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Mommy and Me: NOT for Me!

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Though I was initially excited to go to my first Mommy and Me class, I found it to be judgmental and totally unsupportive.

new baby class

Notes From A New Mom: When my baby was just a few weeks old, I decided it might be good to get into a class where I could talk about my baby's sleep habits, the additional stress my husband and I were feeling with the new baby and the toll it was taking on our relationship. I wanted to be part of a group of moms that, like me, had worries about never feeling sexy again, and about going back to work. At the very least, I wanted to know that I wasn't alone in living in my PJs with uncombed greasy hair and zit cream from the night before. 

No such luck.

In the first class, we went around the room introducing ourselves and shared what brought us to the group. Up first, I figured I might as well be honest -- so I told the mom strangers that my husband and I weren't getting along, the baby wasn't sleeping, I'd had to stop breastfeeding and that I felt like the most unsexy person ever. One mom interrupted and said, "You're not breastfeeding anymore? Ugh. WHY?" Another then said, "You're going back to work? Already?" Yet another chimed in, laughing, "I hope you have childcare for your kid, 'cause you're not going to get in a day-care around here, they're full!" 

Crap. Either I am a terrible mother, or I'm in the wrong class.

Needless to say, no one else was really honest. It's hard for me to believe you're just in a class because you're "bored at home," or because you were just "looking for a social hour" or "something fun to do" -- which is what most of them said. It's hard to believe you've somehow squeezed into your skinny jeans again and your baby is happily sucking on your boob and sleeping through the night at just a few weeks old. It's hard to hear that you and your husband have date-night once a week and that you have a night nurse watching over your baby so you can sleep. And it's particularly annoying to be judged for my flaws, of which I humbly admit I have many. Whatever. I'm out of here.

Mommy and Me is not for me. Clearly. Was it for you?

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11 comments so far | Post a comment now
Melissa February 25, 2010, 2:10 AM

Um… we never did that at the mommy and me I went to. It was totally up to the mothers if they chose to socialize… but I also waited until my daughter was about 6 months old to enroll her in baby music class, the focus was on the kids not on the mommies… Of course, now my daughter is 2 and I HAVE met a few jewels. My advice would be to see if you could take another class either at a different time or in a different PLACE, because sometimes it’s all about where and when you take the class. If all else fails, speak to the teacher about your concerns. THEY, at least, should be supportive.

Black Iris February 25, 2010, 3:38 AM

I had better experiences with mom support groups. One thing that may have helped was that the first group I took was led by an MSW. It cost money, but she wouldn’t have let anything like what you describe happen.

When you are a little more confident as a mother, you may also find that comments like these don’t bother you as much.

Shannon February 25, 2010, 7:20 AM

I’m so sorry that you had a crummy experiance. My husband & I both had issue when our son was 1st born too. I too also felt like a hot mess. I was extremely swollen after I had our son & felt like I was bigger after I had him then before. To give you an idea of how swollen I was… While preggo my feet got pretty puffy, but I could still wear shoes, after I had him for like 2wks I couldn’t fit my feet into any shoes that I owned! I was breastfeeding every 2 hrs because of his jaundice for the 1st month & a half so my son was not sleeping through the night either. In fact he didn’t start sleeping through the night until he was almost 4 months old! Also who the heck uses a night nurse!? Thats crazy! Why have a baby if you are not going to take care of it yourself!!?? Moving on don’t worry about what other moms are doing. All that matters is that you are doing the very best you can : )

Elizabeth February 25, 2010, 8:40 AM

And I thought it was just me! I was the oldest mom in the group and all though I knew nothing about being a parent, I did know that I wasn’t interested in talking about diaper rash.

For some women, these mom groups are terrific. I decided after a couple of meetings that I would prefer to just spend time with my baby at the park or at home until I too went back to work.

