10 Things No One Told Me About Running a 'Mommy & Me' Group

Group Of Mothers With Babies Enjoying Outdoor Meal At Home

With two littles, I try my best to make sure they interact with other kids their age. Granted, my 7-month-old son couldn't care less right now, but my 2-year-old boy enjoys social outings. This is one of the reasons why I agreed to oversee a Mommy & Me group, which has turned out to be a journey in and of itself.

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Before having kids, I was clueless about what to expect in these types of groups. I mean, a mother with her kid -- I got that -- but I had no idea about the rest. Would this be something casual, or some secret clan with a long list of criteria to meet?

While things are still developing with the group I'm managing, here are some things I'm learning about Mommy & Me groups that no one told me.

1. You'll meet people outside your everyday circles. Be careful not to roll your eyes at that "annoying" colleague too much -- you might join the same Mommy & Me group. Thankfully this hasn't happened to me, but I can't say the same about a friend in my group. "Frenemies" and others from different walks of life can turn out to be pretty awesome, if you give them a chance.

2. Planning playdates is a part-time job ... seriously. Prepare to update your LinkedIn profile with event planning experience. Between calling companies to host your group, and sending "what would you like to do?" emails to everyone, you'll feel like you deserve a few CE credits from time to time.

3. You can fly your "freak flag" from time to time. Okay, so I know one of the main reasons for Mommy & Me groups is for kids to try to learn something, but that doesn't mean the events always have to be centered around education, right? Luckily, I've met many women who have zero problems exchanging a learn and play event for something unconventional -- like a kid-friendly wine tasting (oh yes, they're out there).

I said wine, Betty!

4. There's always a mom who ...

  • Updates the group every time there's a product recall on anything (cheese, diapers, strollers), or a virus in the neighborhood.
  • Knows and tried everything -- and has no problem giving you a detailed review.
  • Gives unsolicited advice and parenting tips. (Don't worry, it's coming from a "good place.")
  • Tries to ask on the sly whether or not everyone's kid is vaccinated -- and then freaks you out, like an outbreak is inevitable.
  • Rolls to each event with the latest and greatest product that makes your bargain find look like you got the hand-me-downs from a Storage Wars episode.
  • Uses each event opportunity to promote her product(s) or business.
     

More from The Stir: 20 Celebrities We Want in Our Mommy Group (PHOTOS)

5. Some mothers are in a competition ... for no good reason. Don't get me wrong, I love a good tournament from time to time, but since when did parenting become a competition? If anything, we all need to support one another, and hope the odds of being a mother while sane are ever in our favor.

6. You'll be judged on your baby gear. While you might think it's awesome you scored an item on sale, or from, dare I say it, a discount store (gasp!), there are bound to be moms in your group who will smile -- before discussing your choice of brand behind your back. Thankfully this hasn't happened to me (at least I don't think), but I'm sure it will come up for someone. Why people feel the need to turn up their nose at certain products, I'll never know.

7. Don't be quick to offer up your home as an "event location." Thank goodness I didn't throw my house into the mix. Aside from having a nice working list of places to go and people to see, I can't even imagine opening casa Peart up for 25 something moms and their kids to tear up (some people don't care what their child does). One person did, and I'm sure she regrets it!

8. You get to have more control over how much money you shell out. Tired of going to those fancy luncheons that aren't really child-friendly? Well, if you host your own mommy group, you can keep stuff like that to a minimum. Playdates shouldn't require savings accounts -- and as much as I enjoy "the finer things" from time to time, ain't nothing wrong with taking advantage of freebies.

Speaking of freebies ...

9. Mommy groups are a great way to try things you want for a discount. Depending on the size of your group (or how good your negotiating skills are), you could very well receive anything from free admission to discounts -- just because you're a part of a mom group.

10. You'll meet moms just as messed up as you are! Okay, give yourself some credit; you aren't failing as a mother -- even if you think you are. In fact, joining a Mommy & Me group might do you some good. Hopefully you'll find someone who can make you see the brighter side of motherhood, where you aren't constantly beating yourself up.

 

Image via Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

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