That said, late in my pregnancy, I began looking for playgroups to join. I had great luck on internet meetup sites and joined three different groups after my daughter was born. The other members were obviously not all BFF material and there were several I probably wouldn't have bothered to get to know had it not been for our shared situation. However, beggars can't be choosers and even the duds became solid companions in my day-to-day life as a stay-at-home mother of small children. They filled my hours and made me a little less likely to lose it every time we got together. It was the smartest thing I did as a SAHM and although I ultimately decided that I was better off working, being a part of these groups made my years at home with my kids so much better than they would have been otherwise.
If you are not yet sold, see below. I have laid out 10 reasons why you need to join a playgroup if you are a stay-at-home mom:
1. You will have something to do every day.
We have all had the thought, "what do I do with my baby all day"? Well, there really isn't a whole lot a baby can do but you can cart said baby to a play date where they can drool and do baby things while you talk shop with other moms about parenting and whatever else comes up. Snacks were always included too. And we all know moms love snacks.
2. There are free activities you might otherwise have to pay for.
Our organizers would negotiate activities for our group either for free or at reduced rates. The places I could take my kids to were only limited by my ambition level in any given week- swim lessons, music classes, baby yoga, bouncy houses, make-your-own-pizza, zoo visits. The opportunities were plentiful.
3. You can make new friends.
It was great to make friends that had kids the same age as mine and that were going through exactly what I was going through. It was also helpful because I could befriend moms with slightly older kids and get great advice about the phases to come.
4. Mom's Night Out with your new friends.
We would get together at restaurants and chat over cocktails and appetizers. I cherished these nights as the majority of my time was spent with tiny tyrants that I could not talk to. Grown-up conversation is the lifeblood of the SAHM and I could only pretend to be chatting with DJ Lance Rock so many times before I felt crazy.
5. So much information to be had.
From the best places to nurse at the mall to recommendations for a fabulous pre-school, I gathered a treasure trove of info during every meet-up activity. From these moms, I learned so much about navigating life with small kids in my town.
6. Your kids can make friends too.
My daughter's very first friend was my playgroup friend's son. They have basically grown up together as my playgroup friend and I became regular-style friends outside of playgroup. They are starting 2nd grade this fall and love to hear the story about how they couldn't even sit up on their own when they first started hanging out.
7. You can sell your baby paraphernalia without dealing with Craigslist wackos.
Our meetup sites had message boards where moms could post about baby equipment they either needed or wanted to get rid of. Because we all knew each other we did not have to worry about Craigslist flakes and taking a week to sell a stupid bouncy seat.
8. If you miss working, there are jobs you can do.
All of the groups had a treasurer, an organizer and other titles you could go for if you were so inclined. Our groups included women who had left successful careers before having kids and really seemed to enjoy taking on a leadership role.
9. Free childcare!
I had a core group of women that I trusted which came in very handy while pregnant with my second child. Being able to drop off my toddler with one of them while I went to my pre-natal visits was amazing. My kid scored a fun time with her friends and I did not have to wrestle a speculum from her while waiting for the doctor.
10. Having allies in motherhood is so necessary.
Whether you are questioning your child's pediatrician or wondering if you are the only mom who is ready for the wine by 3pm, having other people in the same boat is priceless. No matter the situation, there was someone I could call or email to help me figure things out.
(Image: Dasha Petrenko/Shutterstock)