Leigh February 25, 2010, 9:26 AM

I’ve noticed that most places are horrific like that. I’ve had bad experience with WIC, Parents As Teachers, and Mommy and Me classes. I hate being told what to do when it comes to my kid, and I hate how judgmental they can be.

anothermom February 25, 2010, 10:05 AM

We didnt do the mommy and me thing …just didnt think it was for me. And i was getting no sleep..our little guy did not sleep through the night till he was a year and a half. So it was tough just getting him to the park..visiting relatives in and out of town..and other stuff on a constant build up of no sleep. Plus, i had asked a few of my girlfriends about the one in our town..and they said it was nothing but a compare what each others babies progress and such. I just didnt want to go through that..i was already getting criticized for so much outside of the mommy and me class. Found out as a new mom that many moms today can be so judgemental about your decisions for the baby..including staying home vs not, breastfeeding, what i was doing wrong for my son to not sleep through the night..etc, etc. So i chose wisely who i turned to for support or advice or what group of mommies i hung around with. So mommy and me just didnt happen for us. But i so understand your experience w/ the mommies…lots of moms out there that choose to not see the good in lifting each other up as moms rather than competing or criticizing.

Jayde February 25, 2010, 9:36 PM

My mommy and me experience has also been bad, I am in a class with all Spanish speaking moms and I get left out in every class. My daughter only plays with one child and she no longer comes, so I decided to do crafts with her at home. It’s the only class in my area and it’s just not any fun for either of us.

Rita February 26, 2010, 6:04 AM

Yeah, I’ve noticed a lot of mommy and me groups are like this. I’ve never subjected myself to any of those kinds of “classes”. I will never understand why those mommies feel such a need to compare and compete with each other, their kids, and their families. Actually, I do know why. They’re so incredibly self-conscious they have to tear apart everyone who is different from them to make themselves feel better. You can rest assured that most of them are lying when they “brag” about how their life is “so perfect”. I would be surprised if their husbands were still around in a few years. You know you’re a good mom, because you don’t need to compare your child against other children!

I’m so not perfect, my hubby and I haven’t had a date night in quite a while, I have my sexy days and I have my fat days, I burst into tears last night cuz I just had to lol but I feel better today, I know I’m a good mom, but I have my scream “Shut up and go to your room!” moments, my kids can be good but they can be horrendous monsters as well. And I’m ok with admitting all of this because I’m human, and all those so-called “perfect” mothers can kiss my sexy fat a$$!

Sarah C. February 26, 2010, 7:15 AM

Hang in there! It takes a while to make good friends when you are a new mom. What you are going through is normal. My husband and I have had many issues since our daughter was born. We get through it, but it’s definitely tough on relationships. I’ve written about it enough on my blog! Maybe try some of the meetup groups, or another class. Don’t give up! There are good people out there!

Carol March 11, 2010, 12:11 PM

I went to two different classes when my firstborn was a baby. One was advertised in the local newspaper as being open to new members and had a drop-in policy, yet when I dropped in one day, the moms seemed upset that I was disturbing their happy lil clique. We went to a music class, also, and the director, concerned that my son wasn’t really into participating (he was shy), suggested that I wait ‘til he was a little older. I never went back. Years later, I saw this same woman at the school. Don’t know if she remembered me, but I sure remember the way she made me feel like I was inferior.

Ali  April 8, 2010, 1:20 PM

I can totally identify with your experience! I joined a mom’s group when my son was a few weeks old. Very cliquey, and very unsettling for me to be in a room full of loud and crying babies/toddlers. I lucked out with an easy baby who barely whimpered in public, so I guess my senses were just overloaded. Unfortunately, my experience as a first time mom was an eye opener into how judgmental and negative women (mothers) can be, to one of their own. I don’t give advice unless I’m asked for it, plus I was so sleep deprived that I was in no position to offer an opinon on anything. So I stopped going, and joined a gym that had a daycare. It was much more relaxing working out alone, reading a book on the treadmill, then hearing other mothers criticize each other, other people, or talk about all their baby raising books that they were reading. When I read at the gym, I’d read anything not baby related, my mind needed a break!

I have, however, met some really nice mothers through craigslist, now that my son is 3. I think the earliest days of babyhood are the most stessful, and maybe that contributes to the bad attitudes and judgments from the other mothers. This doesn’t excuse their behavior, but I wouldn’t give up on trying to meet new mothers, esp in a one on one setting.

I LOVED the title of your article!!!

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