Sunday, July 26, 2015

New Friends

I have a confession to make.  Four years ago, after the first time I attended play group at The Family Club, I cried all the way home.  My first child was less than a year old at the time, and I'd left my teaching job just before he was born to stay home and take care of him full time.  My life had changed in every imaginable way in a very short period of time.  The previous six months had left me feeling overwhelmed with responsibility and insecurity.  I was lonely.  Everyone said I was supposed to make "mom friends", but where was I supposed to make these connections?  It felt like dating all over again.  Did I have to troll bars looking for moms to strike up a conversation with?  Would there be small talk?  Would our kids get along?  The prospect of "getting out there" made me shudder.

When I stumbled into the nursery at Family Club that first morning, I'd pretty much decided that my sanity was going to have to be put on hold until my son was grown.  But after an hour of play group, I had been introduced to all of the parents and caregivers in attendance.  I had an earful of suggestions for my son's sleep troubles.   I had a calendar in hand that now had actual events for us to do in the coming days.  I was more secure in my role as a parent because I knew I was not alone in the parenting universe.  It's no wonder that I was completely overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude.  It was an empowering feeling to know that I had a place to go to twice a week with people who cared for my child and were supportive of my daily struggles because they experienced the same struggles.  I had "mom friends".

Four years and a second child later, I credit The Family Club and its members with saving my sanity.  The Family Club has given my kids a place to play and socialize.  It has given me a network of caring adults to support me.  It has created structure for my life as a parent.

Last week during one of our weekly summer park play dates, we had a number of new families join us.  There were babies to ogle over, toddlers to giggle with, and parents to introduce.  We pushed our kids in the swings and sat on blankets in the shade chatting about nap schedules, vacation plans, and potty training woes.  My heart swelled when I overheard one mother remark, "I have been looking for 'mom friends' for so long, and today I've met a whole bunch."

To all the new parents and caregivers who have joined us this past year, month, or week - thank you and welcome!  We are excited to know and support you.  To all the parents and caregivers looking for that sanity-saving niche on the North Shore - come and join us.  We can't wait to meet you!  We'll be at Cahill Park in Whitefish Bay this Tuesday from 9:30-11:00.  See you there!