Find support and meet other local moms with large families

Two parents sit with their four children in a park

There is a group for almost everything and everyone online these days, the key is knowing where to look. The Durham Region Big Happy Families Facebook group is one of those hidden gems. This group was created for moms raising large families in Durham to provide support both online and in-person with meetups. This is a great resource for local information to answer any burning questions that apply to large size families – things like what vehicle to buy to fit the family, how to manage family schedules and more. There are no requirements set by the group for what’s considered a ‘large’ family, so if you feel you fit into this description, I encourage you to join and start meeting some other moms in the area just like you!

 

photo credit

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The Motherhood Scene’s Top Posts of 2014

Two moms stand next to each other with their babies in strollers

It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed and that we are in 2015. Where does the time go? The top five posts of 2014, ranked by number of readers, show that there are a lot of you interested in attending meetups for moms:

If you are looking to start your year in the best possible way for both you and baby, sign up now for a meetup in your area. I can promise it will make the difference between enjoying mat leave and enduring it!

 

photo credit

What to do with baby’s old clothes: Facebook Buy, Sell and Swap groups

What it is: There are multiple groups in the Durham area that have been created solely for parents that are looking to buy, sell and swap items that they no longer need. Items range from household items to furniture to baby clothes.

How it works: Locate and join the relevant Facebook groups and familiarize yourself with the rules for each group. Each group will have their own rules for how to post your listing so be sure to check this out too. Once you are satisfied with the photos that you have taken for your listing, upload the photos to a post within the group and include any information that you find relevant for potential buyers. Sizing, clothing condition, brand and asking price are all important to buyers.

Sample Baby Outfit Listing in the Facebook Buy Sell and Swap groups

As a general guide most Facebook listings will look something like this

Below is a list of all the Facebook classified groups for the Durham region:

Pros: You’re able to manage all interactions with buyers through Facebook. This is handy if you have the Facebook app installed on your phone so you can respond to any questions wherever you are. Interacting with someone else over Facebook is also great for security – being able to see someone else’s photo and profile helps screen sellers to make sure that they are legit.

Cons: The number of notifications you receive might bother you, selling through your account may be uncomfortable for those of you that like privacy, any posts you make on the group timeline will get pushed down (out of view) by other people in the group that post.

Value Potential: 2 out of 3. Time is an investment here. You may have to interact with multiple potential buyers asking questions about your items, also consider how much time you have to meet up with buyers to check out whatever you sell. The money you can potentially get for the clothes is high (compared to what you’d get in consignment or resale stores) if you find the right buyer, but it may take time to find this person.

Cost: Listing within these groups is free.

How to manage a baby meltdown when you’re not at home

Ah, we’ve all been there at some point with baby meltdowns. There comes a time when the cries begin to sound like requests rather than just noise. This is when you begin to hit your stride as a mom and realize you know your little one best. When a baby meltdown hits, I like being home to have everything I need handy. Nursing pillow is always near, there are lots of places to lay down for quiet time, and even a roomful of toys in case baby boredom has struck. But being out of the house with a meltdown on my hands? That takes a special kind of resourcefulness that only a mom can understand.

A baby crying

It takes time to build up the confidence to leave the house for any period of time with baby, especially as you’re learning that perfect mix of items to keep in your diaper bag to help you while you’re out. Here are a few strategies that I’ve learned from my many meltdowns so far:

  • Scan the area for a sympathetic face. If you’re somewhere public like a supermarket or shopping centre, someone will be empathizing with what you’re going through. See if your baby is interested in interacting with this person. The change in energy can lighten the mood for both baby and you.
  • Show baby an item they haven’t seen before. I bring toys with me for baby wherever I go but sometimes even this doesn’t work in my favour. There are usually plenty of items available out of the house for baby to see which always ends up being far more interesting than what I bring along. These don’t need to be other toys either – A kitchen spatula at a department store or a bright red fire extinguisher may catch the attention of those curious little eyes.
  • Consider removing or adding a piece of clothing. If baby is hot, then loosening a onesie or popping open a few buttons on a sleeper can help cool them down. If baby is cold and you don’t have extra layers on hand, consider using a sweater or shirt of your own to drape over them.
  • Find a quiet area to recharge. Overstimulation is tough on a little baby, and what calms them down will depend a lot on their little personality. Public washrooms may seem like a good idea but I’ve found that the loud sounds in a washroom (hand dryers, multiple toilets flushing) can be disruptive. Instead, ask an employee to direct you to a quiet area in a store or venue so that you can be alone with your little one and give them time to calm down.

What are some of your strategies for baby meltdowns? I’d love to hear what’s worked for you in the comments below.

 

pic via earlyinterventionsupport.com

Drop-in family storytime at the Whitby Library (Rossland Branch)

Depending on the local library branch that you visit in Durham, drop-in storytime programs can get chaotic due to their popularity. Some babies do well in social and busy environments, but for those that prefer a more quiet and intimate group experience, a smaller location like the Whitby Library on Rossland Road may be a better fit.

