The Old Trolls – My Real Mothers’ Group

Mothers’ Groups are an Australian institution, but one that can cause mixed feelings amongst those of us whose children turn out not to fit the ‘norm.’

I’m going out to see the Old Trolls tonight, and I can’t wait.  Our monthly get-togethers are the highlight of my scintillating* social life.

You see, the Old Trolls** is my mothers’ group, the contemporaries whose kids are like my kid, whose lives were turned topsy turvy like mine was, who now share the  experience of parenting a teenager on the autism spectrum.

These aren’t the girls I met when Tom was a baby but the ones who did early intervention programs when we did.  It’s very bonding to have friendships formed in those kinds of emotional fires.

In the past, I had often felt left out of the Mothers’ Group phenomenom.  We weren’t in Australia when Tom was born, so I never did have that traditional mothers’ group.

But maybe it was better not to.

I have met many mums who’ve been distressed to watch their kids’ development fall further and further behind their little contemporaries.  And some kids’ behaviour was so disruptive that getting together with the other mums was a nightmare.

Some whose mothers’ groups just didn’t understand and weren’t supportive, even when the dreaded diagnosis was made. Then too, some of my Aussie friends have been really fortunate and forged lifelong friendships in their mothers’ groups.

One of the Old Trolls talked about going to her “Normal Mothers’ Group.’   That really makes me laugh, just like one of my twin mum friends who goes to what she calls her ‘Single Mothers’ Group.”

Anyway, we Old Trolls met around ten years ago when our boys (and ours are all boys surprisingly) were three/four years old.  We’ve been through many, many things together over the year: learning to sign, talk, gesture; learning patience, perseverance and the art of preschool playdates.

And we’ve gone through all the big stuff together too: toilet training, starting school, and high school.  We’ve been there for each other through the worst of times; illness, divorce, the diagnosis of other children, the death of parents.

And, you know what, there’s a lot more to go through yet.  So our now fixed-in-stone monthly meetings remain vital, who else could fully grasp the concerns we have; over puberty, teenage crushes, drugs and alcohol, as well as the ever-present speech therapy and school issues.

And who else could laugh about it?

Sometimes we mums just need to have a good old laugh about our odd lives, and ours is the kind of black humour best kept to ourselves. We’ve been known to describe our group as the ‘Some Mothers Do Have ‘Em” club, the ‘Weird Kids Club’, and sometimes we refer to ourselves as the ‘Reluctant Grade A Parents.’

We can sometimes shriek with laughter, sometimes cry.  We look after each other and we look after ourselves these days; sometimes we have a day out of pampering, shopping, often we drink too much wine when together.

So here’s to the friends we make along out ASD journey.  Thank goodness we have them, lets keep them close.

* actually, not that scintillating, to be honest.

** why Old Trolls?  Well we all met at a parent group called Learning to Learn, so called our egroup OldL2L, mis-seen by one of us as Old Trolls- perfect name for us!

This is adapted from a post on the Australian Autism Handbook blog.

And I’m adding it to Maxabella’s linky because I am so, so grateful to have pals like the Old Trolls. God bless you, you old bats.

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Comments

  1. How fabulous you still meet so many years later!!
    I still meet with my CYH mums’ group, although as most have gone back to work it’s become a usually-monthly ladies night out. But seeing as most are now pregnany with #2, hopefully we can go back to fortnightly play dates :)

    FYBF

    • Glad you have a good group going. I’m also still in touch with the mums I met in Edinburgh when doing antenatal classes with my first son, just on Facebook as we’re scattered far and wide. It’s wonderful when it works. We all need peers to share this journey with.

