By Marcie Cheung (Estimated reading time: 4 minutes)
When they say parenting is a trip, they really aren’t kidding.
After struggling with fertility issues for almost 2 years, I was overjoyed to become pregnant with my oldest son. But things became complicated quickly.
I ended up having placenta previa and was on bed rest at home and in the hospital for several months. And then I had an emergency c-section at 35 weeks and my son had a quick stay in the NICU.
My entry into motherhood was full of stress, confusion, and second-guessing myself every step of the way. Plus, the extensive bed rest meant that I was physically exhausted all of the time. And it was a pretty isolating experience because I didn’t have a chance to do any prenatal activities with other expecting moms.
I knew I needed a safe space to connect with other new moms who could help me navigate these unfamiliar waters.
I found out about PEPS from a few friends of mine who were debating whether or not they should join. I did a little research and it seemed like it could be just the support system I was looking for.
When I joined my PEPS Group in the spring of 2014, I never would have guessed that we would still be chatting almost 10 years later.
I think that a big reason why our group has stayed close is that we made it a priority. Several of us are “planners” and we all took turns taking the lead on play dates, planning trips, or even just maintaining our weekly highs & lows check in over email.
Some of us have had more babies, others have moved, and we’ve all had changes in our work situations.
We no longer discuss the best baby products or how to travel with a toddler. Instead, we talk about bullying, neurotypical behavior, and lamenting when our sons refer to us as “bruh.”
Over the years, we’ve been a really solid support system for each other. When the pandemic hit and we were all of a sudden dealing with kindergarteners who now needed to quickly learn how to use laptops, you better believe our text messages were blowing up!
We’ve also done a group trip to LEGOLAND California, several moms’ weekends, and tons of local excursions around Seattle.
I know that our group’s experience with staying in touch over the years isn’t the same as all PEPS Groups. Maintaining our relationships was a priority for us, so we put in a lot of effort to stay connected. As our life situations have evolved over the years, we’ve found some strategies that work well for us to stay connected.
Tips for Parents to Stay Connected to Their PEPS Group
- After your PEPS Group ends, continue sharing your weekly highs & lows either in a Facebook group, through email, or even via text message.
- Invite each other to the first few birthday parties.
- Send each other funny parenting memes or TikTok videos.
- Plan a few group outings each year, like going to the pumpkin patch or doing a 4th of July BBQ.
- Get season tickets to Seattle Children’s Theatre or the Kindiependent concert series.
- Coordinate a weekly or monthly playdate at a park or kid-friendly attraction, like Woodland Park Zoo.
- Get together for a moms’ brunch.
- Sign kids up for the same swim class, sports team, or dance class.
- As kids get older, sign them up for the same summer camp (either day camp or overnight camp).
Want to share your PEPS experience as a guest writer on our blog? Reach out to learn more!
Not all PEPS Groups click the way we did. That happened to a few friends of mine and it happened to me when I joined a Little Peppers group.
It’s okay if your PEPS Group doesn’t last for years and years. I still think it’s helpful to join a PEPS Group for the immediate support during one of the most intense transitions in life.
There’s nothing like being brutally honest about a breastfeeding fiasco or what you did while sleep deprived and having a room full of new parents who understand 100 percent.
But, if your group does click and you are all willing to put in some extra work, it will pay off ten-fold!
About the Author
Marcie lives in Renton Highlands with her husband and two boys. She is a former PEPS Group Leader and currently runs the family travel blog marcieinmommyland.com.