They say it takes a village to raise a child. I only wanted a few mom friends. Today's village is a lot different than previous generations. Today's neighbors are shy to say hello to one another and their cars speed out of their garages as the sun comes up and speed in as the sun goes down.
I didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars to join a mom's group. However, after realizing the amount of work it takes to develop a community of moms - I would say the money is a small price to pay for the rewards it can provide.
I did create a mom's group that I love. I went to the weekly support group put on by the hospital where I gave birth (Alta Bates Hospital). After some time had passed, I collected email addresses and set up an online yahoo group. People began to post photos, chat, ask questions, and develop events. It is now a thriving group with regular play dates, toy & food swaps, babysitting trades, exercise clubs, and a monthly mom's night out.
That brings me to today. As my son has gotten older, his need for routines have increased; especially nap time. It is crucial for us to be home for naps now. Since most of my group lives in the Berkeley & Oakland region, most of our outings are out that direction. I often have to decide whether the outing is worth the "commute" and/or sacrifice to naptime. That being said, I am still on a quest to find or create another group close to home. Although, I still appreciate and want to maintain the friendships I have formed in my original group.
I recently signed up for the Berkeley Parents Network Newsletter. Included was a support group that I had never heard of before. I thought I would share.
It's called PRAM: http://www.pram.net/Pages/AboutUs.aspx
I will definitely be checking this one out. They are a regional support group targeting the greater Richmond Area.
Another support group for West Contra Costa County:
Mocha Moms: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wccmm2/
This group has regular play groups in Hercules & moms outings across the bay area.
If you are in the market for another ethnicity based group, this one serves the greater bay area and is targeted to multiracial families.
Bay Area Multiracial Families: http://playgroup.meetup.com/1301/
A neighborhood based support group for Alameda & Contra Costa County:
Support Group For Mothers: http://www.supportgroupformothers.com/
There is a North Berkeley section of this group, but I have yet to see a group form for West CCC. Maybe if enough moms from the West CCC are willing to spend a little extra $ to join this group, there will be a more thriving mom culture in our side of the county.
So, if you've never had the pleasure of driving away from your house in the non-cheerio filled car, picking up your food with two hands, sipping a cool drink while your baby happily plays with other babies, or going to the bathroom while someone else watches your child - YOU NEED A MOM'S GROUP! :) It's definitely worth the extra effort.