Once a month I attend a play date with friends that I made in my birth class. We all hit it off from the start. We met before our bellies were showing, shared stories about puking at work, and cringed while watching very graphic educational videos of things that were inevitably coming our way. We would meet for lunch and share our excitement, fears, and mixed emotions regarding the tremendous changes that were imminent. We kept in touch through our final days as pregnant women, always wishing each other well and sending each other encouraging text messages on our labor days. One by one, we all had our babies. Praise God, they are all healthy beautiful babies that fill our lives with joy.
We gather in each other’s houses and this last weekend we met up at Washington Park in downtown Cincinnati. Every time we meet there is a new wave of excitement. The babies are always doing something they weren’t doing last time we met, and we can encourage each other through the struggles that every new month brings with it. If nothing else, we can walk away knowing we are not alone in the challenges of parenthood.
Now, I know that as a rule play dates are mainly intended to socialize children and teach them pragmatics, the concept of sharing, playing well with others, yada yada. But for this mama, play dates are a therapeutic necessity. Gideon will be fine whether he attends play dates or not, however the same cannot be said about me. Personal testimonial: I believe I will be fine greatly thanks to the moms at my monthly play dates!
Being able to talk with other moms of babies is not only pleasant and informative, but refreshing. So much of how society assesses moms is based on what the media tells them they have to look, act, and talk like.There’s a standard you must meet, and the experience of motherhood is ruined because focus is placed on trivial things. My relationship with my “Bradley girls” (we attended a Bradley Method birth class) is so far removed from that. Like I said, being around these women is refreshing to me. There is no room for judgment, there is no comparing, and we all have a common goal in motherhood: to raise happy healthy children. So when someone brings up something new, we are all genuinely interested and want to know what all our options are to achieve the same outcome. All these women seem to understand that what is “best” looks different for each family unit. Like I said, refreshing!
Do you have a group of moms you meet with regularly? What are some things you do to make sure you get some social time for yourself?