Mothering small babies can be lonely and isolating. Both the mother and the child benefit from being in a supportive environment of friends.
Meeta was used to the corporate world, with its stress levels and tight schedules. Networking related to her competitive profession. She would often look at the mothers gathered around the kiddy park and wonder WHAT it was that they found to discuss every day, every evening.
Then she had her first baby, took a break from her job, and everything changed. She started looking forward to the time she took Baby for a walk in the evening and found membership in the most unlikely of all clubs - the Mother's network.
Mothering small babies can be lonely and isolating. Both the mother and the child benefit from being in a supportive environment of friends. The Club becomes a support system, friend and advisor.
It's a network for play dates. For hand-me-downs. For tips on potty training. For watching cartoon films with. For lessons on sharing, and how to tolerate other children playing with your toys. For reciprocal birthday parties, summer holiday parties, and just-like-that parties. And the best part - it gives mom a shoulder to cry on.
Until you are a mother, working or otherwise, it is difficult to relate to mother-talk. Anyone else would wonder, "How much can you keep discussing your baby?"
Until you are a mother, it is difficult to relate to the variety of problems that worry a mother, first time or otherwise. Whether the child is a fussy eater, has a congested chest, resists the potty after 6 months of persuasion, what to do with the children on holidays and how grandparents spoil them… mothers can discuss their children all day long.
It is a network of mothers, for mothers, and by mothers.
How membership helps
Together in the play group you watch over the children. You watch them play and practice their budding social skills. Together you watch them fight and whine and cry. You watch them as you do at home, but you do it with others. It nurtures and refreshes you to face another week of parenting.
It's a cost effective solution to child care, it is personalized. And it gives your children friends of his/her age without the formality of school.
How to become a member
Membership is free, voluntary. All it takes is a little effort, and others will welcome you.
Be prepared for your share of hard work too. To have the children over in your turn, to baby sit and to reciprocate. Never mind the jam stains on the walls, they can be cleaned up - the smile on an excited child's face will remain with you forever.
Offer to help when it is another mom's turn to see what they do and how they manage. Sometimes a playgroup member actually creates play group games and crafts. Other times, special toys (like the kiddy tent or an inflatable pool) are brought out. Try your own special games with other children- chances are the games you play with your child could be a novelty for another.
How to get started
A network can start anywhere. The local park, your gym, the child's school. You don't need to be best buddies with your playgroup partners, but it helps if you are compatible with the parenting styles. Then the children are compatible too, and happier. A few trial sessions will tell you if it is going to work with a particular mother.
If you don't know of enough parents of toddlers, try spending a little more time at your nearest park or play area; you're bound to meet others willing and able to take over your child on an occasion.
Remember, mothering is a job too. And networking on the job, like the corporate world, is as important.