Support groups for moms come in many forms, I realized last night.
I was attending a lecture by Ian Frazier, the author behind the hilarious and hysterical character “The Cursing Mommy” a frequent visitor to the pages of The New Yorker Magazine of late. One of the attendees asked the author about his creation of a Mommy character who is a raging, maniacal, constantly swearing, and often boozing mother; she is off- kilter but lovable in her own desperately raw way, while barely holding together her family life with her husband and two young boys. The particular question asked last night pertained to whether his character was an insult to women, specifically mothers?
A random quote from The Cursing Mommy should help our Project Motherhood mamas to get the picture:
“Today I am in a much sunnier mood for this goddam present wrapping, thanks to the spiked eggnog, and I will note just in passing that it is one of those tasks that if I don’t do it, IT DOESN’T F*CKING GET DONE!! In good cheer, or some goddamn approximation of it, I will continue. So, first to pick some wrapping paper that doesn’t have f*cking glitter on it and doesn’t already have a f*cking piece cut out of it. Fine. This will do. I don’t care that it says ‘Congratulations, Graduate!’ This is the only goddam paper we have!”
And of course, our hysterical Mommy only gets worse from there!
I watched Mr. Frazier squirm a little while trying to answer the question about whether his being a man writing a mother’s tale in this type of style is judgmental. But from my own motherly view, part of me wanted to defend him. After all, Motherhood IS mayhem, as far as I can see. We are all just one small step away from mayhem at any given moment, and the best of mothers know it!
To me, the real question is: how do we KEEP ourselves as mothers a step ahead of mayhem?
And the answer: Support Groups for Moms!
Support groups for Moms come in many forms. You are currently reading one of them. You might even call our blog Support Groups R Us! Here at Project Motherhood we try to focus both on running our families and on keeping ourselves happy in the midst of the chaos as best we can. We try to present a voice in the wilderness to other mothers who inevitably feel isolated and occasionally on the verge of their 19th Nervous Breakdown on one of those “longest mornings ever made”.
Because honestly, Project Motherhood isn’t just about fashion and about keeping it together…it is about being there for other mothers. We ALL need to know that others are going through all this craziness, just like we are. Deep down, we recognize some of the fury and desperation expressed by our dear Cursing Mommy because it’s just one or two more straws on the back of the camel away from us.
So, that got me to thinking about other ways that we as Mamas sometimes find support out there in our lives, to keep us from turning into the kissing cousins of The Cursing Mommy. Here are some of the “Support Groups for Moms” I thought about:
When my daughter was verging on one year old, I was lucky enough to meet up with a group of 5 other first time Mamas. We gathered one morning a week with our little ones in tow, rotating from one of our homes to the other. It was an amazing way to get insight on how other mothers were handling some of the many decisions and situations that come the way of mothers. We discussed weaning, crawling, walking, getting our children to eat healthy instead of junk, pediatricians, immunizations, pre-schools, you name it. We laughed and had fun and kept that big bad wolf of mayhem a stone’s throw away.
Mothers’ Day Out
Once my daughter was a little more independent, around two, I joined another group that had babysitters available one morning or evening a week while we mothers engaged in classes and workshops, like yoga, or recipe sharing, or knitting lessons. It was easy to meet other moms and get a break from the constant neediness of our children at the same time.
Book Clubs for Moms
Another way of holding on to sanity comes from being able to re-gain something you love. For me, that was finding time to read something other than children’s stories. (Though I TOTALLY adore children’s literature, I confess.) We only met once every other month, but it was a welcome respite for me. And even our Cursing Mommy belongs to a Book Club! For you, it might mean tennis dates or massage appointments.
Yoga for Moms
“I’m too tired to exercise!” Now that is a common refrain. But we all know by now that the less we exercise, the tired-er we get, and a downward spiral begins. So get up, get moving, Mamas! Find a yoga group or a dance class or a water aerobics class that you schedule into to your life. Making time for this will give you back so much more positive energy than you ever put into it.
These suggestions above are geared to Mamas who need Support Groups for Moms for the purpose of camaraderie or commiserating or just blowing off some steam.
Yet sometimes we must acknowledge that sometimes our problems as mothers can become much bigger. Sometimes we need desperately to find support for bigger problems like alcoholism, substance abuse, spousal abuse, domestic violence, debilitating health issues, or more generalized relationship problems. And if these issues are present in your life, children will only escalate your difficulties. More serious problems like these are often benefited through support groups as well. But remember, the FIRST step, no matter how serious the problem, is to acknowledge you need help.
Below is a list of the types of organizations to turn to when you know you cannot keep your family running the way you need to. It is not a sin to admit when you need help! It is SMART. Any of these groups can steer you to a group or individual who is trained to help Mamas out of these difficulties.
Al Anon or Alcoholics Anonymous
Women’s Centers and Shelters
MH/MR organizations or Social Service Departments at local hospitals
Church groups of all denominations
Individual Therapy, even when you think the problem is “Them” instead of “You”
So yes, The Cursing Mommy is written as humor, and she helps us to see the comical side of our plights, as we struggle like her and often get hit square in the mascara with the one of the balls we’ve managed to drop instead of juggle. We all need lots of humor to do jobs that demand our energy and attention 24/7. Every day we have a huge responsibility to our families, and it sometimes takes a toll on ourselves. With determination, grace, and a little help from our friends or our support groups for moms, in whatever form they take, we will all get through this job called Motherhood, and be stronger for the effort.
And please remember, we at Project Motherhood are Mamas too, and we need to feel the love, just like you! If you like this piece about support groups for moms, please share it with your favorite social media group!