It was late July and I had just posted a meet-up with our playgroup, our destination, Rolling Hills Water Park in Ypsilanti, MI. As a mom I was slightly terrified, how was I going to watch all three kiddos go in three different directions at a water park? Turns out one of the best things I ever did was to make the event a playdate meet-up! Many eyes and hands make for light work when it comes to watching children. Playgroup moms are like an extension of themselves. We each divided and conquered the water park that day. Two moms took a group of kiddos to the lazy river, another two took kids to the water slides, and two stayed by the splash area with toddlers, and it was such a relaxing, enjoyable, and fun day for all of us, moms and kiddos. Seven years later and we are still continuing the tradition!
It was a stifling July afternoon. My 3 year old and 2 year old were bickering over the same toy for the third time in an hour. I was suffering from a mild depression due to a false positive pregnancy test. And to add insult to injury, my husband and I had just had a colossal fight. The tears just started rolling down my cheeks; I just wanted to melt into the floorboards. I felt so isolated; motherhood began to feel less like a blessing and more like a punishment. Sure, I had friends, friends that either weren’t married yet and/or didn’t have children. And once I had children those friends seemed to avoid me like the plague, or, at least that was the way my exhausted mommy brain had interpreted it at the time. In reality our lives were just so different, when they were going out in the evening I was going to bed. On occasion they would try to send me some positive vibes like, “hang in there, it’ll get better” type comments. But let’s be honest receiving comment like that from friends who couldn’t relate to any of my daily woes as a mom was as useful as getting auto mechanic advice from my dentist. And then IT happened I received an email, an email that would end up changing my life.
A couple months prior to my meltdown in the living room, I had joined a small Playgroup of 9 moms on Meetup.com. I had joined it in the midst of my hurricane of pity that I dubbed motherhood. They had a couple of playdate meetup that I wasn’t able to attend and apparently no one else was either because the organizer was done. The email stated that the Playgroup-in-Toledo was available for anyone who wished to take it over for a small fee of $15 a month. I must have been in the eye of that motherhood storm at the time, not quite thinking clearly because I did something so outside this introverts comfort zone to this day it still shocks the heck out of me, I took the leap…I jumped! I took over as the organizer for the Playgroup-in-Toledo. And what started off as 9 moms grew to over 200. It turned out that I wasn’t alone in this hurricane of pity; in fact with each meetup we had I could literally feel the dark clouds dissipating. The sun finally shined down, motherhood became a blessing again, even on my crappiest of motherhood days. I am so thankful something told me to jump, to take that leap that hot July afternoon because I ended up landing on a huge net, my net-work of other moms, I finally found my tribe.
Do you have a motherhood tribe?
Why you need your Tribe:
- Companionship– “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” C. S. Lewis. It is comforting to have other women to commiserate with, who understand, can relate, and even offer suggestions on how to survive a colic infant, sore nipples, potty training, tantrums, night terrors, Kindergarten, tweens, teenagers, etc.
- Many Hands make Light Work– Whether you are meeting up with other moms for a playdate at someone’s home, out and about on the town, or are taking turns providing childcare during a meeting, having extra sets of eyes and hands makes life much easier and more enjoyable.
- Access to a vault of knowledge– I must say women now a days are amazing, they are more than “just moms”, they are entrepreneurs, book writers, professors, homeschoolers, scientists, trainers, coaches, chefs, etc. And having that brilliant network of ladies on speed dial is advantageous….whether you just burnt dinner or are struggling to help your 8th grader with their science homework, these ladies put Siri to shame.
- They Raise you Up and Talk you Down-You know you have officially found your tribe when they raise you up, support your efforts, and encourage you to strive towards your goals, no matter how big or small. Likewise, when you are down on yourself and ready to jump off that preverbal cliff they are there to talk you down from your despair one step at a time.
- Life was meant to be Lived-Lucy(s) need their Ethel(s), Thelma(s), their Louise(s), and Laverne(s), their Shirley(s) to do crazy fun things with….a moms’ night out, movie, dance class, paint pottery, etc. Everyone needs those people in their lives who will say yes to experiences, who will join you on this magnificent adventure.
Where can you find your tribe?
Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS)
Location: Washington Church, 3925 W Central Ave. Toledo, OH 43606-2766
Phone: (419) 536-3789
Meetings: Sept.-May, 1st & 3rd Friday of the Month at 9:30am to11:30am
A MOPS meeting includes practical teaching through speakers, demonstrations and videos. Plus, there’s usually food! But more important, you’ll get to have honest conversations with other moms who understand the joys and frustrations of motherhood. We’ve all been placed in this time and place in history, as the tribe of women who are raising the world. We know we mother better together, so all moms are welcome at MOPS. From the time you get pregnant to when your kiddo is in Kindergarten, our doors are open.
