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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:41 pm 
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equus wrote:
when I got to the part where I had an emergency c-section--that saved baby equus' life and probably mine too--one woman literally boo'ed me. As in, interrupted me mid-sentence to yell "booooooo!" about the c-section. Who DOES that?

So my input for a parenting group would be to keep both the group and the conversation topics respectful and inclusive. Even in "crunchy" circles, the paths to and through parenthood take a lot of different twists and turns. Parents sometimes catch a lot of crepe from the world at large--stink-eyes over a fussy child in the grocery store, pointed glares in restaurants, etc.--so a parenting group should be a safe place where everyone's story and style is welcome.


Holy shiitake! I can't believe anyone would do that!

And yes, yes, yes to non-judgmental and inclusive.

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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:12 pm 
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equus wrote:
We were sharing birth stories one day and when I got to the part where I had an emergency c-section--that saved baby equus' life and probably mine too--one woman literally boo'ed me. As in, interrupted me mid-sentence to yell "booooooo!" about the c-section. Who DOES that?



Oh sweet bejesus. You know, this is why "crunchy" parents get so much crepe. Yeah, c-sections can suck, but it's amazing and so wonderful that they exist for those select times that they're needed. Same with formula. And strollers. And cribs. And wine. Where was I...

This just reminds me of the first (and last) time I went to the organized baby play group at my midwives' office (not run by them, but by a mother who they let borrow the space every week). Ezra was about 3 months and I was in the midst of my hardcore PPD and was really anxious going out in public and talking to people. We were sharing our birth stories (all homebirths with the midwives), and it got to my turn and this woman who I had never seen before waved her hand in my general direction to stop me and said, "Oh no, she got <makes that noise you make when you jerk your finger across your neck like you're slitting it, except across the abdomen>." The looks of pity and revolution I received from that told me it wasn't the place for me. I cried so freaking hard that night.

Parenting is one of those topics like politics and religion - it's bound to cause some tension from differing beliefs. But as long as people can be respectful and realize that every situation is different and that you have no idea what it's like to be anyone else on this planet (and who am I kidding how often does that really happen...), things could be great. We need so much support as new parents, and it's so effing hard to get it.


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:50 pm 
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flavabean wrote:
We were sharing our birth stories (all homebirths with the midwives), and it got to my turn and this woman who I had never seen before waved her hand in my general direction to stop me and said, "Oh no, she got <makes that noise you make when you jerk your finger across your neck like you're slitting it, except across the abdomen>." The looks of pity and revolution I received from that told me it wasn't the place for me. I cried so freaking hard that night.


Oh I think I know that woman! Does she look like this?

Image

The cliquey crepe just drives me insane, from any group. I was in the thick of PPA when the "booooo!" incident happened, and it definitely did not help. I guess the silver lining is that I learned firsthand that virtually every new (and not-so-new) parent is probably going through some kind of major shiitake at any given moment, whether it shows or not. Probably the moms who made shitty judgmental anti-c-section comments were going through their own brand of major shiitake at the time. Which doesn't make me want to smack them any less, but still.


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:43 pm 
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first, i am sorry for all the crappy people coming to groups you guys have had to encounter. it does sound like this might be really hard to monitor, but it seems like 'leadership' with gentler spirits might help. I was envisioning something without lots of leadership, but perhaps that would help.

as for the role of mother and parent and how it intersects with the formation of a group- i am struggling with this. I feel like i personally would like men, especially men who are primary caregivers to feel welcome. Heck, i would love to have husbands and wives both be involved. In our family, we had to choose for one of us to work so that one of us could be at home with our child since there wasn't a suitable childcare situation available to us. It ended up being my husband and we have struggled with the traditional roles we have fallen into. It just feels like the tension in these group situations might come from the tension we feel at home over these things?? Perhaps in my case it does.

I'm not sure we will have a large enough group, but if this gets going, i definitely would like to have like a family social hour sometimes- i am an idea person, i have have been thinking wouldn't it be great if we had monthly family soup fridays? we could make a big batch of vegan soup, everyone could come, bring something to go with, eat, the kids could run around, the parents could get to know each other. Way ahead of myself again.


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:52 pm 
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Bathes in Braggs
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Dinners have actually worked great for our group. The biggest success so far was pizza night. The host made a giant batch of pizza dough the day before, the rest of us grabbed random veggies and topping from the fridge. I brought began cheese and sausage and made about half the pizza vegan. The kids ran around, the moms and dads drank a beer and took turns topping pizzas. Super easy, very cheap and lots of fun. We did Friday night so a slightly late evening wouldn't be too problematic.


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:16 pm 
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Resurrecting the thread. I have had 3 meetings so far for the group (meeting twice a month, and we met today). And all the kids are way younger then my son and moms are making connections with each other- great for them, but not so much for us. Also the pattern seems to be people come, they meet others with kids their age and make plans to get together- i want that. But, they don't come back after they make friends. And my son is being way too aggressive and having trouble sharing, i have spent more time trying to settle him down outside of the group then meeting people myself. I kinda feel like i don't want to do this anymore. I feel like my son and i are not fitting in and i started the group. I am telling myself to try for one more month. What do you think?