The area where storytime at the Whitby library, Rossland Branch, takes place

Family Storytime is held in the back corner of this branch in the children’s book section, where parents and caregivers can sit with their little one on the mat to listen to stories read by one of the librarians. Librarians will read stories from the library collection and have parents and children interact by answering questions about illustrations. After a book is read, any children that are willing are encouraged to join in with singing songs or playing activities like rolling a ball to other members in the group.

Drop-in Family Storytime is held at the Whitby Library, Rossland Branch (701 Rossland Road East, Whitby) on Fridays from 10.30-11am. This program will continue weekly from now until Friday, December 12th. Registration is not required. Children and babies of all ages are welcome.

Cost: Free.

 

To find out more, visit the Whitby Library event page for details.

Helpful tips for attending your first mommy meetup

Mom walks on a footpath with a child in the stroller

To help ease any worries you may have before joining your first meetup, here are some tips that I’ve learned along the way:

  • Find out where the group is meeting in the location that’s listed. e.g. If the meetup is at a playground, where in the playground will all the moms be?
  • Check out the profiles of the other moms that have RSVP’d to the event that you’re attending. Usually moms will include information here about the age of their babies and what they are looking to get out of the group. This is a nice icebreaker for when you arrive and you’re looking for a way to start a conversation.
  • Bring supplies. Having sunscreen or wipes on hand when another mom has been in need has helped me start conversations when I was feeling shy.
  • Take along a carrier or lightweight stroller. Unless you’re part of a mommy stroller group, having lightweight equipment to navigate a new space will help you to focus on spending time with other moms rather than worrying that your stroller is blocking someone’s way.
  • Check in first with the person who organized the event when you arrive. Let them know you’re there and that it’s your first meetup. Meetup organizers are usually passionate about helping other moms get out of the house and will be more than happy to introduce you to others within the group.
  • Give it a chance. Some weeks I went to meetups and I was zombie tired (barely functioning or talking) and other weeks I was buzzing from having such a good day with baby. The same goes for all the other moms there. Give them a chance before you decide if a certain meetup isn’t for you.
  • Lower your expectations. If you expect to come out of one meetup event with a playdate partner you may be disappointed. Focus on using this as an opportunity to get out of the house and be proud when you do it! It’s not easy to get out of the house like we used to when we have baby in tow.

Now that you’ve got an idea of how to get started and what to expect, you’re ready to take the plunge!

 

pic via pgeveryday.com

What to expect at a mommy meetup

When I first went to a meetup, I felt a little awkward putting myself out there. I desperately wanted to have some other mom friends who were also going through the same thing as me, and I had no idea where to start. For as long as I could remember, friends either just happened or developed through interests that I had outside of work and school. Finding a partner online has become the norm, but finding a friend online? This was a whole new world for me.

A group of moms stand together with their babies in strollers

In my experience attending meetups, I’ve learned that every mom has the same reasons for being there as you do. Many of them are dying to talk with someone who gets what it’s like to be a new mom, but they may not know how to begin a conversation about all that they’re going through.

Meetup groups vary in format because they are organized and hosted by moms who are all as individual as the next. Generally speaking, meetups are very informal. There aren’t name tags or introductions where you have to face the group and find the right words to avoid sounding stir-crazy. Meetups are usually held in public places and from the outside looking in, it can look like a big group of friends getting together. At first it may look like there are some cliques within the group and this is normal. The moms that know each other well are most likely the regulars which is a good sign the meetup is worthwhile. There’s a reason they keep coming along!

If the meetup you choose to go to is held at one location (like a playground, or cafe) then punctuality is not an issue. Being anywhere on time as a mom is tricky enough, so if you are running late, know that no one is judging you for it. There are lots of ways to start conversation but one of the best is to introduce both yourself, your baby and to mention your baby’s age. This often means there are a lot of names to remember at a meetup but, most moms there will do their best to get to know everyone there and learn their name. With conversation, you’re able to talk about anything so long as you reserve any judgement. What may surprise you is how easily you can talk about all the stuff you can’t say in front of your friends without kids. You can talk about diaper blow outs over coffee and most moms wont bat an eyelid. They’ll laugh along with you or nod in understanding.

If you find yourself enjoying spending time with another mom there, take the opportunity to ask her to catch up again. If you know of another mommy meetup, baby program or stroller trail, invite that mom to join you. She will probably appreciate the chance to do something different and get out of the house. Swapping phone numbers and keeping in touch over text is recommended before taking the plunge with a Facebook friend request. Do I almost sound as if I could be talking about dating? Well, it can feel like that. Most new moms will feel that way when they’re making new mommy friends!

If you’re still feeling a little hesitant, in my next post I’ll be giving my tried-and-tested tips for attending your first mommy meetup. Stay tuned for more!

 

pic via readysteadymums.blogspot.ca