Back in May, I posted about attending an outing with a playgroup organized through a local Mom's Club to which I belong. I haven't done much with this organization because many of the meetings are in the morning and at the time I did NOT mess with the Morning Nap (sadly, as of late, the Morning Nap has been taking a big ole Dirt Nap of its own. sob). Anyway, I didn't attend any more playgroup sessions with that particular group but will start attending the organizational meetings because they are pretty educational ( RIP, Morning Nap. I hardly knew ye.) Anyway, getting back to the playgroup, it was the anti-homosexual comments that put me over the edge - Arun is going to be exposed to that sort of thing soon enough, why hasten it? So, instead I decided that I would focus on the playgroup I had already sorta put together. I met a few gals when we were meeting at the breastfeeding support group at the hospital - Arun and I began attending when he was 3 weeks old. Eventually, I suggested we start getting together to go walking on the alternative Wednesdays since we were still in the throes of Losing the Baby Weight. As our babies got older, it seemed we needed to release them from their strollers so that they could actually play and exchange pathogens. Then, I met Amanda and asked her to join. Then, I met Bethiclaus and she's been bringing Alliclaus (who is quite delicious, I might add!) AND, if my friend R can get her schedule arranged, I am hoping she can come. My hope for this group has always been to just gather a gang of moms together who have the same goal in mind - to have fun hanging out while their babies play and maybe enjoy some adult company as a bonus. I like that we live in different parts of the metro and that our babies are all different ages (the downside of Mom's Club is that it is based on zip code). Also, it's fun to see Alliclaus do things that Arun doesn't do anymore and it's cool to see A. do things that Arun will be doing soon. For the most part, the playgroup has been going fine. Yeah, we had Nervous Nellie attend once, but I think my lack of childproofing and my homemade toys scared her away because I haven't heard from her since. I know she was part of another group and honestly? She is probably happier with them than us anyway, so I suspect that no one was really "put out" in the grand scheme of thing.
So, when I read the post about playgroups at Mom's Daily Dose, I was disappointed to see in the comments some negativity expressed towards playgroups in general. For example, several commenters said that "playgroups are for moms anyway". Um, yeah - but what's wrong with that? Isn't it supposed to be a social interaction for both moms and their children? Why would I purposefully hang out with people I don't like? I've also heard the comment that the "babies don't play with each other, anyway". Um, yeah - babies primarily do what's called "parallel play" at this point, but they are still interacting and beginning the process of learning how to share. Furthermore, changing the location every week allows the babies to experience new toys and new environments which goes many, many Miles in the form of Entertainment. However, what made me really sad was the commenter who said "I have no evidence to back this up with but nothing good can come of playgroups. I think they were invented by communists. And Hitler." Wow. I am guessing that gal had one helluva playgroup experience for a comment like that.
Overall, trying out playgroups has been an interesting experience for me. Yeah, I spent an afternoon with a couple of Homophobic Vegetable Haters, but it was an entertaining afternoon, at least. And yes, I've come across some moms who Compare and Compete, but those moms dwell outside of playgroups as well and can never, ever be entirely avoided. Regardless, I have made some nice friends because of the playgroup thing. Last week, I got to see A. walk for the first time and it was so exciting for me to see her impression of Michael Jackson in The Thriller - after all, I've been watching her grow up since she was 9 weeks old! And for Bethiclaus, I know it was comforting to her when Alliclaus was going through her CT Scan Scare knowing that Amanda had gone through the same thing. And for me, its a relief that they don't think I am a terrible mother because my kid has a predilection for eating dirt, leaves, sticks, and cat food. They laugh just as much as I do (because watching a kid eat dirt IS funny.)
So, in the end, just like any other social group, there can be some bad apples, good apples or just apples for which you don't care for the taste. However, belonging to a playgroup is more than just about "playing". It's about making new friends and supporting each other through all the trials and tribulations of motherhood. And maybe discussing diaper brands and the last episode of The Amazing Race. It's just another social group - nothing more, nothing less.
Well, less alcohol. And that? Is a downside.