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What Kids Need Most in a Mom

07/14/2009

There are some women who have chosen to be the World’s Greatest Mother. Their concentration on that goal has kept them too busy to pursue other interests. Hopefully, children will ultimately leave the nest. Then what? Where does a mother go who’s had nothing but her kids? There are many women who come to the end of their reproductive cycle depressed, dejected and devastated.

Children need a mother who has interests outside of them. Kids take pride in watching a mother blossom and grow. As you find new interests, you are teaching your children by example that we never stop learning.

I quote Patricia Rushford because I find that one of the worst things about being a stay-at-home mom is the tendency to become ONLY a mom. Between being pregnant, delivering children, feeding a family, being a chauffeur, keeping everyone clothed in clean garments and finding sales and awesome deals, many women lose themselves. It’s my guess that our husbands would appreciate our maintaining our own personalities, likes and interests as well! Super mom you don’t have to become, the woman who goes to pottery classes, takes law school studies in the evening, volunteers for the local political campaigns, AND takes care of her kids – but there are many benefits to having a life separate unto thyself as well as being a SAHM.

Organizations with Local Chapters

MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) – A support network of women who share the common bond of being mommy to preschool age children. Their site offers a zip code search to find a local chapter near you, and meetings appear to be 1-4 mornings a month and cover a wide variety of discussion topics. Their website offers a wealth of resources as well. Childcare is provided and moms can meet together for community involvement, mentoring opportunities, practical instruction and leadership development.  A year’s dues appear to be about $24 and includes a magazine subscription to MomSense Magazine.

Mothers and More – Again, a support network of moms both who stay at home or who work full or part time. Regular evening meetings keep you in touch with the local community of moms, stretch your intellectual muscles, and allow you to be involved in an array of activities like book clubs, playgroups, family outings, and shared babysitting. Their website offers a forum and the ability to sign up for a quarterly print newsletter. Membership dues are $45.

MOMS Club – A support group for SAH moms who typically have the common concern of raising their children in a healthy lifestyle. Volunteer babysitters provide childcare during daytime meetings. There are efforts to help needy children at least once a year, as well as classes, educational services, seminars and monthly get-togethers. MOMS understands that typically a SAHM decision is a financial sacrifice, and dues are just $15-$30.

Online Networks

Cafemom – An online community of moms and moms-to-be from all walks and in all stages of life. Find groups that personally fit your style like scrapbookers, artists, or moms of 2 under 2. Connect with groups of moms from your area for arranging childcare or play dates, even moms nights out. Articles and a wealth of resources on this free-to-join site.

Momzone – Not only does this free online community offer a forum for connecting with thousands of other moms, it offers a unique web experience tailored just for a mom complete with a search engine, news articles specifically geared towards moms, e-cards, site submission, e-books, freebies and more.

Hotmomsclub – Just for fun. 🙂 The magazine version of an online moms club. Articles, events and a magazine are found on this site as well as a community. Find groups like moms over 30, mommy entrepreneurs, mothers of boys, etc.

Church Groups

Few churches don’t have a ladies Bible study, prayer time or quarterly gathering of some sort specifically designed for the women in the church. If there isn’t, it really takes very little time and effort to create such a group. You can get great study guides and workbooks online or in your local Christian bookstore. Go for it. You’d be surprised how enjoyable these events end up being!

Friends and Acquaintances

Don’t underestimate a quick phone call to 1 or 2 friends to ask to meet for a quick cup of coffee or lunch. Meet up somewhere that has a play area for the kids and just enjoy a short interlude of mom-time in your day.

Classes

Local and online classes for pretty much any subject are readily available, some free or for a nominal fee. Check your newspaper, local magazines, the web, etc. What better way to broaden your horizon than to take a class in photography techniques from the local library chapter of your county’s photo club? Not only could you learn, you might end up saving money (and frustration) by NOT having to take your kids to the dreaded portrait session. Or a class at Michael’s craft store on cake decorating. Who wouldn’t like to skip the Publix bakery cake in lieu of a homemade delight?

In short, I simply encourage all moms, especially those who stay at home with their children, to network with something other than your child’s stuffed animal collection. Not only will it provide valuable face-time with other moms, it will broaden horizons, offer a time for (let’s be honest) free childcare for a few hours, and the opportunity to build lasting friendships in our local and online communities.

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