Navigating Your Way through Mommy Groups

While adorable, tiny babies aren't the best company.

I never planned on being a stay at home mom. I was going to go back to work after my maternity leave was up. But I got laid off from my job the day before I was suppose to go back.

So, I found myself a stay-at-home mom in the worse job market in my lifetime. Because of this I wasn’t able to find a job. I was stuck home with a newborn, and even though I didn’t realize at the time, I had postpartum depression.

I got to the point that I had to get out of the house or go crazy. So I began to investigate local mommy groups.

I’ve met some very nice people in mommy groups, some people I don’t like at all, and only a few geeks.

Being a geek in a mommies group that doesn’t have many or any geeks can be a bit uncomfortable. They seem to look at you weird when you talk about geeky things that they have no clue what you are talking about. For a lot of these other moms, the only thing we have in common is that we are moms.

If you find yourself in this situation, toning down your geekiness can help you fit in better. Though for the most part, I really don’t like doing this because being a geek is what I am and I’m proud of it.

I also mainly go to the playdates and not the mom’s night out events. This way I don’t feel awkward in a sea of non-geeks. But it’s also because my husband works nights.

I am very thankful for the mommy groups I’ve been a part of. It was really helpful for my PPD to get out of the house, and I met my best friend through our local mommy group. We were immediately drawn to each other since we were two geek moms in a sea of non-geeks.

For all you fellow geek moms, what is/was your experience with mommy groups?


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22 thoughts on “Navigating Your Way through Mommy Groups

  1. ChaosMandy, you need to move to Apex/Cary, NC! The Raleigh/Durham/Cary/Chapel Hill is considered one of the “smartest” communities in America — kind of misleading, since it’s just based on the # of people w/ Bachelors Degrees according to the census. Not necessarily a measurement of intelligence, lol.

    I was in the geekiest of Mommy groups and had the best time! It was pure luck that I was in a new town, also recently converted from full-time-work to full-time-Mom, and I met such a wonderful batch of ladies.

    We were all “older” Moms, (in our 30s/40s with preschoolers/newborns), and most of us had fruitful careers before becoming full-time-Moms. I was in awe with how many engineers/computer programmers I met, and we had our share of Trekkies, Star Wars fans (me!), LOTR, Harry Potter, X-Files, and Dr. Who fans.

    I’ve since moved from Apex, I miss it (and my Mommy group friends) dearly and would love to go back to North Carolina.

    1. We are actually hoping to move to Charlotte in a couple of years. There is a huge geek community there plus lots of jobs in my husband’s job field.

    2. Funny – I live on the SE side of the Triangle, and was just thinking how I’ve got NO mommy friends outside of my work and previously existing friend groups. And I don’t socialize really with work folks outside of work.

      I do love the area, but I need to get out more. The problem I’m running into most though is that my husband is the SAHP, not me. How many “mommy” groups are really open to men?

    3. It’s funny, you’d think Durham, NC would have its fair share of geeky mom groups, but it’s a total wasteland so far. I’ve been at home with my son (13 mos) for the past nine months. The moms I’ve met are nice enough, but unfortunately we have nothing in common aside from getting knocked up within a year of each other. I’m also used to being around 90% men and only geeky women after 16 years of working in IT, so adjusting to being around non-geeky women has been tough. If any geeky moms in the Triangle want to meet up, let me know.

      1. Yeah, I’m new to NC in general, I moved out here from Utah two years ago. And I’ve struggled to find friends, let alone a mommy group. I’m due with my first in just about a week now (holy moses) and while I’ve joined the Meetup group for the Mebane/Hillsborough moms, I’ve only gone to one gathering. It was fun, we watched Toy Story 3 outside at a neighborhood gathering, but the one mom I met up with, we had literally nothing to say to each other.

        So, while my geekiness tends to be kind of scattershot; I’m not much of a gamer, but I love tech stuff, I adore comics but mostly indie stuff, I am a die hard kitsch fanatic and make my own jewelry… I know it’s possible to find people with all those same types of interests because I still have those friends… just back in Utah. 🙁

  2. My problem has always been that I have to choose between hanging out with geeks or hanging out with other moms – I can’t find a single mom group anywhere that both allows my kid to play with other kids and lets me spend time with moms I have anything at all in common with.

  3. One of the funny things I’ve seen is as more of us in our friend-set have kids, we’re getting more and more kid-friendly events. There’s still the open beers, the cookouts, the pool but we’re skewing times to be more friendly to naps & bed times. Objects that can be dangerous are cordoned off and things seem to be adjusting as my daughter (and others) get older

  4. I am shy and quiet anyway, so I wouldn’t know HOW to bring up Geeky Conversation Topics (or anything beyond What Our Kids Are Actively Doing Right At This Moment) to begin with. The women in my Le Leche League group are all very nice and we’re friendly– we always say cheerful hellos and chat generally when we run into each other out in the world– but I often wonder if we WOULD have non-mom things to talk about. Perhaps they DO have geeky interests, and just aren’t bringing them up, because this is the Mom Group and it’s for talking about Mommyness. I often am thinking, “I wish I could just make all of you read my blog! Then you would know the kinds of things I actually think about on a regular basis, and we might chat about something different once in awhile!” Because I’m so much better at being myself in writing than in speech.

