If you had $1000 to donate to a charity, which of the following would you pick?
Connections: Meeting Other Parents
Author: Jeannie Fleming-Gifford
Family and friends can provide wonderful support in your journey through parenthood. When it comes to being a parent, some people have "been there, done that." Others may have not yet "joined the club." Both perspectives may be helpful, but sometimes you really need someone who is "in the game." Sometimes you need the support and insight of someone who is at the same place and time as you and your family. Sometimes you really need to connect with other parents.
Connecting with others is sometimes easier said than done. Where and how can you find others who share your fun, your fears, or can lend a sympathetic ear? It's almost like you're back in the dating game. Only this time, you are looking for parents to connect with. Not only are you seeking other parents who have an infant or toddler like you, but also who share the same parenting style and the same vision for raising their munchkin.
How and where can you find these people?
- Start with the contacts you already have. For example, do you belong to a church or are you active with any other community groups? If so, check them out and see if they have a mom or parent group. If not (and you have the time and energy), consider staring your own. Find a common time and place where families can come together for perhaps some conversation, snacks, and informal playtime.
- Look for organizations in your community that offer programming for families. These organizations may include libraries (story times are often free), arts organizations, or other playgroups (i.e. structured class programs such as Gymboree).
- Go out and walk in your neighborhood. Chances are you'll find a family or two along the way. Start with a simple "hello," and you may soon be chatting about your tots and your family. Next step, get together for coffee or simply at a neighborhood park to enjoy a little time together.
Just like dating, it may take a few trials and a little time to find other parents to connect with. However, just as the dating game is worth an investment to find your sweetie, finding others in your community to share in the adventure called parenthood will only make the journey a bit sweeter and more fun.