Bloom (for Mothers and Grandmothers)
Location: Little Flower Catholic Church
Meetings: September to May, 2nd Thursday from 9:00am – 11:15am
Bloom is a program for Catholic mothers in all stages of mothering/grandmothering, which will meet on the second Thursday of each month from September to May, from 9:00am – 11:15am in the St. Francis Room. Please contact Ann Francis at firstname.lastname@example.org or register online at http://alturl.com/st6oe
Mothers’ Center of Greater Toledo
Location: West Toledo YMCA
Meetings: Held once a week on Thursday mornings, beginning at 9:45 am and concluding at 11:15 am
They are a non-profit established in 1984 that meets regularly to share common experiences, make new friends and enjoy the company of peers while the children are supervised by experienced childcare workers. In addition to weekly meetings, they offer playdates, an Executive Mommas group for working mothers and many family activities. If you’re looking for fun, friendships, social activities, parenting ideas, community involvement opportunities, or just a reason to get out of the house with your little ones, they might be just what you’ve been searching for.
FiA (Females in Action) Toledo Exercise Group
Location: Varies (see website)
Meetings: Vary see website
Before the demands of the day pull us in different directions, FiA’s start their day with a 45 minute workout. During this time, we experience a physical and personal growth that radiates through the rest of our day – enabling us to be better daughters, sisters, employees, spouses, friends, bosses and mothers.
-FiA’s develop incredible female friendships
-At FiA, they are focused on supporting and encouraging one another to push beyond our comfort zones.
-Supporting you, challenging you, and cheering you on – those 45 minutes are a great investment in you so that when you’re tackling all the rest of your roles – your heart, mind and body are ready.
-This environment brings out the good in each of us and helps us connect/relate based on our common interest to get fit and be healthy. And then we build on this commonality by providing opportunities for women to get to know each other through our book clubs, Bible studies, and socials.
MOMs (Mommies Of Munchkins)
Location: Napoleon Church of the Nazarene 630 Appian Ave. Napoleon OH 43545
Meetings: First Friday of each month 9-11am
Meets in Napoleon the first Friday of every month from 9-11a!! Group of welcoming mommas talking all things mom while sipping coffee/tea and snacking! Free childcare provided!
MOMsNext (A Sister group to MOPs)
Location: Washington Church, 3925 W Central Ave. Toledo, OH 43606-2766
Phone: (419) 536-3789
Meetings: Sept – May: Mtg 1st & 3rd Friday of the Month at 9:30am – 11:30am
If you are a mom with school aged children and are free in the morning, then come check out MomsNext! Come meet some amazing women, who are on the same journey of motherhood as you are.
Toledo Area Playgroup
Location: Online, https://www.facebook.com/groups/147320928783529/
Local mom’s with kids who want to get together with other mom’s who have kids.
Location: Christ the Word 3100 Murd Rd, Sylvania, OH 43560
Phone: (419) 829-2005
Meetings: Sept-May First Wednesday of the month 9:15AM-11AM
Mom2mom is a Toledo area mom’s group designed to grow friendships and strengthen families. We meet the first Wednesday of the month from September through May. Our theme this year is “Deep Roots ~ Strong Moms”. Free childcare is provided. Registration is open!
I know it can be a little scary at first but remember, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. Neale Donald Walsch
Know of additional Mom Tribes in Toledo? Please comment & share.
There should be a national hug a mom of a toddler day! Seriously, the toddler years are some of the most trying times. It’s a potpourri of independent streaks, tantrums, crying, whining, exhaustion, frustration, etc. I have come to the conclusion that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was inspired by a toddler. They are happy and giving mommy kisses one second and then suddenly laying on a dirty public restroom floor kicking there feet and screaming the next, all because they wanted to pull the paper towel out of the dispenser themselves. How dare you mom, now you must suffer with severe embarrassment as strangers walk in and give you “the look”. And you can forget about ever being on time because toddlers will find a way to sabotage that whole punctuality thing you had going on before you had kids. They will want to put their coats on themselves and it will be the most agonizing 15 minutes of your life. They will put it on upside down, inside out, miss snaps, snap their fingers accidentally, put their hood on, take their hood off, and then, just when they almost have it, will declare that they aren’t wearing a coat. Then they will focus there attention on the invisible bumps in their socks!