Our daycare, as I mentioned before, is a non profit that is designed for "family's with additional stressors". We are a pretty straightforward family, so I don't consider us to have additional stressors, but that doesn't mean we cannot benefit from their programs, one of which is a once a month infant parenting group where the head caregiver for the infant room leads discussions about a variety of relevant topics while we all chow down on a free dinner and the babies stay in the infant room for their dinner as well.
There is something cathartic about talking to other parents with kids around the same age, even when we don't do much of the talking. I usually come away from the discussions with at least a few ideas of things other people have tried that we have not, or developmental tips I had not heard of before, or other little things to think over. Its also nice to get to know the parents of the babies' that my son spends his time with. He may only be 10 months old, but he definitely has friends!
That all said, there are also moments at parenting group that make you cringe. Or, perhaps, specific people. And, of course, this post ties back into the concept of "Mommy Wars". Most parents I have met are great! They have their way of doing things, and we discuss them, but there is no judgement. There are two exceptions to this.
The "Expert" Grandma - One of the most consistent attendees at parents group is a relatively young single mom who is still in College. She is great and I really enjoy talking to her. One month, however, she brought her mother, who proceeded to dominate the conversation with her experience. She did not "get" that the conversation was really about people who are experiencing this RIGHT NOW vetting their experiences, ideas, problems. But the worst part was that she acted like if she had not heard of something that it was just crazy or wrong. I believe the topic that night was routines. One routine we discussed was baths. I mentioned in passing that Benjamin loves baths, but that we had to cut way back on them/take them out of our daily routine due to his eczema. I said we did a bath 1-2 times a week. This grandma looked at us like we had said the most disgusting thing ever, and then, when the group leader spoke up in support of our infrequent baths, the grandma proceeded to try and give us advice on eczema, which she clearly had never heard of before we brought it up. It can be great to get advice from the older generation if they have been through something, make please advice givers, make sure that advice is non-judgemental and something you actually know something about.
The Awkward Mom - There is one mom who has made an appearance twice. Both times it was kind of seemed like she did not belong. The first time she was about 30 weeks pregnant. Her older daughter is in the preschool room. The topic we were discussing was creative play. Everyone else in the room had a child 4m-12m. This woman clearly had NOTHING to do with the conversation at hand, and seemed mostly to want to talk about her pregnancy. But its not a pregnancy group. Its an infant parent group. Tonight she was there again, this time with a 7w old while we discussed biting. Her contributions included such things as "I can't remember when my daughter was that little". "I think she may have bit me when I fed her once or twice," and "I made fries from scratch tonight." She also has a tendency to state her opinions in the worst form possible. "I believe that the mom should stay home. You have to be with your baby. You can't leave it after 6 weeks, its not a dog." etc. Yes. That is roughly what she said tonight. Talk about picking a Mommy war battle!! No one took the bait, but I wanted to tell her to lighten up and stop being so judgmental!
Other than that, parenting group has been great!! And even the annoying parts make for fun conversation after the fact :)