When a woman becomes a mother, several profound changes take place within her. Her heart grows bigger, her belly a bit softer, her arms much stronger…and her conversation skills, well, they’re gone with the Windex.
You know it’s true, my fellow stay-at-home mama friends. Try to talk with another adult for more than ten minutes without mentioning diaper rash, bathroom functions, birth stories, boogers, temper tantrums, reward charts, and/or car seats.
You can’t do it.
The moment you gazed into the eyes of your newborn babe, your ability to converse intelligently about current events and the latest best-selling novel vanished into thin air. I mean, who has time to watch the news or read for pleasure? Not you. Your kids are the center of your momiverse and that’s just as it should be. The problem lies in finding the correct audience for your incessant mommyspeak.
Enter playgroup. Playgroup is a utopic environment where your children can play and wear themselves out for maximum post-lunch napability while you sit with your fellow mama chicks, munching on snacks and talking about all the nitty gritty aspects of #momlife.
Thursday morning might just be my favorite time of every week. Between 8:30 and 9:00 the young-ish stay-at-home mamas start rolling in to our congregation’s activity center. There’s a storage closet where dozens upon dozens of beat up semi-functional hand-me-down toys and a few basketballs live and they are quickly pulled out for play.
Blankets are spread out for the bitty babies to wiggle and roll and show off their latest tricks. Mamas warn the older kids to keep big toys and sporting goods out of the baby circle.
The preschool aged kids begin imagining elaborate games – playing family, restaurant, veterinarian or simply running races around the room. Sometimes toys are fought over. Sometimes hands are used to settle disputes instead of calm voices. Sometimes attitudes need adjusting. We work through it, friendships intact.
We’re all different, but that’s what makes it so wonderful. We mamas grow from listening to different perspectives on discipline, on teeth brushing, on potty training, etc. Our friendships are strengthened through the solidarity and support we share.
And while playgroup is a weekly sanctuary for Christian sisters, it is also a beautiful way to reach out to those who have not yet found a church home. This sisterhood within the sisterhood can be such a great starting point for relationships and trust to be gained. Our casual gathering is so much less intimidating than Sunday morning worship service.
So, how do you get a good playgroup started at your congregation?
- A neutral location. Talk with the leaders at your congregation about using a room at the church building. This prevents anyone from having to use their home and worry about before and after cleanup. If that’s not an option, the local park is another great venue, weather permitting.
- A regular weekly time. I love that our playgroup is set in stone. I look forward to Thursday mornings so much. It is a sacred part of my calendar – no haircuts, doctor’s appointments, shopping trips shall ever infringe upon playgroup time. Step away slowly from Thursday morning and no one gets hurt, okay?
- Nice moms. This kind of goes without saying, but I need to say it anyway. The real magic of playgroup lies in the hearts and attitudes of the women who attend. Jealousy, pride, and gossip do not belong here (or anywhere else for that matter), check them at the door! (Romans 1:29)
- Grace. It can be a little awkward and tense when little Max clotheslines your little Jacob, especially if Max’s mom doesn’t discipline him the way you might have. Or when Evie swipes your Ava’s doll and her mommy didn’t see it happen. These situations can be sticky, but when we navigate them as God would have us to, with grace, forbearance, gentleness, mercy and forgiveness, we can make it through and teach our children a thing or two in the process. We don’t always have to fight for what is fair. Sometimes we need to turn the other cheek and offer up our tunics, or our Cabbage Patches. (Luke 6: 29)
Being a stay at home mom is such a blessing, but it can, at times, feel very lonely. Creating a community where you can meet and fellowship with others who understand the joys and challenges of this season will bless you and your own little circle of mommy friends. If it does not already exist in your area, I hope you are inspired to help create such a community yourself!
Other posts in our Connections series:
Connections: Creating Opportunities for Christian Fellowship
Connections: A Generational Cookie Swap