  2. This is just wonderful to read! I/we flunked Mothers Group too. My daughter was gross motor delayed and theirs were all rather exceptionally “gifted” early movers. Or so they’d have me believe. My mind was actually made up that it was time to move on when they discussed another girl whose son was going through rigorous testing (he turned out to have CP)… I just felt very uncomfortable with the whole way it was talked about and realised that unless I turned up weekly, it’d be me too! So I simply left when my daughter was 12 months old. We never looked back :)

    MG’s can be phenomenal places of support but I think sometimes those groups that are forged through other far more tangible and real common-bond means are the stuff of enduring friendships. As you have proven!

  3. These kinds of friendships are just fab. “The Old Trolls” is gold.

    My mothers’ group was just about the most painful experience of my early babying years, but I did meet two or three ‘keepers’ and for that I am also grateful! x

  4. What a fantastic mother’s group to be part of. You’re so fortunate to have met such a great bunch of mums.
    Mine was a bit of a mixed bag. Half of them were fabulous and I’m still in contact with. Some others were a tad competitive for my liking. ;)

    • Oh, can’t bear competitive parenting… I don’t think I ever was… certainly had any traces beaten out of me when my eldest was so delayed…

  5. I had a great mother’s group – really supportive. I am still friends with most of them and we have all had more babies. Very cool you too met some great women. Nice to meet your blog, I’m popping over from Flog Ya Blog!

  6. Hi Seana,
    It sounds like a fab group! I was very dubious about Mum’s groups, but I did get a lot of support from mine. I am still in contact with a few of the members even though I have moved away. I can totally see how mums groups could completely alienate mums whose bub wasn’t tracking along quite so well.
    Glad you’ve got a group like The Old Trolls to share your journey with your son with.
    x Lee

    • Yes, and however old the kids are… it’s still a journey… so glad you got goos d support. We all need it and we surely deserve it.

  7. Kirrily said what I was going to say, but better. So just re read her final paragraph, but with a kiwi accent. Thanks
    Here from FYBF.

  8. I often think a mother’s group is really just the group of mothers that you click with – not the group your council randomly assigns you. I have made so many wonderful friends since my girls started school – and have never again seen the mums from my mother’s group, even though they were lovely we just didn’t have enough in common.
    But your old trolls sound like just the perfect fit for you :-)
    have a great weekend
    xxxCate

    • Must say that the mums from my Eldest’s kindi class in 2003 have remained lovely friends, tho we don’t see each other so much since the kids have gone to high school. But such long history there and great fondness for each others’ children.

  9. That’s awesome that you still meet up all these years later and so regularly.
    I’ve plucked a few from various groups, but nothing like a whole wad of mamas.

  10. Hi Seana,
    I too have had a great experience with my mothers group. A good group of girls who understand what each of us are going through. They have always been very supportive and wonderful to catch up with on a fortnightly basis. They were the ones who pushed me and helped me to start my own business which is now flourishing. I’d recommend to any young mum, if you’re not in a mothers group try to find one and join. You will gain so much.
    [email protected]

  11. Gorgeous! What a spectatular sounding mummies group – and what a great name!

    My orginal Mummies group was in Darwin – we are all now spread acros the country which makes me sad – it was to be expected, but Farcebook is just not the same. I have a weekly phone call with one. It’s precious time for both of us. And another is here with me, in beautiful serendipity, in Adelaide and she is one of my dearest and closest friends.

    My subsequent gathering of Mummies has suffered a parting of the ways, for a variety of reasons. (A whole other blogpost!) But I am still very close to them, all but one. (Can you tell their was one bad apple who spiled the barrel?!!)

  12. Not all MGs are created equal! It’s great you have had such a supportive group. Mine wasn’t too bad but most of us are physically removed now, two overseas, so it’s not the same, I had hopes for mine since I don’t have many friends with kids. I wish I had one for my second child, even if it was council arranged. Not sure how else to make new mummy friends, which is what’s led me here to mummy bloggers. We all need something, don’t we? Visiting from the rewind.

  13. What’s not to love about a mother’s group called Old Trolls???

    Visiting via the Rewind.

  14. How fortunate you are to have had such an amazing, understanding support group all these years. I’m envious.

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