As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, what if your “village” is a few hundred miles away? As a transplanted New Yorker and new parent, I’m feeling now more than ever the distance between my family and me as we straddle two sides of the Mason-Dixon line.
I wouldn’t say I’m a shy person, but being a mom has made me more outgoing than ever as I bustle around town. I figure, why not strike up conversations and meet people who seem to be in the same boat as me? Drew and I joke about how when we see family with another stroller, we make a bee line toward them. We’ve met three neighboring families this way: No “stranger danger” on our street.
So do these chance meetings here and there constitute a village? Not quite. But we’re getting there! What is helping to not only fill out but largely compose my new local village are a set of organizations for moms that I am relying on more and more each day. Questions about teething? Ask a mom with a kid a few months older than mine. Looking for a sunshade for the beach? Post a classified on a list serve. Looking for an outing to survive Bean’s 4pm witching hour? Check the calendars for upcoming playdates.
Here is a list of the moms groups I’ve joined that help fill up my calendar, provide sage advice and offer friendship. Do you have another moms group you’re in? Do share!
Vienna Moms. The premier organization for moms living in the Vienna area, now 300 members strong! As members have told me again and again, Vienna Moms is really for the moms, not the kids. Moms get a robust list serv, fun monthly Moms Night Out events at local venues, and special interest clubs for things like cooking and crafting. But kids get bi-product benefits like weekly playgroups, monthly kid outings and moms who can vent to friends. Full disclosure: I’m the Co-Chair for Social Events for moms. (I just helped host my first event and it was a hit – 40 members showed, which is an excellent turn out!)
Moms with Cameras in NoVa. This group just started in May on Meetup.com, after the founder sought newborn babies for a photo shoot and ended up getting a response from 60 moms interested in photography! The group now has 72 members. We go different places around NoVa and sometimes into DC and MD. Since I’m trying to learn how to use a new, fancy camera, this group does double duty for me.
The Fairfax Corner Moms Meetup. This group is for moms with kids born after January 2007, and offers camaraderie and activities around the Fairfax/ Fair Lakes area. There are weekly playdates, coffee talks and lunches. With 229 members, this is also a sizable group.
Holistic Moms Network. This is one that I haven’t joined yet but want to explore further. The group is focused on connecting parents who are interested in holistic health and green living. It encourages moms to “trust their instincts, parent from the heart, use their innate sense of what is best for their children, live in balance with the Earth, and learn about the pros and cons of all healthcare and parenting options”. Has anyone had much experience with them? I’d love to learn more.
On a related note: if you’re a busy mom who moves and shakes, connects and networks, you might like these free Kodak “Mommy Cards” that put your info into a handy business-type card for sharing.