Mommy Groups are Awesome
I know not everyone has the same sentiments, but I love Mommy Groups. I love meeting up with other moms and watching our kids play together. I love being able to talk about things other than Minecraft and Legos all day. And most of all, I love the friendships that my kids and I have developed through them.
What’s the point of a Mommy Group?
A mommy group is simply a place to find camaraderie. You might already have the best of friends, but maybe their kids are much older (or younger) than your kids (and you’re looking for playmates for them, too). The reason I started a mommy group was to find other moms who were interested in having fun with our kids together- visiting museums, going to the park, having fun playdates, etc. I was happy to know that there were LOTS of other moms who were looking for the same thing!
You can make your mommy group based on anything that interests you:
- A stroller walking group
- A field trip group
- A playdate group
- A reading group
- A kids activity group
The possibilities are really endless! And you don’t even have to stick to one theme. My first group was named Munchkins and Moms (that’s where the blog name came from), and we did a little bit of everything.
We had lots of park playdates, went to library storytime together, had toddler paint parties, and visited every museum in our general area. It was a BLAST! Our group became close-knit and our kids were the best of friends. I could not imagine my first years of motherhood without the wonderful moms and kids I met in the group!
Where do I find moms to join my group?
Once you decide to form your own group (it’s not that scary, I promise!) You’ll need to advertise it to other moms. I’ve found success starting the group on Meetup.com. Here’s what I love about Meet Up:
- They help advertise your group for you! They’ll contact other parents who are already on Meet Up and let them know what your group is all about.
- Their activity planning calendar is really helpful. You can track RSVP’s and answer questions right there on the site (or on the app).
- You can keep a certain degree of privacy (no need to become Facebook friends with group members. You don’t have to give any information away that you’re not comfortable with).
The downside of using Meetup.com is there is a fee associated with it (starting at $9.99 a month. Yikes.). While using Meet Up for the first few months was great (that is what brought the majority of the group together), once we got to know each other better we nixed Meet Up and instead turned to a private Facebook Group to organize our events (again, for the sake of safety we didn’t do this until we got to know each other better!). This saved money AND helped our group become better friends.
The benefits of having the group on Facebook is it’s completely free, everyone and their mom is already on Facebook, and scheduling events is super simple. The downfall is you lose some privacy, and Facebook doesn’t necessarily advertise your group to new moms for you (although you can certainly do that yourself!) Here are some ways to reach new people on Facebook:
- Ask friends to share your Mommy Group with their friends. Ask as many people as you can to spread the word!
- Advertise your group in local Buy/Sell/Trade groups (with permission). It seems most cities have their own Buys/Sell/Trade or community Facebook groups. Contact the admin of those pages and ask if you can share your new Mommy Group there. Most admins are happy to share this kind of information with the community!
Where should we meet?
This will depend on what kind of group you want to create. If you want to form a walking group, you can schedule your events at good walking spots (parks, malls, trails, neighborhoods, etc.). If you want to form an adventure group, you’ll schedule to meet at local fun places (hiking trails, museums, mall playgrounds, trampoline places, etc.) You can also create a field trip group, or go more casual and make a general playdate group. If you’re just looking to schedule playdates, here are some places you might be able to host them:
- Library – Some libraries have community rooms available for reservations. Ask around and see if they would be willing to let you use it a few times a month (be sure to ask the capacity of the room and adhere to the requirements!)
- Playground – This is easy and free.
- Community Center – This might have a fee associated with it. Worth a shot to ask about, though.
- Church or other place of worship – My church was more than happy to let our group use their nursery a couple times a month for playdates. Be sure your group members know if the group is going to be associated with the church it is meeting in, or if will be open to the public. Word of caution: some people get uncomfortable visiting a place of worship outside of their religion.
- Your home – I personally enjoy meeting in our home more than public places. It feels more personal and everyone enjoys getting to know each other better. However, I only open up my home once our group has become established and the members have all had a chance to get to know each other better (safety first).
How long (and how often) should we meet?
This is up to you. I like to plan 3-4 events a month for 2 hours each. Again, this will depend on where you meet and what you’ll be doing.
TIP: When making events, be very clear about the start and end times of each meeting. Let people know if arriving on time is important (for a walking group this would be a big deal), or if it’s open-ended (a two-hour play date group might be fine if some parents drop in for only an hour).
Set up some ground rules
You’ll want to ake a minute or two to come up with some ground rules for the group so everyone knows the expectations. Here are some that our group abides by:
- Leave the meeting location in better condition than how you found it. In public and borrowed spaces this means all the trash gets picked up and any moved furniture get put back in place.
- No direct sales marketing. We want it to be a pressure-free environment. People can talk about their businesses if asked, but playgroups are not a place to make sales.
- Monitor your child. Playgroups are not drop-off childcare opportunities. Parental participation is required.
- Photos may (or may not) be allowed. Be clear on your picture taking policy. I like to let people take pictures and share within our private group. I would say DO NOT share pictures of other people’s children on social media without their consent, though. As a foster mom, this is a BIG no-no for us.
- Be aware of allergies/ food sensitivities in the group. Have a document in your group detailing what allergies and/or food sensitivities people may have. You don’t want to single anyone out, though, so keep names off the list (keep it simple- list things like “no peanut butter, no red food dyes, etc. without using names).
There’s really not anything to it. You’ve got this. Now that you’ve read all about how to start a group, it’s time to get started making mom friends! Enjoy your new group, and come back here every now and then for some new ideas 😉
This post has been part of a Stay at Home Mom Series. Catch up with the rest of the posts here:
How to Start an Awesome Mommy Group! (this post)
A Year of Playdate Activities (Pre-Planned for You!) (future post)
10 Tips for hosting a Playdate at your House (future post)