As with most new moms, when Big Sister E was a baby I tried to follow the tips and advice that I heard from family, friends, online, books, etc... but, honestly, quite a bit was just made up as I went along.
That seems to be what parenthood is all about, doesn't it?
So after the early, sleepless months had passed and the two of us seemed to have the whole motherhood thing competently covered, it was of course time to take our little two-gal show out into the world. We tried all sorts of new things, ranging from story times at various libraries, swim lessons (or, what would more aptly be called stand-there-in-the-water-and-splash-around time), music classes, and more.
And we had a great time, that chunky, easy-going baby and I.
But as time passed, I started to want... a little more. I still really enjoyed heading to the classes and lessons and taking walks in the warm weather and all, but I wanted... to connect. I wanted to do more than have a casual, "Hi, how're you guys doing?" friendship than we did with the other moms that we saw.
I wanted the elusive playgroup.
Everyone seemed to toss the word around in conversations and the idea of having a group where my daughter could form bonds with other kids her age while I could expand my own circle of friends sounded like just what we needed.
So, after searching online and having no luck in finding a playgroup in my area to join, I took it upon myself to do something that, at the time, was a little out of my comfort zone: I decided to start one myself.
The next time I saw them, I crossed my fingers tightly and asked three other women (two moms and one nanny) if they and their kids wanted to join a playgroup. I knew them all individually and already thought they were wonderful, so I really didn't worry that they would all get along just fine.
And you know what? I was right.
It has now been, I don't know, maybe close to three years since that day, and every week when we all get together I still consider it to be one of the best decisions that I've made for myself and my girls. One of the original moms unfortunately moved away, but we've had new friends come and join us that we've loved getting to know and besides, it doesn't matter how big or small the group is when we meet, we're just happy to see our friends.
Except that I'm pretty sure the kids and I consider them to be more than friends.
Us adults have shared laughs, asked advice, discussed frustrations, celebrated achievements, and more and I feel like I could probably ask these women anything and they would bend over backwards to help me without a second thought. To be honest, they're pretty amazing and I look up to them in more ways than one.
But as well as making me feel special, every time I see my daughters play with friends that they've known for most of their lives, the level of enjoyment that they get out of it is pretty obvious. It doesn't matter if the entire playgroup gets together or if only a few are able to come that week, there's just nothing like the happiness of loving those that you consider family.
Have you tried something outside of your comfort zone in the past? What were the results?