What should I look for in a group?
Articles - Mommy Groups
Consider your needs when selecting a moms? group
 
New moms across the country are finding different creative, fun and educational ways to get together. Figuring out what you want from a group is the first step toward choosing which one to join.
 
First, don?t wait to start researching groups. If you?re still pregnant, it?s not too early to at least start thinking about joining a group after you have your baby. Start picking up materials you find ? newsletters or flyers at your OB/GYN?s office and hospital or free magazines for parents ? and browse community bulletin boards online to find out what?s available in your city.
 
A moms? group is a great fit if it gives you what you need to restore your energy. But until the baby arrives you might not really know what you need and want. Is it a small group of girlfriends who you can chat with while your babies roll around on the floor, or more of a true support group? Do you want workout partners so you can get back in shape? Or maybe you?re looking for a reason to get dressed up and do something sans baby a couple of times a month.
 
Here are some things to consider when selecting your ideal moms? group:
 
  • How it?s structured. Some groups run by organizations or small businesses use facilitators to help women break the ice and discuss issues. They may bring in speakers as well. Some moms appreciate the chance to dive in deeply right away. Others prefer a more informal setting, such as a playgroup or coffee klatch that meets at members? houses or local cafes.

  •  Size. A moms? group can be three people or hundreds of people. Large, geographically based groups may charge an annual fee and organize diverse events such as hikes and outings each month, so moms can meet a range of people. Other groups like the intimacy of a handful of members and limit their group sizes.

  • Location. When your baby is young and unpredictable, the last thing you want to have to do is drive a long way and sit in traffic to get to a moms? group meeting. Make sure you choose a group that holds events nearby, ideally within five miles of your home.

  • Cost. With fee-based groups, you?re guaranteed to get something out of the experience ? several weeks of facilitated discussions, or participation in workshops or exercise classes. The fee covers the cost of running and promoting the group. There are plenty of cost-free ways to meet up with moms, and those groups? success depends more on the chemistry of the group than the work of an organizer.

  • Activities. Some groups focus on certain things that all the members love to do. They might take weekly walks or exercise classes together or get involved in community service. One group in Chicago hosts ?Baby Bites,? monthly luncheons with speakers, while a hospital in Boulder puts on new mom teas. 

  • Interests. Groups pop up for moms even with the most narrowly defined interests. One example is NINO, a national group with local chapters for moms who enjoy wearing their babies in carriers such as slings, Ergos and mei teis. Signing groups let parents of both hearing and deaf children practice American Sign Language. There are groups for moms of ?multiples? (twins or triplets), working moms and single moms, as well as ones that are spiritual, meditative or therapeutic.
Of course, if you still can?t find a group that turns you on, you can always start your own. Find out how to meet and recruit other moms and how to host your first meeting.