Sydney Mothers' Groups With A Twist
- Parents Only
When you become a mum for the first time you're usually placed into a council-run mother's group with a bunch of women in your neighbourhood. It is likely that the only thing you'll have in common is the fact that you've both just given birth. Then there's the overwhelming feeling that everyone in the group is doing well while you're struggling to even leave the house. Because of course, you hardly know each other, so why would you be completely honest with these women and tell them that your life is a sleep deprived hell! Sometimes these groups can make you feel more isolated than ever. But there is an alternative. There is an increasing trend for mothers' groups to form based on a common interest, perhaps something that you loved pre-kids. Something that can make you feel human again and not just a milk-machine... who talks about nothing but milk.
These are a few of the Sydney based mothers' groups that have formed over a mutual hobby or passion.
Image: Surfing Mums Maroubra
I joined this group when my son was 9 months old, when going for a regular surf felt like a distant memory. The group is not just a supportive group of parents who love to talk about waves, it's also an escape for parents who want to go for a quick surf but feel it's impossible with a baby in tow. The beauty of the group is that members take turns watching the kids while mum goes for a surf (or swim - the group is open to all beach lovers). There are weekly meet-ups (called surf swaps) at almost every surf break in Sydney and members get discounts at local businesses and invitations to annual surf getaways and parties. The Bondi group I am part of even offer surfing lessons to new members. Take a look here to find one in your area.
Hike It Baby
Another group helping mums get out and about, active and meeting like-minded people. Hike it Baby started in 2013, when the founder invited a few other new families to join her for a hike and it quickly catapulted - today there are over 18,000 members who meet up to hike in their local area. Feel like a hike is beyond your fitness level? They have a range of different meet-ups to suit all abilities, from trail hikes to urban strolls and toddler crawls in the park. Find out more about the non-for-profit organisation here.
Here's an idea that can benefit both mum and bub. Why not take your mother's group along to a Waterbabies class at Carlile Swimming (click here for locations), suitable for babies as young as 3 months. They are great for bonding with your bub, with lots of fun and games, while teaching your baby water confidence. A study by Griffith University also showed that regular swimming lessons from a young age increased motor skills and brain development plus increased physical and cognitive skills.
Carlile will do their best to place your mothers group together and find the right time that fits in with your baby's sleep routine too (please contact them first to see if this is possible). If you don't have a mothers group, let me tell you from experience, going along to weekly swimming lessons is a sure-fire way to make friends. You're forced to catch up every week (this is more than I catch up with most of my friends!) and if friendships form you can always go for a coffee nearby after lessons. For more information, head to the website.
Boobs On The Run
A mum's group (with a great name) that provides professional support for women who want to get into running, or improve on their running. Their aim is to boost women's self confidence, energy, endurance, help them sleep better, eat better and most of all feel better. Plus they also raise money for cancer charities. They run running groups in Sydney for all levels of fitness including Concord, Iron Cove, Glebe, Ryde, Bondi Beach, Brighton Le Sands, Centennial Park and Maroubra. Find out more here.
If you think babywearing is more of a movement than a form of baby transport, this is the group for you. Perhaps you just want to learn more about it and the benefits for your bub. Sydney Baby Wearers has over 4,000 members who organise regular 'sling meets' to discuss baby wearing options and safety, and test out various baby carriers. Find out more here.
Mothers groups don't have to be outdoorsy or fitness related, some of us mums love nothing more than a yarn. Or maybe a yarn with a knitting yarn.... do you like what we did there? There's a Chatswood knitting group which meet up in a local library to do just that. Take a look here - and if there isn't one in your area, why not create one?
There's So Much More
If you think you have a hobby that other mums would enjoy, there could just be a group for it. Do a quick search of your local Facebook communities. There are also lots of specialty mothers groups out there that are based on individual circumstances, such as second-time mums, mothers of babies with special needs, mothers of multiple babies, single mums, rainbow families, bilingual mothers and, of course, dads. If there isn't one for you - why not start your own!?
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