with family, cousins, and a couple friends who had kids, it really didn't occur to me to seek out a group and try to meet other moms.

After having my twin sons and literally being housebound with them and my my 3.5 yr old I turned to the computer to find a support group for moms of multiples.  Indeed I did find great support in the form of a huge message board community and it is there that I was first turned on to cloth diapers.

When my sons were around age 8 months old I decided it was time I try to meet some like-minded moms to hang around, maybe even some who cloth diapered!  Imagine that, I felt like I was the only one around, but they were here all along, I just had to find them!

I started a group for cloth diapering and "natural" minded moms on Meetup.com and the groups membership immediately took off.

Fast forward to now, my sons have turned four and the group that I started has been meeting and hanging out online together for over three years.  We've got a great group and many have developed friendships that will last a lifetime.  But what I've discovered... is that even among a group of moms who have a lot in common, sometimes it seems that secretly all we can focus on are the things we do not!

What I consider to be my "natural parenting" core values are not necessarily what others consider to be theirs.  While we don't seem to let our differences get in the way of meeting and enjoying each others company, even within our group we have seemed to form sub-groups based on where we fall on that crunchy/natural spectrum.

I imagine that our group is no different from most of the other thousands of groups in existence.  And while at times I question where exactly I fit in, I wouldn't give up the group I belong to for anything.

It's unfortunate these days that while we're all willing and able to advocate around the web with our blogs and facebook, in real life we're quite picky about whom we choose to associate with and we keep our opinions to ourselves.  We take our "differences" and let them dictate what we do and who we want to be around.

I must personally say that I've met a lot of cool moms in my life.  I've met some who smoke, some who formula fed, had epidurals, c-sections, and circumcise.  I've met some who've had abortions, let their babies cry it out, feed their kids junk food, put them in daycare and then some.  And you know what?  For some of those things I judged them when I had absolutely no right to.

For the most part it is great to have things which we hold sacred in common with others but we should never rule out whether someone is worth getting to know based upon something that they do differently than we choose to.  I've been guilty of it before, however I've been lucky enough to be able to experience the shoe being on the other foot so that now I know how it feels to be judged based upon things that don't and shouldn't matter at all to someone else.

I guess the bottom line in my writing this post is to encourage you all to embrace all the moms in your life, whether they have everything in common with you or just the simple fact that they are a mom and you are a mom.  Don't rule out the possibility of joining a moms group or starting a moms group because you can't imagine having anything in common with anyone else.  Friends are out there just waiting to be made, you might not think you need them but you do, trust me! The more diverse your group of friends then the better off you are, we all have something to teach and something to learn from each other.



Anonymous said...

From a new Mom who formula feeds, uses disposable diapers, and suffers from inaduquacy due to other Mother's opinions, thank you, thank you. You offered a breath of fresh air.

Brandy said...

Great post! Sums up my experience quite nicely.

I have tested out a couple of groups and didn't click for whatever reason. I've got a group now that I know I can rely on.

And I've got friends I've never met or only met once to support and supplement my ideas, lifestyle choices and understand me to a "T"!

Jill said...

Moms groups wouldn't like me. I'm crunchy with a side of 'I don't give a dang'. I took pictures of my kid's first bloody nose before I cleaned her up. To blog about it of course. I laugh when she falls down, so she'll laugh, too. I can't tolerate people who are mean/stuck up just to be confrontational and have something to complain about. I can't stand people who ask questions like 'do you spank, because it doesn't work for us'. You IDIOT, if it doesn't work for you, why do you even ASK if anyone else spanks, it's none of your business. Yeah, I'm like that. Okay, I didn't call them an idiot (out loud). But I wanted to, really bad. But I love Jesus, I bake, I remember birthdays, and popsicles (aka fruit chillers) are on the house. Stop by anytime. The house may not be perfectly clean, but I'll feed you.

Natalie said...

Thank you for this--I just recently got my first dose of mom group politics. Bleh.

Free overnight diaper giveaway going on now!

Kate said...

I don't do the moms groups very much, partly because of the politics, and partly because it's just not my favorite way to socialize (can anyone say shy introvert?) But I will say this: I am a conservative, stay-at-home mom who wants a houseful of kids and couldn't care less about having a career, at this point. My best friend in the world is a liberal feminist who is working on her doctorate, and at this point couldn't care less about having a family. We accept we have very different ideas for our lives, and it is those differences that make us work!

Hillbilly Mystic said...

Beautifully written, and so true. Sometimes I feel that the socialization that happens online prevents moms from truly coming together so that differences on food choices or birth plans doesn't seem like such a big deal.

Forwarding to my friends. :) ♥

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post but Thank You!!! I was recently ostracized for some of my political beliefs and it was a tough pill to swallow especially since it affect my kid. People are so hurtful sometimes and it's just a moms group!

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