Whenever I chat with a new mom, my advice is always to go out with the baby and meet other moms. This is something that kept me sane and made full-time motherhood very enjoyable for me. I met some other moms and their kids in classes like Gymboree. As we got to know each other we would plan play dates each week at one of our homes. This gave the kids a chance to have fun with each other and also gave us the chance to communicate with other adults. After these gatherings, we were all more relaxed and happy.
Now that my kids are older, these play dates have continued, but sometimes they happen without the kids. Some working friends see it as a luxury of spoiled women but it is hardly that. We are not using these get-togethers to try fancy new restaurants or waste time and money. We are doing it to keep sane, connected, and to be better moms. We often just meet and run errands together because mundane tasks are more fun with company. Or, we meet at the mall when we’ve heard of good sales since we may as well save money and get deals since we have more time than money. People in the outside workforce feel the necessity to ‘network’ to get insights and do better in their careers. It is similar for Moms.
We don’t just discuss shopping and where to get the best deals. Though that never hurts. We talk about the issues facing our children and try to figure out the best ways to deal with them. Lately, the discussions have been a lot about bullying or how many activities are too many for the kids. In the past we’ve tried to gauge whether our kids are hitting developmental milestones or how to tackle behavioral issues. We all know there is no handbook on Perfect Parenting but the best we can do is be aware of what is going on with our kids and learn from what’s going on with other kids. After speaking to another parent who has dealt with something you are worried about, you feel much more relieved. And, when chatting with parents of older children, it helps you prepare for certain challenges.
When a group of co-workers go to lunch together from the office, no one says ‘Oh..must be nice….ladies who lunch’. It is just a meal, part of their day and a chance to relax and vent about work. So, why is it any different for the full-time Moms? We meet, we eat and we vent about our work and learn better ways to handle things. It is a pleasant part of our otherwise busy, full week. It makes us better Moms and better people. Hooray for Play Dates!!!