How (and Why) to Start a Moms Group

I know I looked that good when I was pregnant. You? I spend a lot of time (like, a lot) talking about Mom Issues.  In fact, almost not a day goes by when I don't spend a significant amount of time hashing out current sleep patterns, the consistency of poop and how to make Oliver scream less during bath time so that the neighbors don't report us to Child Services.... ("We were just shampooing his hair, Officer.  I swear.")

It can get boring.  In fact, I get bored of hearing myself yammer on.  But what I don't get bored of is knowing that other moms are dealing with the exact same shit.  So in September 2009, I started a Moms Group.   We meet once a month at a restaurant to discuss a timely topic (chosen by moi) and then digress into harping on bad celebrity baby names (because Bella Luna and the like are just plain dumb).   We also offer each other support, perspective and good cheer. Bascially, it's kinda like a Book Club, only without the books. 

So why you should start one?  Oh, I don't know...  to remind yourself that you're not alone and that other women might possibly love and sometimes hate (yes, hate.  I wrote that.  Hey, it's my blog.) they're new lives as parents as much as you do?  It also ensures you get out of the house at least one night a month. 

Here's how:

1. Ask one or two close moms friends to be co-hosts with you (more email addresses, people to trouble shoot with if things falter.  Besides someone has to be the Executive Committee.  Ooh, fancy.)

2. Choose a launch date, location and format (ie Dinner out? Drinks and potluck appetizers only?  Things to keep in mind:  If it happens to early in the evening, some moms might have a tough time making it if the kids aren't asleep or the husband isn't home.  But if the group starts too late and everyone talks and talks, it will go too late for many folks.  My suggestion:  Have the first few meetings at someone's home so members can really get to know each other, then move the meeting to an outside venue to take the stress off someone hosting it each month. If it's going to be at a restaurant, make sure it's quiet enough so people will actually be able to hear each other. 

3. Create evite (one person from the Exec Committee should be in charge of email lists, evites etc.)


Then at the first meeting:


4. Do hokey ice breakers. (Some suggestions:  Everyone share an important tidbit about themselves from before they became a mom; Everyone share their best piece of parenting advice).

5. Settle on a regular meeting time (ie last Thursday of the month from 7-9pm so that everyone can plan around it).  

6. Decide on how you'll choose topics for discussion (Will it always be the founders who make the selection?  Will it rotate among members? Some suggestions:  Body image before vs. after baby, relationship changes, how to find joy in the everyday)

7. Shoot members (including those who missed) a quick email the day after the event  to recap the thrust of the conversation and remind everyone of next month's date, topic, location etc. 

8. Invite more people.  There's always another mom you know from the playground who could use a community like this, and people's schedules are always so full.  So get a list going of as many moms as possible so you'll reach some sort of critical mass each time. IMO, an ideal number at each meeting is about ten. 

9. Email me and let me know how it goes!