Tips for hosting a moms? group and keeping the your sanity.
You?ve recruited a handful of other new moms to bring together as a group. Now what? Even if you used to put on the most fabulous dinner parties and soirees pre-baby, the idea of hosting a gathering at your house, let alone bringing together a bunch of women who don?t know each other well, can seem overwhelming. Here are some tips for a successful group meeting, as well as ideas for keeping your group going.
Create a comfortable space. Forget congregating around your coffee table nibbling hors d?oeuvres. Most likely you?ll all end up sprawling on the floor with your babies by the end of the afternoon. Clear tables and furniture off to the side, put down quilts and blankets so babies can roll around, and throw cushions around for moms to lean against.
If it?s wintertime, be sure you turn up the heat high enough to keep the house warm ? but not too warm, since lots of bodies will heat things up. Also, if you have crawlers or toddlers in the mix, invest in some table corner bumpers and cabinet latches to keep babies out of your liquor cabinet, and put breakables up high.
Glow Mama tip: Babies love music. Have fun and diverse CDs lined up to play (as soft background music of course). Reggae, Latin music and folk are good choices.
Work around naptimes. Newborns tend to sleep whenever and wherever they want, but as babies get older they nap more regularly. You?ll never avoid everybody?s regular naptime no matter how much you try. Schedule the start time around mid-day (between morning and afternoon naps) and accept that moms will show up late or leave early.
Glow Mama tip: Set up your play yard in a quiet room of the house in case a moms needs to put her baby down for an emergency nap.
Stay casual.Make your meeting a safe haven for members. New moms who are breastfeeding should feel free to do so without covering up or leaving the room. Moms should also feel like it?s acceptable to wear sweats or go shoeless at your house ? so they?re as comfortable there as they are at home.
Glow Mama tip: We liked to get pedicures before our group meetings, since we?re always shuffling around barefoot.
Find ways to split the work. Don?t feel like you have to cook for days before your meeting. A potluck approach works too. Ask each member to bring something specific ? one person brings veggies, another sweets. Or, rotate houses so the burden doesn?t always fall on one person?s shoulders.
Glow Mama tip: Don?t overdo the food. A lot of times moms have their hands too full to eat. Don?t forget the drinks though ? we find plastic re-sealable bottles work best as they are safe from spills and injuries with all those inquisitive little hands around.
Mix it up. After you get to know each other a little, schedule activities outside of members? houses. Go to the park with a picnic and blankets, take walks together, or visit the zoo or a kids? museum.
Glow Mama tip: Even if they seem too young, you?d be surprised by how stimulated babies can be by activities aimed at older kids, such as music and story hours at libraries or community centers.
Include dads sometimes! Dads like social time too. Every once in awhile, extend an invitation to your members? partners on weekends or work holidays.
Glow Mama tip: Saturday brunches are fun ways to include dads, and are nice ways to get together early so families can have the rest of the weekend to themselves. We?ve even discovered that some of the hubbies among us are fantastic chefs!
Steal away for some mom-only time. Don?t make the moms? group just about the babies. Once every couple of months, put on lipstick and heels, shave your legs and have a moms? night out at a nice restaurant.
Glow Mama tip: If leaving the baby with dad at bedtime is still difficult and stressful, lunches can be a good substitute. Make a reservation someplace with a nice long table, prop the baby carriers up on chairs and linger over a nice meal. Eating out with the baby is much less stressful when you?re with other moms.