Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Problem with Mom Groups

I have had a really hard time finding a mom group that I mesh with.  I've joined three - maybe four - and nearly 14 months later I think I might have found a good fit.

I met all these groups on MeetUp.com.  Most playdate groups are private until you join, which means you can't see their schedule or rules until you apply and are accepted to join.  Because of this, I've had a lot of my time wasted and joined a lot of groups that were... well, horrible.

Problem One - Impersonal Locations

The first mom group I joined was a large group with frequent meetups all over town.  Each meetup had a different cliche that RSVP'd yes, and the locations were always crowded museums or busy coffee shops.  As a newbie it was hard to figure out which group of women I was there to meet, and it was impossible to supervise Hannah and be attentive during the conversations.  They eventually kicked me out of the group because I never attended any meetups, when really I just never could FIND the other members and NO ONE was friendly.  FAIL.

Problem Two - Flakes and No Shows

The second group was full of moms that would RSVP yes and then slowly change their response to a No the day of - sick, naptime, chores, relatives in town, zombie apocalypse, you name it, they used the excuse.  This happened weekend after weekend, monday morning playdate after playdate.  I chalked it up to a busy summer, but the straw that broke the camels back was when 30 mom & baby duos were supposed to meet at the zoo.  Hannah and I waited at the entrance for nearly an hour but no one showed.   When I got home my inbox was full of excuses.  I silently flipped them the bird and left the group.

Problem Three - Unfriendly to Working Moms / Just Plain Rude

The third group had a consistent Wednesday morning meet up that I couldn't attend, but I DID enjoy the weekend play dates.  Eventually the group admin stopped posting new meetups because the Wednesday group was happy with their cliche and they didn't care about the rest of us that met up on the weekends.  Rude.

Problem Four - No Men Allowed

Back when Chris and I stayed home on Fridays with Hannah, we liked to go out and do things as a family.  The playgroup I was apart of at that time had fun meetups on Fridays but had a strict policy that fathers were only allowed to attend events on Saturday or Sundays - no men during the work week.  WTF.  No thanks.

But now I've found a group that feels like it might be a good fit.   The parents are older, the dads are invited to the meetups, they schedule outings for JUST the adults as well as playdates.  Most importantly I get a good vibe from the group's leader - she's been burned by other playgroups as well and seems to be open and accommodating.  The kids are all close in age, and most of the parents seem to work so they understand the balance of work/home life.  Hopefully this will continue to be a good fit for my family.

Are YOU part of a playdate group?
Have you been burned by a Mom group in the past?

Share your horror stories as well as tips & tricks for finding a good fit.

9 comments:

  1. I am right there with you Carla! It took me 3 or 4 to find the group that I am not active with. I met them on Meet up as well...and they are a daddy friendly/working mom friendly/and NICE LADIES group! I had all the same experiences you did... and found that with the group I am in, there are older moms. I am an older mom. It is nice to have women my age with kids my age. We even have a stay at home dad in our group whose wife is the breadwinner. I LOVE our group. The thing that made the difference for me was in their description. "If you are looking for REAL relationships and friendships with other moms/dads, not just fly by night acquaintances we are your group." We have Girls Craft Night (where no one does crafts, we just sit around a laugh) and they have a regularly scheduled couples date nights. I have really made some great friends in this group. My advice to moms who are looking for a group and can't find one... start one! Be that amazing mom that all of us are looking for.

    I am glad you found a group Carla... I can so see you hosting Craft night at your house!

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  2. to find the group I am NOW active with! LOL

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  3. Yup I was totally burned by all the ones on meetup as well but I found my awesome group through themommiesnetwork.com!

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  4. It sounds cliche, but cliques are very real. Its hard to find a place in a mom group!

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  5. I haven't had my son in very many play groups mostly because the ones I have encountered flaked on us. The most recent and devastating meet up for my son was on his birthday. I scheduled a bowling party for my son and 11 of his friends. I paid for everything all they had to do was show up. I sent invites a month in advance because I understand working parents and well... stay at home parents as well like to plan things ahead of time. One child and his mom showed up halfway through the event. My son asked me why none of his friends came. I couldn't figure out what to say to my son. My husband and I bowled three games with him and tried to make the rest of his day better, but I still could see how upset he was that only one boy came. Since his bowling party fail we have him in a kids bowling league that we heard was popular. To our surprise more than half of the kids that were signed up were no shows the others showed up half way through. We still go to bowling league because our son likes it but to make it better for him we stay later and my husband and I do a few games with him. Just for reference my son is 6. We are hoping that the leagues will get better.

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  6. I created a playgroup in OK when Peyton was younger, but since moving back to Texas I have not created nor participated in a group. Here I am blessed because I have several friends that have children relatively close in age to our children and we set our dates with one another. Wish you the best on the new group & hope it grows into a long lasting relationship for all 3 of you:)

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  7. Great post-I am in the same boat, trying to find a group that I like. The problem for me seems to be that most of the meetups that I am interested in meet on, like, Tuesdays at 9:30 am. It's just so hard as a working mom. One of my co-workers and I have considered creating a working moms group because there isn't anything aside from a few individual meetups. That said, I haven't put enough effort into seeking them out, so I recognize that I need to do more. Sounds like you've really put forth some effort!

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  8. I found a great group (luckily) the first time I went out. It was at a local consignment store. The group was for breastfeeding/baby wearing/cloth diapering/other 'hippie' things group. You didn't have to do all some didn't do any hahaha. Almost all of us cloth diapered though. Our store is no longer there so we are trying to find another kid friendly place to meet up. We all agree that a coffee shop just isn't going to cut it.

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  9. Some moms acted cold and some others didn't really want to talk to the newbie. Some judged you by what house you have and what car you drive. A lot of phonies said one thing and then acted the otherwise. Some even said something offensively. Lucky that I have found a small group of moms down to earth and understanding. But still I am burned by these bad experiences

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