You’ve shared tears; you’ve celebrated triumphs. You’ve opened up about some of your deepest, darkest emotions. And you’ve seen everyone’s nipples at least 60 times. So it’s no surprise that breaking up with your mother’s group is right up there on the trauma scale with a newborn sleep regression.
But whether by choice or circumstance, there comes a time in every parent’s life where it’s time to pack up the play mats. Maybe you’re going back to work. Or maybe everyone else is. Or maybe as lives get busier, and the whole parenting thing starts making more sense to everyone, the catch-ups simply start to fall away.
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We spoke to five women about why, and how, they exited their mother’s groups - without everyone hating them.
For Zara, being the first in her group to return to work was the trigger for her to step away. “All day my phone would keep pinging with the girls organising activities or sharing memes, while I was sitting at my desk struggling to keep all the balls in the air. It was like seeing an ex posting holiday photos with a new girlfriend while you’re still single. I actually got quite resentful.”
Sonja agrees: “I run my own business, so I really only had three months of mat leave. They were all really nice, but I felt like I was out there in the real world while they were still in their baby bubble with nothing else to think about.”
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You know the saying that it’s best to leave a party while everyone’s still having fun? Well whoever came up with that is clearly a sociopath, because who in their right mind would want to say goodbye when everything’s still in full swing? And ditto if you’re facing a premature evacuation of your mother’s group.
Sitting in an office, desperately trying to remember how to do your job and counting the minutes till you can race home to your bub is only made that much worse when you know your mother’s group are off enjoying themselves at the park/cafe/mums and bubs yoga class.
So do yourself a favour – cut yourself off. Mute the WhatsApp group during the day. Don’t check the Facebook page. Pick a set time where you can catch up with all the banter with no distractions, and you’ll see the barrage of detailed messages updating everyone’s smallest movement (‘Changing nappy.’ ‘Just doing one more feed.’ ‘Getting in the car but the car seat isn’t in properly so we might be a while’) and not wish you were there.