  5. For me it got easier as the kids got older, and the parents started sorting themselves out into those who dropped their kids off at Harry Potter/Avatar/Tron Legacy and those who wanted to see the movie themselves!

    Since my kids have always had geeky interests, by now I know quite a few moms who have science, computing or engineering backgrounds. On the other hand, almost no one I know reads newspapers, magazines, or blogs…

  6. I have found that hosting a game night is a great way to break the ice within the moms group among those that may be…shall we say, gun-shy…about geekery in general. I’ve had Apples to Apples, Fluxx, Catan, and Risk games run just to name a few. Also, party-games for your video game consoles can be fun. Just add Moscato… 😀

  7. I found mommy groups really hard in general to fit into. I always feel like the women are talking about stuff that holds no interest to me, and I just spend a lot of time nodding and smiling.

    But then of course I met my best friend who is a geek and it was all good from then on out.

  8. I am actually lucky enough to have been pushed (kicking and screaming, at first) into the best Mom’s group I could ever hope to find. My first experience with a mom group was horrible — entirely too Stepford for me. I was an oddball for nursing my son, for knitting in public, for being me. I left and told myself that I was NEVER doing that to myself ever again.

    Then, a friend from La Leche League told me “You have to join this group.” I did, and it was the best thing I could ever have hoped to do! Moms who understood, moms who were geeks, moms who were pagan. Happy, crunchy moms who didn’t think I was a weirdo because they were, too!

    These are the women I hang out with, who I vent to, whose children my son has known since he was a babe-in-arms. They are my sisters and my tribe, and I know if anything ever happens and I need help, they will all be there for me.

    I’m one hella lucky mom!

  9. I was off work for the first year, and in that time I tried a few different mommy groups before I gave up – from the moms who were in my prenatal group, to the la leche league, to library and community drop-ins, to just sitting around at playgrounds with other moms. None of them worked for me; I’m already an introvert, so trying to reconcile that with not being interested in the subjects at hand was just too difficult and uncomfortable. Playgrounds were the worst – they all seemed to just talk about how lazy their husbands were when it came to helping with the baby, which made me feel like I must have lucked out somehow since mine wasn’t and isn’t. But otherwise I just never found common ground in any of the groups.

    Eventually I just came to terms with not being in a club or group, and just brought the baby with me everywhere I went. She got dragged along to mountain bike trail building and race events, to coffee and get-togethers with childless friends and friends with older kids (none of my friends had babies at the same time as me), and just out with me on my own. I got out every day with her, in all types of weather, and that was what kept me sane. The staff at the local coffee shop even became our friends and watched her grow. I found alternatives to mommy groups, and made it work somehow.

    1. I’m pretty introverted too – it took my husband pushing me to join these groups because of my PPD for me to do it.

      Unfortunately, there has also been a lot of drama with my local mommy group which has seen my decline in participation.

    2. I’m introverted as well, and agree that playgrounds were the worst. The moms who talk about the husband not helping out at all don’t just make me feel like I lucked out but also like I want to strangle them for complaining about a situation that seems to be partly of their own making. If I listen long enough the same moms will often talk about how their husband “can’t dress the kid” (translation: I don’t like the clothes he picked out for the day), “doesn’t play right” with the kid and “doesn’t clean right.” I’m always temped to point out that if you’re always telling someone they’re no good at something it makes them less likely to want to do that thing.

      It makes me very uncomfortable as well because I love my husband and my kids and that means that I try not to talk trash about them. I suspect these same women would feel very hurt if they found out their husbands were complaining about them in a similar sort of manner!

  10. Mama drama and Stepford moms are the biggest pet peeves for me in moms groups. In addition to my local IRL group I have an online group that has carried on from my older dd’s birth club board for almost 7 years now. Just declaring a “No BS” zone and respecting all walks of mama life has kept conflict to a minimum. There will inevitably be personality clashes and there are moms groups out there who I swear exist just for the sake of competing with other moms to see who is “better”. I wish they’d get over themselves!

    1. I really dislike both of those too. The drama in my mommy group started from something stupid that the admins at the national level blew out of proportion.

  11. I was incredibly lucky with my mom group, but I also had an existing friend who introduced me into it. Without her as a bridge, I’m not sure how comfortably I would have been with the group. However, after a pretty rocky college experience, I have a strict, personal “No Drama” policy in my life. Because I don’t invite it (which I used to, unknowingly), people no longer rope me into the stupid, petty, judgmental sniping that seems really prevalent among women.

  12. I wanted add because I was thinking about it today, Geekmom should add a mom lounge or something where geekmoms around the country can connect and meet up outside here. It’s so hard for us to make friends that are moms and geeks!

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