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Staying Home Instead

Where are the Mothers?

From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 20, No. 5 September-October 2003 pp. 194

"Staying Home Instead" is a regular feature of the magazine NEW BEGINNINGS, published bimonthly by La Leche League International. In this column, suggestions are offered by readers of NEW BEGINNINGS to help parents who choose to stay at home with their children. Various points of view are presented. Not all of the information may be pertinent to your family's life-style. This information is general in nature, and not intended to be advice, medical or otherwise.

Situation

I've always wanted to be a stay-at-home mother. I never had a "career" before my children were born, just jobs that paid the bills. I was happy with that, and I'm delighted now to be home with my children. But, we've moved to a new area. I can no longer find other women like me who are my age, even at places I thought I would. Where do all the other mothers like me go?

Response

It goes without saying that a lot of us are at La Leche League meetings, and we get together in between them, too. But, there is also a great organization called MOMS club (www.MOMSCLUB.org) for stay-at-home mothers. Joining your local chapter and getting involved is a great way to meet other mothers and also find out what is going on for children in your area.

Beyond that I have found friends at parks, libraries, music classes, the public pool, and the doctor's office. Many mothers I have met are open to meeting for lunch or walks at local beaches or parks. I think we all welcome adult conversation.

I also had some cards made up with my name, phone, and email address so I could give them to a new friend without digging for a pen, and those have worked out really well for me.

If you cannot seem to find any of these types of things going on, start something! Put up a poster with tear-offs that include your email address or phone number at the library or park district and get a playgroup going on your own! You can do it!

Darlene Deveau
East Haven CT USA

Response

There are many places to meet other mothers. Try checking at the parks and recreation office in your area. They often have all kinds of classes and sports that are inexpensive. You can look for ones for yourself, or for your children, where you might meet other mothers bringing their children. If you like to exercise, try the YMCA. In our community they are quite affordable. Check out a religious organization in your new area. You might just meet some women there as well. You can often find parenting groups listed in the newspaper. And of course, don't forget LLL meetings. I have had many mothers call me to say they had just moved here and were looking for friendly faces! They come to the meetings not needing breastfeeding help at all, just companionship. After attending meetings, they meet other mothers and usually have a list of playgroups and activities that others are involved with.

Karen Sims
Yuma AZ USA

Response

In addition to La Leche League meetings, other formal groups can be good places to meet other mothers. One place that you might not think of as a place to meet new friends is through homeschool support groups in your area. Even if you're not planning on homeschooling once your children reach school age, you're doing it now! Many of these groups have lots of activities planned and have a nice spirit of friendliness. I enjoyed meeting parents of older children as well because they gave me some perspective on how life will change as my children get older. Other women I've met at homeschool functions have always been helpful with my little ones as well. They remember the challenges of having young children, even while they're dealing with different situations with their teenagers.

Kathleen Whitfield
Riverside CA USA

Response

It can be a real challenge to meet new friends when you move to a new place. Having moved from overseas I know how lonely it can be as you try to get to know people. But having children is a real advantage and it certainly opens avenues for meeting others. It's worth remembering though, that it can take time for friendships to develop, so don't necessarily feel that some of the places you are currently visiting are a waste of time. In mothers' circles, the members are always changing. Eventually, you will meet other women whom you will connect with. It may be worth seeking out opportunities for volunteer work, particularly any organization that is geared toward the stay-at-home mother, or babies and young children, such as La Leche League. Mothering the New Mother, a book by Sally Plaskin, has a comprehensive list of volunteer organizations that provide resources for stay-at-home mothers. Working with others toward a common goal helps one feel very connected and fulfilled. It could be a good way for you to spend your time, as well as helping you meet other like-minded women, while complementing your decision to stay at home with your children. Good luck!

Sara Walters
San Pedro CA USA

Response

I was in a very similar situation after the birth of my twins. I had moved to a new community during my pregnancy and was put on bed rest, so I didn't get a chance to meet anyone before they were born. I'm in a completely different part of the US where the culture seems so very different from what I'm used to. After my girls were born and I had trouble with breastfeeding, I found many mothers like me on the Internet. Through message boards, I found not only people from all over the country, but also some wonderful women in my area. One is now my best friend and my lifesaver. Whenever I've had it with being stuck in the house with my girls, I can call her up and we'll go shopping or something like that.

This may be the obvious answer, but I'm constantly amazed at our LLL meetings. There are so many mothers there who share similar beliefs about parenting. I have a great time at those meetings and I enjoy spending time with the women I've met there as well. The women at your local LLL Group may also know of other local mothers' groups that you can join.

D.A. Huffman-Parent
Moore OK USA

Last updated Thursday, October 19, 2006 by njb.
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