When I found out our family was moving to Columbia, the very first thing I did was look for local moms groups. I wanted to know the good neighborhoods and schools, which areas to stay away from, the activities, the MOMS.
Whether you are a new mom, expecting mom, new in town, or want to meet someone who knows what it’s like to have a newborn/toddler/young child struggling with sleep issues/crying fits/(insert mystifying child behavior here), local moms groups give you a chance to meet other mothers who are going through the same things as you (and you may not have met otherwise).
These organizations give you access to a network of women who are there for advice, encouragement and friendship. When you find yourself struggling, you have a support system ready to listen and give you suggestions. These groups also provide the opportunity for your children socialize with other kids their age. Playdates are held at local parks and kid-friendly venues around town … it’s a great way to learn more about the city you live in!
Moms groups can take many forms. Some are designed for children of certain ages; some focus on a special interests, like babywearing or a faith community. Some groups are part of a national organization; others are purely local. Whether you prefer organized weekly meetings or a free-flowing group, there’s likely to be a moms group that meets your needs.
(Side note: I say moms group, but these groups are not women-only affairs. The two groups I’ve been a member of both have hip stay-at-home dads in them, so if your husband is a SAHD, let him know he can jump on the mom-group bandwagon too. He’ll find a warm welcome!)
My Moms Group Experience
The Busy Bees is where I have met most of the moms I have grown to love (and I do mean LOVE). They are very well organized, with many active members and multiple organizers to keep the calendar full of playdates all around the Columbia area. Members have organized a book club, a farmers market co-op and plenty of opportunities to sneak away for Moms Night Outs. They throw Christmas parties and charity drives, Easter Egg hunts and multiple other events for the entire family. Membership is free, though the group holds occasional fundraisers to cover operating costs.
The month after we moved to Lexington, I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd child. I was very hormonal, which caused extreme depression. I HATED everything about this area, but the Bees understood and looked past all my negativity. When my due date was nearing, I was becoming very anxious on where my two older boys would stay when it was time to deliver, since our family is 6+ hours away. (My water broke with the first two and were both fast deliveries.) More than half a dozen already-busy moms spoke up and said to put them on the on call list.
But what touched my heart even more than their kindness towards me was their support for another. Since there are 100+ members in this group, there are always multiple moms pregnant, so the group does not do baby showers. But one mom, who had a 3-year-old and an under-1-year-old, was shocked when she unexpectedly became pregnant … with twins. Not long after the announcement, plans were put into work to throw her a shower and take a collection for two brand new carseats. These ladies are continually surprising me with their huge hearts.
I’m not the only one who loves the Busy Bees. I asked my fellow Bees for their thoughts on the group, and here’s what a few had to say:
- “I can always turn to the Busy Bees for advice about pretty much anything and words of encouragement when I need them! And of course, some great , desperately-needed mommies’ nights out meet ups!” — Jelena Jones
- “I didn’t know how lonely I was until I met the Bees. This group has completely changed. my. life. Not only have my kids made friendships that will last for years to come, but it saved my SAHM sanity and gave me some real, quality friends that I NEVER would have met had I not joined this group. Every person in this group means more to me than they will ever know.” — Angela Bernardo
I met equally wonderful moms in Playtime Pals, and they have some pretty awesome and different events to attend. (Unfortunately, many of their events were too far from my home, so it didn’t work out for me to continue my membership.) However, I still talk to many of the moms (which I consider a win-win!). Several members are part of both Playtime Pals and Busy Bees, in addition to other moms groups around Columbia. Playtime Pals collects a $5 fee when you first become a member and then $5 each January.
Here’s what one member had to say about Playtime Pals:
- “Here you will find a varied and active group of both stay-at-home and working moms and their children, who always welcome new faces and embrace building new friendships. Our activities are primarily centered around the Irmo, Ballentine and Chapin areas but do extend into other parts of Columbia. We normally have at least three to four outings per week, but often more! We try hard to keep our event calendar full and interesting with playdates designated for non-walkers, 12-18 months, different age sibling groups, toddlers, and preschoolers as well as events for the entire group to enjoy together. ‘Moms only’ meetups are also available including an ongoing monthly book club, mother’s morning out and different ‘Mom’s night out’ events as we hope to continuously foster a network of friendships for both our Mommy members as well as for our children. Whether you are new in the area, or are a long standing ‘local,’ you are welcome here!” — Candace Ruffin
Other Moms Groups in the Midlands
There are LOTS of great organizations to choose from (seventeen … and growing!). Click here to see our list of other moms groups in the area; whether it be special interest, lifestyle, area of town, age of children … there is a group for you!
Look our post tomorrow with more tips on what to look for when choosing a group and what to expect when you join.
Are you in a local moms group that was not listed? Please share their info with our readers and we’ll add it our list!