When I moved to Las Vegas from Denver in 2003, I had been a stay-at-home mom for only three months. I had no job, no local friends and no life. Taking a shower was the most exciting part of my day in those early days! I was extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to stay home, instead of having to return to work, but lack of sleep (from being up all night with my baby) and no real intellectual stimulation gave me a zoned-out, half-crazy type of personality. I found myself getting lonely.
I was unprepared for the intense feelings of isolation I experienced, and the negative impact it had on the friendships with my single, childless friends back in Denver. I would call those girlfriends, wanting to share my days of burping and breastfeeding, while they would want to gush about the newest club opening and their well-deserved hangovers. It was disappointing for both of us – we had trouble knowing how to connect with each other.
I realized then that I needed other mothers to connect with, and that I couldn’t take my friendships (or my social life) for granted anymore. I needed to take my new mommy life into my own hands and do something about my loneliness.
That’s when, while searching the web one day, I unearthed the world of online playgroups.
I started Googling and found Meetup.com, Yahoo Groups and iVillage.com. I learned that there was an overwhelming amount of parenting playgroups available, from local groups in particular neighborhoods (ie: Summerlin, Henderson or North Las Vegas), to city-wide groups, to types of parenting groups (ie: Attachment Parenting, Christian Parenting), down to groups that have babies born in the same month – of the same year!
I jumped in with two feet. I joined as many groups as I could and met lots of other Las Vegas moms who it seemed, like me, were from other places and didn’t know anyone, either. Some of of the playgroups hosted weekly activities; like visiting one of the local parks or taking advantage of the Lied Children’s Museum. Some of the women I immediately connected with, while others not so much. But it didn’t matter. I was just happy to get out of the house and be able to talk about diapers and middle-of-the-night feedings without a second glance from them – because they were dealing with it, too. We mothers exchanged stories and advice and I observed that, even in a city that’s ruled by gambling and adult nightlife, Las Vegas mothers were no different that mothers in other, less exotic places. They wanted the best for their children, they went to church, they hosted park play dates – they were just trying to make it through each day like I was! It was a huge relief to know that I wasn’t alone.
Those groups helped mold me into the experienced mother I am today, and the friendships I’ve made within those Las Vegas playgroups will last me a lifetime. Now I get to pay it forward, and tell all the new mothers out there that they’re not alone, and that there’s a enormous community of moms in Las Vegas – just waiting to be found.