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:40 pm 
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Jildez, maybe try and give it another shot. Or advertise for older kids?

I have two mom groups I go to. The one group has dad activities once a month and there is a dads group here as well. The moms groups usually start when the babies are newborn and with the breastfeeding I get why they are for females only. I am fine with pulling a boob out in front of guys, but not everyone feels that way.

We meet at people's houses as well as at parks, beaches, restaurants, etc. I love my moms groups. People are almost always accepting of however you choose to raise your baby, which is awesome. Although I have mentioned it before, they are all Weston price lovers and that bums me out sometimes.


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 4:04 pm 
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I am going to chalk all of this up to a learning experience, I ran into one of the moms today at the farmers market who had told me she wanted to help- after a meeting said she was going to set up a fb page and then stopped coming. She told me today that she felt uncomfortable at the group so she didn't come back. I just sent off emails which i hope were pleasant, but i said i was stopping because i didnt feel i was able to to all that was needed to make it a success.

I think if you are wanting to do something like this- its probably better to start with more then one parent who is going to organize, i think having some bearing and or roots in the area would help. I think also being the kind of person who is more comfortable with others then i am would help.


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:07 pm 
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That's too bad. It sounds like she was comfortable enough with you since she told you that, maybe the group was just meh. I know I would be scared to try to organize something like this. Finding a partner would probably take off some of the pressure.


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:47 pm 
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yeah, i am feeling... tender, i knew it was a possibility when i started it up, and you don't get anywhere if you don't try. Another mom, who i know from LLL chatted with me on g-chat about it, and she has decided to go forward with the group with a limitation of 2 and under. I hope it works out for them, she is a local girl so i hope that will make it a better fit for her.

Its hard, we are back to square one perhaps even further back then that. i am not going to LLL anymore because they changed from a church nursery which was big and filled with toys to the same space we were using, a room in an (awesome) local baby store, but its small, and there are only what toys the moms bring, and my son who will be three in a room with 10 or moms and babies, often newborns, isn't a good fit.

In the fall, i have enrolled him in a cooperative nursery school, where all the parents put in a few hours a week to help the teacher in the classroom. Its only two mornings a week for 2 hours each day, but i hope it will help both of us make connections. In the meantime, i'm hoping we can make some friends at the park and farmer's market this spring. From what people tell me, it gets over 110 F here in the summer and so then people retreat indoors again.


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:40 pm 
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I am sorry it didn't work out, and I hope the nursery school is able to help you both find some connections to nurture you.

Good luck. It is really tough to meet people, especially people that you like who happen to have kids the same age who can get along with your kids.

For what its worth, I have a similar issue, especially being an older mom and being vegan. I've been spending a lot more time around omnivores who happen to have kids the same age as Leela, and I don't like it. Today I hung out with an old friend, and we ran into some of her other friends and I sat there as they talked about taking their kids to zoos and this old-timey farm where you can milk cows. I suggested they visit our local farm animal sanctuary because its so cool, but they didn't seem to get the concept of a sanctuary for farm animals. Then they all turned away from me and talked about something else. I have a few vegan friends with kids and I am so grateful for them.

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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:49 pm 
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i feel you tofulish, i'll be 38 this year, and the absolute hardest part is that we are not only new here, but we've moved so much i feel absolutely disconnected. I am actually questioning my ability to make friends at this point.

weirdly, i kept being asked to make and maintain a fb page and i since don't get online daily and use fb even less, i said repeatedly that while i would support one, i didn't feel like i could spearhead that, i had a mom who repeatedly said she would and she never did. Also, i got lots of negativity and push-back whenever i suggested activities, now someone else has taken on the group, they made a fb page and are planning a field trip, and they have 45 people on it. we had a total of 9 different parents ever come. I feel like a failure.


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:53 pm 
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I am sorry jildez and tofulish that you guys are having trouble! I wish you both lived here. I don't have any vegan mom friends, but everyone is super respectful of each other and their wishes. It seems like almost every family I meet has some kind of dietary restriction, so me being vegetarian isn't weird at all.

There is a farmers market near my house that brings ponies, chickens and rabbits for the kids to see. I don't love to see animals like this, but I know the organization takes great care of the animals and Grey loves animals. We also have chickens in our neighborhood so we go see them often. The closest farm sanctuary for me is three hours away, there is no way I am making a six hour round trip with Grey right now!


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:15 pm 
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I know what you mean about making friends, jildez. I have no vegan (or even vegetarian) friends and no mama friends that live in the same state as I do. I haven't tried to make any mama friends because I went back to work so soon and most of those groups and meet ups are for SAHMs. I'm going to try to meet some people this summer but I'm such an introvert I know it will be hard.

Also, lots of people will join a Facebook page and not really show up IRL. I would try not to feel bad about it.


