Power Networks

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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/

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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?

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3 thoughts on “Power Networks”

  1. So funny. My relationships with my two groups are almost exactly the same! I was even asked to co-chair our MOMs club garage sale. (I prefer to be a worker bee, though.) My mom’s group has more people “like me” and I’ve made a bunch of wonderful friends. The multiples group has also brought me some friends, but we tend to bond more over the twin thing than anything else. I also have a forum on IVF Connections with 5 women who I feel as close as can be to, although we have never (and may never) met. All our kids were born within a few weeks and it is so great to chat with them.

    I was never a joiner before becoming a parent, but now that’s all changed for sure. I don’t know how I’d get by without these groups.

  2. My main supports are these: my local Mothers of Multiples club where my main participation is the online forum discussion- Q&A about all parenting issues, which is an excellent source of tips, referrals, ideas, support, etc. But I don’t often make the playgroups because of my work schedule. The other is my church Moms group, we have monthly dinners and connecting with them is a major support. My church involvement became much more meaningful after I became a parent, it is literally my “lifeline” in stressful times. After the twins were born the church moms delivered meals and made a schedule of helpers for me which was invaluable.

  3. I have a MoM group that I’m a part of (and started a satellite group for my area of town because there’s nothing really close), and a network of Weird Mommy friends that I’ve cultivated.
    I’ve practically been a shut-in because of the two-naps a day situation, but the Weird Mommies and I are all very well connected and supportive online.
    I live in the very far reaches of the Metro Atlanta area (about an hour or more out from the other side of the Metro area by car), and the distances involved often preclude a bunch of playdates or evenings out.
    I am saved, again and again, by having a Best Friend Mommy (who I consider a best friend of any stripe, mommy or not) live relatively close (about 15 minutes away). We are on the phone with each other constantly talking about the minutae of our days.
    .-= Janel´s last blog ..Philip =-.

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