In Support of Support Groups — by Cara
I tend to be a quiet and reserved type…not terribly outgoing and mildly social. But for some reason, I am attracted to support groups. Particularly support groups for Moms.
Since my son was an infant, I participated in a myriad number of different groups. Some groups were informative, but I didn’t “click” with most of the Moms. Other groups had members who I felt had different issues and/or a focus to the group that I just wasn’t looking for.
I was thrilled to find Motherhood Later…Than Sooner because not only did I find a lovely group of Moms I have kept in contact with, but my son has become friendly with some of the sons of other “Later” Moms as well!
This past weekend, I went away with a large group of Moms on what I term a “Mommy Retreat.” There were quite a large group of us…150 to be exact, and I found comfort being amongst so many diverse but dedicated Moms.
There were workshops where we each had a turn to divulge a dirty little secret about being neglectful about our mothering. I happened to have divulged SEVERAL dirty little secrets! And the bonding and camaraderie that was taking place in that room at that moment allowed each and every one of us to say, “We ARE good mothers! We’re just not perfect ALL of the time! It was so refreshing to say out loud, “I slack off occasionally and my child still survives!!” Some participants were even trying to “one up” the one who “confessed” before them! We all left, happy, giggling, with a huge weight lifted off our shoulders!
There was also a woman comic who had the entire audience falling over with laughter as she played out daily scenarios that occurred in her home, tongue-in-cheek style! What a great way to start out the retreat and break the ice regarding all the taboos that go on in each person’s household, but no one wants to dare bring the topics up! Well, this lively comic did, and we cheered her on endlessly!
I left this retreat saying goodbye to friends old and new. Learning more about myself and learning more about other miscellaneous topics such as social media! But I mostly reinforced that I love to come together with a group of Moms who understand the pressures of parenting and want to help each other through it as well as spend time remembering who WE are as people, as individuals, and not just someone’s wife or mother!
I came home to a Parenting Workshop to go to at my son’s school the very next day where we really got into a hot debate about parenting and homework issues. Some Moms literally couldn’t understand why homework wasn’t “fun” in every household. Other’s of us moaned in agony just thinking about doing homework with our child. I exclaimed that I had such a horrendous year with my son last year that just THINKING of homework this year gave me post traumatic stress disorder symptoms! This one Mom shot back, “Well, then you’re just doing something wrong.” It was a good thing that the social worker moderating the group knew of my struggles last year and effectively put this other Mom in her place. Still and all, I came out of this workshop empowered and ready to take on the task of parenting in a way only I know is effective with my child!
The NY chapter of Motherhood Later Than Sooner will soon try to gather interested parents into support groups with a highly educated facilitator. I was at a group this facilitator ran and found it filled with energy and bonding where we all wanted to jump into the conversation at once! It was invigorating! I left feeling better about myself than when I first arrived! Maybe you’d like to give a support group a try? And if one isn’t a good fit, move on to another. As for me, I am looking forward to participating in the NY chapter support group and see how it turns out! As they say, you can always learn something new every day!