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I was never one of those women who dreamed of or desired a life as a stay-at-home wife and mother. I had fun and rewarding jobs in television and public relations and the thought never even crossed my mind to give up my career and the degree I was still paying for. That was until I had my first baby, put her in childcare and went back to work

Next thing you know, I found myself with a wheel barrow, ironing board and baby cradle strapped to the top of my Ford Explorer driving to a new state for a new job for my husband that would allow me to be at home, full-time, with my precious four-month old daughter.

It all seemed like a good idea, but as a former career woman and coming from a family where my mother worked my whole life, nothing and no one had ever prepared me for the rigors and loneliness of being a stay-at-home wife and mother. While my husband enjoyed new friendships and outings with co-workers, a pat on the back and a paycheck for his work, I cleaned, cooked, changed diapers and played mommy all day, and felt lonely and seriously undervalued.

I needed mommy friends. But where could I go to find them? It wasn't easy. It was late winter and they were nowhere to be found. So as the weather warmed up I headed outdoors and became a sort of mommy "pick-up artist." I would venture out with my baby to trails, parks and playgrounds scoping out the territory for other moms with babies around my daughter's age. I'd gather up some courage and approach them exclaiming "What an adorable child you have!"
Followed by my big pick-up line: "So, do you come here often?" It worked about as well as it does in the night clubs. A polite response, but no instant mom friend connection that was going to garner a future hook-up.

Honestly, it was a tough time. I did finally find some friends through visits to the YMCA and the local pool. They scheduled some play dates here and there, but not enough, and just before I could really get close to any of them, financial need sent me back into the work world. As luck would have it, there were no young mommies there to relate to either.

Then, a year later I got a second chance at stay-at-home motherhood when I gave birth to our second child. But again, I was in the same situation: no mommy friends. And one day, as I ran down the day's "exciting adventures in motherhood" to my husband, he bluntly said, "Babe, I love you, but I'm just not that interested in this stuff. You really need to find some 'girl' friends." I know, it seems harsh, but it lit a fire under me and I became a woman on a mission.

Surely, there had to be other women, new mothers like me out there, whether they were new moms to town or fresh out of the workforce who were also desperately needing and longing for friendship and support.

So I reached out to some mothers I met in an expectant moms water aerobics class and put out some flyers announcing a free weekly moms walking group to help get fit and meet other moms.

No one showed up the first day, but I began boldly walking up to every mom I encountered to let them know about my weekly moms walking club. I also listed it in the local parenting magazine and on a national moms walking and running group registry called seemommyrun.com.

It started out slow, but whether one mom showed up or ten, we had a chance to walk and talk about mommy stuff and I began to make a lot of friends along the way. They did too. That first year after starting the group, I lost 75 pounds and I found myself again. It's now been five years and I'm not sure how many hundreds of moms (and a few dads too) have passed through my group. There are more than 100 currently registered at seemommyrun.com under the M.V.P. Moms Walking Club.

They're lawyers, doctors, teachers, marketing pros, part-time workers, single moms, anyone with a Friday off... and new moms join us every week.

There are usually about 8 to 24 of us and we meet at 9:30ish (that's mommy time) every Friday, year-round at Monument Valley Park in Colorado Springs. I also organize a monthly potluck and playdate, occasional hikes, zoo trips, moms nights outs and a moms running group, without the kids, on weekend mornings.

It just melts my heart when a new mom finds our group and tells me about how lonely and miserable she was before joining us and how much just having other mommy friends to walk and talk with has changed her life. It happens a lot.

For more information about the M.V.P. Moms Walking Club, contact Torie at toriegiffin@yahoo.com.

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Comment by Robin Esp on April 7, 2010 at 12:38pm
I remember feeling lonely once I started having kids and it was very hard to meet others and try to connect without feeling creepy about it. Great idea getting women together!

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