Mothers Have Needs Too!

Allison Gilbert, LMFT, Santa Cruz Counselor Lic: MFC 24087

Find Other Mothers

When I had my first baby, I cared for him all alone.  My mom worked and lived an hour away.  My sister worked and lived even further away.  My friends worked and paid for childcare.  When I went to the local park, I was surrounded by Spanish - speaking nannies.  There were no other kids or moms home in our neighborhood. 

When I finally found other moms, my life changed for the better.  I became a happier mom and my child benefited from interaction with other kids.  The first way I found other moms was through a Mommy and Me class offered by the Adult School in our community.  Just being able to get out and talk to another adult can be so energizing for a new mother.  New mothers may have to make an effort to seek out other mothers but this task gets easier as children grow older and are in school.

Other moms can be a great support for mothers.  You get tips and ideas you weren't able to think of on your own.  Or you might get some encouragement to move forward with the ideas you already had but were afraid to try.  When you feel comfortable enough to reveal your own insecurities to another mom, you will discover you are not alone.  Other moms will help you see that the challenges of being a mother are universal and that we can all find our own way through them.

Here are some places where you can connect with other moms:

Support Groups:  There are many support groups in Santa Cruz.  Many communities now have a local parent newspaper or magazine.  Check out the hospitals or look in the calendar sections of newspapers - especially "Growing Up in Santa Cruz."  I also have a workshop/support group that I teach periodically.  Find out more about the workshop on this page.

Yahoo Groups/Discussion Forums:  There are several yahoo groups that I am aware of in Santa Cruz and the surrounding areas.  These groups share info and meet for walks and celebrations. 
"Sutter Grads", "Boulder Creek Family Network" and "santacruzbabiesFall2007" are a few of the names I know.
Here are some links and email addresses I am aware of:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/santacruzbabies2007fall/
santacruzmommy@yahoogroups.com
santacruzjews@yahoogroups.com
cruznbabies@yahoogroups.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cruzmoms2007/
Another wonderful place to have discussion with other mothers is www.MayasMom.com where you'll find groups on an assortment of different topics.

Co-Ops:  As soon as your child is 2 or 3, you may be able to join a local co-op preschool.  Co-ops are preschools where parents are required to stay on certain days to help the teacher.  Sometimes they will combine preschool with parent education.  So you'll get to learn parenting skills while you hang around for your toddler's first school experience.  Co-ops are a lot of fun and they are a great place to meet other moms. Contact them early since they fill up fast. 

Classes:  Parenting classes, Yoga classes, exercise classes, art classes, music classes, mommy and me classes - try out any class you can find that interests you or your child.

Churches & Temples:  Many families gravitate toward communities that will enrich their child's spiritual and moral education.  You will find a source of support and a way to connect with parents who may have the same values as you do.  Churches and Temples always seem to place a strong value on children and families.

Parks:  Depending on the town you live in, parks can be a great place to meet other moms with kids.  If one park doesn't work, try a different one in another neighborhood.  Strike up a conversation by asking the other mother about her child's age or if she has her child in school yet or what plans she has around schooling.

Other moms can be a vital resource for your important work at home.  You deserve to be supported and develop connections with others that enrich you.  The connections you make for yourself can strengthen you and help you create a community for your family.  Do something good for yourself and your family this week - find some other mothers.

2006 Allison Gilbert, M.A., L.M.F.T; Free Tips
www.MothersHaveNeedsToo.com

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