When you move to a new town or a country without knowing anybody, there are high chances you start to look for a community of people with similar interests of yours. Similarly, if you want to start a new sport or take on a new hobby, you will best connect doing so with somebody who has the same passion for it. Now imagine you live in a foreign country with a limited number of close friends and you become a mom. What might be the chances you know a respectfully good number of women in the similar situation? We’d say there’s not many. This was a situation Claudia, the founder of Mommy Abroad, was facing when she got pregnant, despite having lived in Bratislava for over five years at that time. Find out more about this „mommies club“ and possibilities to join in the below interview!
HOW DID THE IDEA OF FOUNDING A CLUB FOR MOMMIES FROM ABROAD COME?
When I was still pregnant, I was thinking what I could do after I deliver, how to connect with people in a similar situation. As I did not know many people who were also expecting or already had babies, and our families live abroad, I was looking for ways how to make friends with other mommies. I already had an overview of specialized shops, services, doctors and baby-friendly places in Bratislava and I thought why not to share this information with other moms – they surely have other useful advice, too. So then the idea of creating a group on Facebook came to my mind.
WHAT EXACTLY IS THE MOMMY ABROAD ABOUT? WHO IS THE GROUP FOR?
It is a group for moms that come from abroad and live in Bratislava. You can join the group when you are expecting or when you already have a baby and want to broaden your network. Its aim is to share information, meet, spend time together, make new friends, exchange advice and tips. We meet each month, and with the summer coming it’s going to be even more frequent now. We try to change the locations of meetings, usually it is a child zone, or we go for a walk to parks.
ARE FATHERS ALLOWED TO JOIN AS WELL?
When we organize our bigger meetings, such as for Christmas or Easter, we invite also dads as special guests.
HOW MANY MOMS ARE IN THE GROUP?
I founded the group in summer 2015 and till this moment we have over 50 members. We are truly an international community as our moms come from various countries across the world: Canada, Ecuador, Romania, Finland, Ukraine, France, Bulgaria, USA, Brazil, Slovakia, Russia, Spain, Poland, Lithuania, Peru, Italy, Ireland, China, Germany or the United Kingdom. Usually there are around 8 moms coming each month.
YOU USE A FACEBOOK GROUP TO COMMUNICATE…
Of course nothing beats the personal meetings when you can bound with other people. However as we meet in regards of time availability, which is not as often as we would like to, whenever I find something interesting related to being a mom – any kind of information, video, or I see there is a new place opened etc, I share it with other moms – and any member can do the same as well. Any topic is welcome to be shared in regards of moms & babies and we also try to help each other with other sorts of information, for instance newcomers to Slovakia who come with their kids might not know the country’s foreigner policy or how to register their baby, this is just one example. Feel free to ask by posting your question in our group and we will try to help you.
WHAT DO OTHER MOMS SAY ABOUT THIS GROUP?
„I like this group mostly because it is a great way to socialise when you are on a maternity leave. We organise different activities and meetings which are fun for both moms and children. It is also a good place to discuss baby related topics and asks for advice if needed,“ adds Elena, 28, from Ukraine.
Moms are recommended to join this group as it is really very useful and all they can gain is wonderful time spent with other moms and kids. All of the ladies who come to the meetings are kind, very open and helpful with information regarding baby care. I haven’t missed a meeting until now,“ says Katya, 32, from Bulgaria.
Claudia is Romanian and she met her now-husband in Brno, Czech Republic, thanks to work. After a while they both relocated to Slovakia and it’s been five years since they found their home in Bratislava. She is 30 and has a 6 month old daughter.
.„I have been living in Bratislava for 2,5 years now and my son is 4,5 months old. I was recommended this group by an expat friend of mine. My first meeting was when I was still pregnant, so this is one of the things I appreciate about it: you do not have to have kids yet to be part of it. I see a lot of advantages to being part, mainly related to socialising (for me and the baby as well, although he is still small) and also because I can learn tips and tricks from more experienced members (and from different cultures as well). I really like and appreciate the effort that Claudia is putting into keeping the group alive and its members interested, she is always posting useful things and organizes nice events for us,“ comments Anca, 34, from Romania.
„I first joined this group while still traveling abroad for a year with my newborn baby. She was about 6 months old and up until that point, there really was no support for moms in Bratislava that I found, nor any similar group. When my friend told me about this one starting up, I was eager to join. Immediately, I saw all the events planned and lots of topics up for a discussion. I was so happy that this group was so active and obviously highly needed for the expat mom community. So far I love this group. There are events planned quite often which makes meeting with others very easy. There are many dates and activities to choose from. I also like the support I have got from moms with children around the age of my own. It makes a world of difference to have someone who understands to bounce ideas and parenting styles. You make lots of friends here. This group is also amazing for information about things you’re looking for. For example, I know many of us were looking for a good chain to deliver bio produce to us but couldn’t find anything better than Tesco. So then Claudia found one and posted it for us all to use. Also, I saw some people looking for a good pediatrician who speaks English. So small conversations like this are the most helpful for me. Bratislava is a great and very cosy city but knowing all the benefits of it is hard without speaking the language. So this group is amazing for this. We support each other and share lots of useful tips and info in the community,“ shares Yana, 27, from USA.
Author: Maria Kecsoova
Photo credits: Martina Gallovicova