5 Signs You Won't Make Friends at a Baby Group


playgroupOne of the thing every new mom wants (other than sleep) is some mom friends. Maybe you're lucky and all your BFFs had babies about the same time as you did, but more than likely you're wishing that you had someone else who was going through the same things you are.

Enter the baby group. Sometimes hospitals will arrange groups of new parents that meet periodically throughout baby's first year, sometimes there are informal neighborhood groups, and sometimes you can find a local group through parenting forums like CafeMom. Other people swear by church groups like MOPS or La Leche meetings.

And sometimes it's wonderful. One large hospital here has an active parenting program that arranges baby groups, and several of our friends made some of their very best friends there and loved it; our experience was, let's just say, radically different.

How can you tell your baby group is just not for you? If you encounter ....

  • Mean-girl behavior: Sad as it is, some people do not leave high school behind when they graduate. Our group had an alpha female who sort of dominated, and made it very clear who was in and who was out, going so far as to talk about social events she'd had with other group members in front of people who were not invited and use subtle put-downs on other moms. New parenting is a time when your identity is radically changing and it can cause feelings of insecurity; sadly, some people mask theirs by playing on others'.
  • Know-it-alls: Watch out for any group that talks about issues that are debatable as hardcore fact. Whether it's "Crying it out is child abuse" or "Co-sleeping will kill your baby," know-it-alls tend to lack the social skills that make a truly good friend and the wisdom to give good advice. Even if they could not be more aligned with your philosophy, different things work for different kids and you could find yourself suddenly on the outs if your rigid beliefs have to bend down the line.
  • Huge differences in age or lifestyle between you and the rest of the group: We were the second-oldest in our parenting group, and the only couple older than us were very wealthy; like " 'Should we meet in the library, the media room, or the solarium?" Everyone else was fairly newly married, fairly young, and sometimes struggled with giving up their youthful partying ways for parenthood. They were perfectly nice people for the most part, but we just didn't fit.
  • Show offs: If anyone brags about their baby being "advanced" or goes on and on about their prenatal Mandarin classes or preschool prep for their 9-month-old, run, don't walk.
  • Over-scheduled meetings: I know someone whose group met every morning for two hours. If you have things to do and don't want to sit around with people you don't have that much in common with beyond having babies the same age, look for a less intense schedule.

How to know you've found a good one? You'll know, because you'll feel accepted for who you are. And honestly, here's a little secret: by the time your second kid arrives, none of this matters.

Do you belong to a mom group? What has your experience been like?


Image via TedsBlog/Flickr

baby activities, post-birth outings, time for mom


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RanaA... RanaAurora

You can usually feel out people with similar parenting styles, which actually is something you should look for, by the type of group. I actually need people who fall more into my beliefs, because I find it really hard to be around people who brag about doing things like forward-facing an 11 month old (illegal) or using CIO on a 5 month old.... for example, La Leche League meetings are a good choice for me because people breastfeeding, obviously, and often are more in line with a lot of my own beliefs as well. It works in the reverse too... I don't want to be around people who are constantly going to pick on me for breastfeeding past like, 3 weeks or rear-facing until at least two years old. Heck, I've even had people roll their eyes at the fact I own Britax car seats, despite the fact one of them was FREE.

Age and lifestyle... I find that I do better with moms older than me who aren't military wives. :)

Everyone's different! Those may be the rules you follow but the more I think about it, we look for very OPPOSITE things then. :)

Lesley 'Carter' Maly

I tried the mom's group at a local church but didn't like that they shoved the kids in the nursery and let them do whatever while they talked and gossiped. NOT my idea of good parenting. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Cafemom and the friends I have made in a group that I joined when I had my oldest. We still keep in touch and talk almost daily!! It's wonderful.

Nycti... Nyctimene

Maybe I'm just cynical but I really just see baby groups as an excuse to do all these behaviors. You'd be far better just to go off and do something you enjoy that happens to allow your baby to come with you, like swimming at a public pool, than joining baby groups. For all the rhetoric about finding friends, I have yet to be to one that isn't just a gathering place for insecure parents to compare (aka criticize).

kerp1960 kerp1960

No, I ever belonged to a "baby group". I guess I didn't NEED to get together with a bunch of women. I  am glad I didn't....I can see where there could be some of those that you described. Wow....I have never been a " girls'club" girl anyway. I don't travel in a pack.I am a loner. :-)

miche... micheledo

Never been in one and never felt the need.  Not sure why - but then I have never 'fit in' with my age group, even as a child, yet mingle well with all other ages.  I have friends in all age groups, and some excellent friends I still I keep in touch with.  And a few of my friends were having their first child the same time I was!

2baby... 2babybats

No group, but I had a friend who had two daughters the same age as my girls that I'd get together with at least once a week. Unfortunately I moved so we can't set up those play dates anymore.

Mommy... Mommy2Mal

I actually joined a local play date group on CM and when I joined, most of the kids were close to the same age, we've grown since then so obviously there is some variance in the ages of our kids, as well as moms. There is at least one member in our group to fall into each of those categories, and I'm sure I fit one too. But I've found a few great mom friends that I never would have known before, and the others, I just don't hang out with. I think the group was a great meeting place, and for a while we all shopped for mom friends and friends for our kids that we could stand to be around, and went our separate ways. We get together once and a while for holidays so ALL the kids can play, but most of us have a few moms/families that we get along best with so we make time for those people in our lives, and the rest we see when there's nothing better on TV.

Lynette Lynette

I tried a SAHM's group but I didn't fit in.  Most the other moms only had one child.  I had 2.  They looked at me strangely when I breastfeed.  They were just really mainstream.  But then I found HMN( Holistic Mom's Network).  I fit right in!  Breastfeeding, cosleeping, natural health practices, all big in the group.  I love HMN.  When I told them I homeschool they cheered me on.  I feel at home there.

hotic... hoticedcoffee

I got really, really lucky in this department - I started a stay at home moms group, not expecting much success, and ended up meeting 6 women who are wonderful friends.  4 years later, a couple of us aren't staying at home anymore, and our kids are all different ages, but we get together once a month, just the moms, for dinner/drinks/movies/whatever. 

We are all similar in age and lifestyle, and funny enough, we all have really crazy mothers, so this time of year - the holidays, when we all have to spend extra time with our respective monsters - we meet bi-weekly and for 'wine tasting' and serious bitching!

molly... mollymae09

No need for one- I know 27 women that were pregnant in the last year.... There's plenty of mommy friends to choose from.

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