(Estimated read time: 4 minutes)
What are we talking about, you might ask. Answer: Being a PEPS Group Leader and directly guiding parents as they navigate those first weeks and months of parenthood. As a Group Leader you create a safe space where parents can become parents together, where they can say raw feelings out loud, connect and build community. Get inspired by Alison’s, Cindy’s, Chelsea’s and Carolyn’s take on co-leading their PEPS Groups.
Giving new parents a window into these differences, our own uncertainties, and vulnerabilities…
Carolyn and Chelsea met as PEPS participants and have since facilitated four evening PEPS Groups together. Chelsea is mom to Mabel, 6, and Leo, 4. Carolyn is mom to Connor, 6, and Lina, 4.
“The best part of co-leading (besides access to squishy babies!) is that it really demonstrates different parenting styles and choices being not just acceptable but celebrated.”
Chelsea and Carolyn always share an obvious parenting difference at their opening meeting: Carolyn’s kids were sleeping in their own rooms by one month, Chelsea’s co-slept well into their twos. That’s okay! They also talk about how Chelsea came into parenting as a self-described “maternal person” while Carolyn was less so, and both of them were equally bowled over by the intensity of being with a baby all day every day.
“Giving new parents a window into these differences, our own uncertainties, and vulnerabilities, helps them see that we are not parenting gurus, we’re just people like them, figuring it out as we go. We might have some advice or tips to share, but at the end of the day, their decisions will be based on what’s right for their babies and their families. This is an incredibly empowering fact, and we love watching parents come into their own over the course of twelve weeks.”
Carolyn is excellent at speaking about the topic in an easy and conversational way while Chelsea finds her stride connecting to the new parents through humor and shared experiences. This lends itself well for Carolyn to lead and guide the group through the topic discussion and Chelsea takes notes for a follow-up email to be sent after the meeting. They both try to attend all meetings as a pair but between trips and sick kids they inevitably lead a meeting or two on their own.
“Those meetings are probably less dynamic, but all material is still covered and thoughtful conversations and experiences are shared in the group discussion.”
Watching new parents gain confidence in parenting while gaining a supportive community
Alison and Cindy both live in the West Woodland neighborhood. Their children shared the same elementary school and soccer teams. They are both retirees from health professions. Alison was a school nurse and Cindy, a physician assistant for many years. They have led two PEPS Newborn Groups together. Alison also led a PEPS Newborn Group solo.
As new parents in Seattle, without nearby family help, they each joined a PEPS Group and found the experience of joining with other new parents a joyous and supportive experience.
“It was one of the best things I ever did as a parent. I formed lasting friendships with a group of local parents, and we still stay in contact to this day. As our children were growing up, we went on camping trips and held annual birthday parties. I needed the space to think about how to raise children. And I relished getting out of the house to talk and exchange ideas with other adults about parenting. Co-leading has been such a positive experience — facilitating a group and watching new parents gain confidence in parenting while gaining a supportive network.”— Cindy
“I enjoyed working with children and their parents as a school nurse. I missed that connection after I retired and was looking for a volunteer opportunity that would make use of the communication skills I developed on the job. I believe that it really does “take a village to raise a child.” New parents these days often live far from their families and close friends. I totally support PEPS’s mission of bringing together groups of new parents to support each other, just as I found support in the PEPS Group I was in with my daughter almost 35 years ago! I love seeing new parents become more confident with the acknowledgment and encouragement they receive from their peers and leaders. It has been great co-leading with Cindy and having someone to plan meetings and share ideas with. …— Alison
PEPS is growing.
We are growing to serve parents with different affinities; we are growing into different parenting stages; and we are growing back to offering more in-person groups, while virtual groups will from now on be an ongoing option.
Grow with us and share your time, experience, and knowledge by leading or co-leading a PEPS Group. Parents need you.
Contact our Leader Impact Manager, Swarnima Aswinkumar, who can answer all of your questions and help you navigate this amazing engagement opportunity at PEPS.