Rachel is a number cruncher by day, the birth mom in a two-mom household to boy/girl 17 month old twins. A new website is coming, but for now, you can read more about ‘em at http://rajencreation.wordpress.com/
In the movie Fight Club, there’s this guy (Edward Norton) with insomnia who wants medication and instead his doctor suggests he visit a support group to witness more severe suffering than his own. Granted, he doesn’t just go and observe. He goes, makes up a story about a terminal illness, gets a bunch of support, and this in turn gives him an emotional release that helps him finally get some sleep.
PARENTING GROUPS SERVE A SIMILAR PURPOSE, PEOPLE.
Irritated that my twins are in a whiny mood? Well at least they didn’t take off each other’s poop diapers and paint the walls with its’ contents.
There. I feel better already.
I’m in two groups (well, three, if you count my waning participation in an online forum of the first cryobank we ever used). Though both are parenting/kid groups, they offer enough differences where my participation in both is beneficial.
The first one is my neighborhood group and it friggin rocks. We have a Kids Group with 635 families, diverse about as diverse in socioeconomics and demographics as you can get in a very eclectic urban area. Everything from vegan earth mamas of cloth-diapered singletons who have time to fret about nursery water to corporate moms and dads with kids in full-time daycare that eat chinese takeout to single parents to same-sex parents and everything in between.
Mom’s Night Out’s are at local hotspots on real adult “go out” nights. Gasp! What’s the name of that guy’s name that does home repairs for a resonable price and he’s the husband of so-and-so? Or the favorite pediatric dentist? Just ask. Wondering what the helicopters were doing overhead last night? Does someone know someone in the Mayor’s Office who can deal with the lights that don’t get fixed at a certain intersection? Is that stranger seen walking down Cortland street a concern? Check the forum.
I’ve lent out PeaPods, borrowed pack n plays, passed around books, all to people that I would have not necessarily ever met were it not for the group. Heck, I’ve lent things out and taking meals to people I hadn’t before then met! But the beauty of the group is its inherent trust. Plus, HUGE BONUS, knowing your neighbors (and I’m not just talking the ones next door, I’m talking the ones a couple miles down the road) decreases the likelihood of parenting by fear, and it gets kids and parents outdoors, talking to one another.
I’m also a member of a Mother’s of Multiples club (on the Board, actually). Because my city is so large, there are four or more MoM’s clubs in our area. The one in geographic proximity to where we live has a very sophisticated, professional, upper income membership (and they STILL let me in!), so there isn’t as much diversity (we’re one of two two-mom households), but it’s an incredible resource for question and answers related to all things multiple.
I often glance through forum posts just to see what I’m headed into. Like, say, I’m less concerned that my son beats his head to put himself to sleep, and I have ideas as to how to keep my daughter’s diaper on (put it on backwards! make sure she’s always wearing pants! use it as an opportunity to foster potty awareness in preparation for training!). Scrubbing through posts and posting my own question there helped me decide to separate our twins sleeping quarters. Twin events like Halloween Parties and Egg Hunts are fertile grounds for adorable photos. Plus, HELLO? MoM’s of Multiples Garage Sales are UNBEATABLE events. (And not just because I co-chair ours).
Both groups have Mom’s Nighs Out, Dad’s Night Out, playgroups, Dinner Drops for new parents, and forums. These groups are places where you can post “my kid won’t eat pasta” or “my nipple caved in” and feel absolutely normal.
You just listen to the crickets chirp if you tossed out that bit of info at a work luncheon.
To my benefit, both groups also use (purely coincidental) BigTent as the group’s online community, so I can check what’s going on with both groups using one login. BigTent offers a Classifieds section where members of each group can buy and sell items to one another. A few weeks ago, I purchased a sewing maching for thirty bucks. And then I signed up for sewing lessons at a place recommended by people in my Neighborhood Group. Net. Work.
How about you? What are your go-to communities? Where do you seek and give support to others?