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:16 pm 
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Jildez, I totally sympathize - we move every few years and I feel like whenever I end up with a nice group of friends in one place it's time to go. The last time I felt like I had a good group of friends to hang out with - unlike the DC area, where I knew a whole bunch of people but they were all very different social circles so it was a little bit disconnected, plus nobody lived close enough that I felt like I could just call them up to go do somethng - it was San Diego, where I met a lot of really fantastic people through a feminist book club that used goodreads and meetup.com to connect.

Maybe, counterintuitively, you need to narrow the focus to find people you have more in common with. Most of my friends in San Diego aren't parents, or if they are they're Navy wives (some of whom are great and I've made some great friends through the Navy, but for stuff like vegan parenting, well, it's maybe not the group to look to!)...so I was thinking about trying to start a vegan parents' group when I get to SD.


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:29 pm 
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The woman who organizes the playgroup I belong to just sent out an email saying she wants to set up "Pray and Play" meetings where the attendees pray for other moms, and that out of that she'd like to create an outreach group for other mothers that does things like brings goods to women/children shelters, organizes meal delivery for new moms, provides support and mentoring to pregnant teens.

I would love to do good things for other mothers, but the inclusion of religion in this group gives me a visceral reaction. Perhaps it is wrong to feel like religion is just a small step away from sanctimony, but all I know is that when I read about "Play and Pray" I just wanted to heave all over my computer.

Not sure how to express that to the organizer though.

ETA: obviously, I am not going to say anything, but I will be leaving the group if it becomes too overtly religious and I kind of resent the way that religion infiltrates so many charitable impulses.

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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 6:54 am 
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Ugh, barf. shiitake like that is why I have no friends.


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 10:12 am 
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I have had the hardest time finding mom friends..especially for Re who will be 5 in a few months. I have not made a single friend for her outside the 2 kids of friends we already have who we don't see much because guess what..they made other kid friends. I though her cooperative preschool that she goes to would be great for that but it's not. She is still the only girl in her class and I think that is what's doing us in. I hear all the other Mom's making plans for play dates with one another and alway's wonder why I'm not approached. Yeah I could approach them but I just don't think it's worth it anymore. Is there something wrong with me? Is it really because she's the only girl? My self esteem is the pits when I'm at that school. Whenever I've connected with another Mom at the park or something and ask where they are from they are almost alway's visiting family. I'm hoping to have more luck when she goes to Kindergarten in September.

I've been lucky with Miles..he has his BFF Leela! and a few other vegan babies to hang with. Any group I've looked into joining meet at weird hours for us and/or Reno would be too old/bored to come too.

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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 10:25 am 
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Leela loves Miles! I love when they hold hands, its just too cute. We need to get to Presby Gardens soon - the irises are almost up!

And just fyi, you are one of my favorite people ever, JENNA. I love hanging out with you, I love the conversations we have, I love all I learn from you, and I think you are the best mom ever.

And mitten, thank you so much for saying that! I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling yucky about having religion insert itself into this playgroup.

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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 10:27 am 
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Tofulish, I would hate that! I would like it much more if it were a meditation or something or even better, just do nice things for other moms!

So, I know I am lucky to live where I live and I have been fortunate to meet moms with similar ideologies as me - I truly live in a bubble. The group I belong to is called the Marin Alterntive Mothers Group. Maybe you guys could start something similar (Jenna and tofulish). We have people from all over the spectrum of alternative, those who are anti vax, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, vegetarian, to the opposite of all those things that belong. It has really helped me to find moms with similar values and to really feel like part of a community. A lot of the dads have similar interests and Nate has started making friends with them as well.


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 11:24 am 
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I really like hanging out with vegans.

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Last edited by Tofulish on Tue May 01, 2012 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 11:24 am 
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Yuck Tofulish. I don't like the sound of where that group is going. My only experience with (Christian, which I'm assuming is what this mom is going for...) prayer groups is watching my MIL gossip nonstop with the other biddies of her church about everyone's sordid affairs, under the guise of "praying" for them. I like the idea of helping out other moms and all, but why does religion have to be brought into the mix? If this theme comes into the forefront more, I would definitely put my foot down (there might be others in the group who are afraid to stand up like that and think the same as you.)


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 11:33 am 
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Flava, I think the problem with meet-up groups that are organized by a single person is that they often end up serving the organizers ego. If she wants a prayer group, then other members really can only vote with their feet and go found another group.

And of course she specifically says it is open to anyone of any faith or lack thereof, but what those things end up as is Xtian.

And I so agree that I love helping other moms and doing outreach, but why introduce religion? Can't secular people do good things for others too? And OMG, yes, to "praying for" being code for "gossiping about."

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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 1:51 pm 
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I really wish I had vegan moms to hang out with. I've met moms in my neighborhood and go to two playgroups with Ada but now that the babies are toddlers it's definitely becoming a little bit harder to relate. There are only a couple of moms that I get together with regularly outside of that.


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 Post subject: Re: tell me about your parenting group/playgroup...
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:04 am 
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I belong to an Attachment Parenting group and co-founded a secular parent's group (all caregivers welcome!)

Ohh and a cloth diaper group. Mostly just chat on FB; being carless and all..

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