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1. Meetup.com

Meetup.com hosts nearly 4,000 SAHM groups in 1,500 cities around the world and the odds are very high that there is at least one group near you. Groups include stroller meet-ups, breastfeeding moms, babywearing, attachment parenting, moms of multiples, moms of special needs kids, and so much more. Most groups are free to join and host no- or low-cost events.

2. Mocha Moms, Inc.

Mocha Moms is “the premier voice and support group for mothers of color." Founded in the spring of 1997 as a newsletter distributed to over 100 mothers across the country, the first Mocha Moms group was established in Maryland in the summer of 1997 and has grown to over 100 chapters throughout the U.S. Click here to find a chapter.

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3. Online Communities

Virtual friends can be another awesome resource for at-home moms. In addition to Facebook groups (there's one for literally every topic, and if not, why not start your own!), online forums are full of at-home moms looking for advice, camaraderie, and understanding. Try CircleofMoms.com and its SAHM community, or CafeMom.com.

4. Mothers & More

Founded in 1987, Mothers & More consists of “moms who have left the paid workplace and those who are working for pay part-time, full-time and everything in between." It tenets include advocacy for all mothers and respect for all the work done by mothers, paid or unpaid. Click here to find your local chapter or even start your own.

5. Holistic Moms Network

Originally founded in 2002 in New Jersey, the Holistic Moms Network purports to empower parents who are passionate about natural living by offering “support, community, and connection." Click here to find your local chapter.

6. La Leche League (LLL)

For information and support surrounding breastfeeding, La Leche League International (and its U.S. site) is the premier resource. LLL is available literally 24-hours a day via its Breastfeeding Helpline, but local groups provide a safe place for questions, on-hand assistance, and mom-to-mom support.

7. MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)

MOPS is a support group, often hosted by churches, that offers members mentoring, creative activities, and childcare during meetings. Click here to find your local group, one of nearly 4,000 in the U.S. and around the world.

8. Babywearing International (BWI)

If you wear your little one or are interested in learning more about baby carriers, Babywearing International is the ultimate resource. BWI offers more than 85 local chapters across the U.S. offering meet-ups weekly or monthly, but you can also explore babywearing online. Facebook is full of vibrant babywearing communities, from large general information groups to manufacturer-specific groups, even babywearing support groups for parents of kids with special needs.

9. National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs (a.k.a. Multiples of America)

With over 25,000 members in 400 local support groups nationwide, Multiples of America provides support to parents of multiple birth children, as well as an annual national report and convention. Click here to find a local club.

10. MOMS (Mothers Offering Mothers Support) Club

MOMS Club touts itself as “the first, largest, and fastest-growing support group specifically for ALL at-home mothers" and offers chapters across the country with varying member dues. Click here to view many of their local chapters, but since not all chapters maintain a website, click here to fill out a form and they will contact you with your closest chapter.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

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