Meetings for Moms - Billings Style
by tj wierenga
Change – noun, “making or becoming different, exchange or replacement, variance from routine, fresh set of something, transition from something.” Synonyms include alteration, modification, variation, transformation, revolution, conversion, adjustment, amendment, difference… Mom, can you relate?
The hospital where you birth your baby will send you home with a bag of baby goodies and a roughly 8-pound “change” who will, in most cases, turn your life, your heart and mind, emotions, beliefs, physical body, plans and goals, risk-taking, finances, relationships, and schedule all completely upside down for years to come. There is no greater reward than raising another human being, but it does not come automatically.
Enter “Mommy meetings!” When moms like you, facing the same issues, struggles, joys and changes unite together! Just knowing that another mom out there has experienced the same gamut of change, emotions, sleep deprivation, frustration, overwhelming love and sometimes bone-deep exhaustion can be a lifesaver.
In any given city or town, at any given time, there are most likely mothers who have recently moved for the military or dad’s job, newly SAHM (stay-at-home-mothers) coming out of the workforce, teen moms, late bloomer moms, moms of multiples, single moms, moms of different races or nationalities or faiths. There are moms who are interested in Bunko, cooking, reading, crafting, sewing/knitting/quilting, horseback riding, running, exercising, dancing, singing, gardening, fine dining, working from home or working outside the home part-time or full-time. “The big common denominator with mothers is, just, motherhood. No one else understands like another mom. Other moms have saved my sanity, if not my life!” laughs Jackie, mother of three.
“My “mommy-groups” have helped me tremendously in many ways! My mom passed away 4 years before I became a mother, so all the questions I have had as a mother (how often to nurse, how to potty train, etc.) have been answered by someone in one of my groups. I have met amazing women who support me and make me feel like I am doing a good job as a mother. The friendships I have made are invaluable relationships. Most of all, I don’t feel so alone at such a challenging, yet amazing stage in my life,” said Jen R., mother of three.
Ellen W., mother of two sons, expresses her gratitude for the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group she is involved with at King of Glory Lutheran Church, as well as the ALC (American Lutheran Church) Moms group. “As a mom, it is where I have developed close friendships with other women in a similar stage of life. They can relate to my life.” Her favorite memories include, “the love and care that our MOPS group has for each other. When people are going through stressful situations (good or bad) like new babies, cancer treatments, or losing a baby, we support each other.” Darci, mother of a son and a daughter, said the groups she is involved in have “helped me meet other women who share the same faith; it’s a time to share ideas and realize other kids go through the same phases”.
Not just for Moms, these types of groups are good for the entire family. “It’s important for families to connect – you enjoy participating and attending activities where you have friends,” Darci shared. “It’s an opportunity for my kids to play with other kids and see that mom needs time to get together with friends as well,” said Ellen W. When mommy’s group is something like Stroller Strides exercise class, where moms, babies and/or toddlers come together for total-body workouts, the benefits are even greater. “My sons are learning from a very early age the importance of leading an active life,” explains Molly Reas, owner/instructor of Billings’ Stroller Strides. “The moms are able to be a positive role model to their children, enjoy the company and camaraderie of other mothers, all while reaching their fitness goals!”
While a group focusing on mothers is primarily focused on helping mothers, many women also find support and relief in groups such as La Leche League, YMCA fitness classes, story times at the library, classes at the Copper Colander, music or dance classes, and others.
“Personally it’s been nice to have mothers that I can talk with about the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding because it’s one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life”, said Clementine, mother of two, talking about the role La Leche League has played in her life in supporting her as a mother.
Despite the changes that children create in our lives, the occasional sense of isolation, schedule restrictions, physical and hormonal fluctuations, and other challenges, mommy groups can help. “My mommy group has helped me realize that I am not alone in my efforts at raising loving happy kids, no matter how bad I mess up at times. I have met the most wonderful women I might have not have met otherwise, due to our different interests, ages, religion, etc. The one thing we all share is the most important thing in the world, our children! Unity and a feeling of belonging are always important even when you grow up.” -Jen O SFM
TJ Wierenga is a mother of two in Billings and member of the King of Glory MOPS group since her eldest child was 6 months old and TJ was a wreck. She blogs at MyWesternHome.wordpress.com