Where there's a parent, there's a need for an understanding listening ear, practical and sage parenting advice and a shoulder to cry (and laugh) on. Yet even though as mothers we all share universal needs, the desire to raise happy, healthy children (while trying to stay sane!) joining or starting a special interest niche group of like-minded mothers can be particularly rewarding. We are drawn to mothers who understand the unique circumstance we face, that another mother we meet may try to understand, but cannot.
So, how do we find like-minded mothers?
Begin by getting introspective about what you need from a support group right now. Your needs will change over time. Decide for example, if you're interested in a group that supports parents with children with special needs (preemies, a particular illness), children of a certain age (ah, the special joys of parenting toddlers!), working, stay at home or single parents, parents with twins or triplets, moms interested in long term breastfeeding support, mothers within a particular race or ethnic group and so on.
Ask yourself the following:
As women, we're complex beings with a variety of interests and needs that motherhood instantly reorders and then amplifies. Motherhood presents brand new challenges to our existing identity as a spouse, a daughter, a friend. Perhaps you're disabled, a CEO of a large corporation or a caregiver for your own aging and ill parents. Each of these roles, combined with the daily demands of raising a child, can be incredibly overwhelming.
Mothers need mothers who understand exactly what they're experiencing, who offer advice that's not necessarily out of a book, but comes from common sense.
So, go inward and sense what you need and go find a parent group that resonates with you. If there isn't one in your area or online, start your own. There's a mother like you around every corner looking to connect with someone who understands.
Our age of instant online connectivity has expanded the number of specialized parenting groups exponentially. Online sites like SheKnows message boards, Cafemom or Meetups offer cyber networking communities for parents to find other parents who share common concerns and challenges. Mothers in these online communities will then sometimes form geographical meet up groups and meet locally.
There are a number of specialized national mother support groups around the country that offer national membership. Many of them also offer local chapter support. Some of these include:
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