"Motherhood is the easiest gig in the world", said NO ONE EVER! Being a mom can be just about the most rewarding experience one can have in life's many journeys, but it is tough stuff for sure. Having a support system can ease the bumps on this road we travel though. For some that support system is a co-parent, extended family, mom groups or all of the above. Lately, I have been very interested in exploring mom groups now that I am working from home. Mom groups can provide not only an outlet for venting or building mom-to-mom relationships but these groups can also be a way for local moms to learn about valuable resources in the community and to become a part of something truly special.
I recently met with a local mom who is a part of such a group. Ariel Thomas lives in Stockton, she is the mother of 2 handsome boys and she has lived in this community for 2 years after moving here from Utah. I met Ariel and her youngest son at a local park, turns out we are practically neighbors in Weston Ranch! She was easy to chat with and I could see why being in a group with a mom like her could be not only a fun experience but truly a beneficial one. She's funny and quite knowledgeable of many of Stockton's resources and programs available to children. She is a MOPS leader (Mothers of Preschoolers) and a member of Moms Together here in Stockton. So I asked Ariel to give me the rundown on Mom's Together and why she is a member.
It turns out Moms Together used to be MOPS here in Stockton about 4 years ago, but the fees were high and it wasn't really a good fit for Stockton moms. And now Moms Together is meeting the needs of moms in our area. Meetings are held twice a month on the first and third Wednesday of every month from September-May and last for 2 hours, breakfast is provided (sometimes catered, sometimes provided by mom themselves), and childcare is provided by certified individuals. This is not a playgroup, it is a group where moms get to really focus on connecting with one another through a meal and doing an activity or craft or hearing and learning from guest speakers, "it gives you a break and it's just fun" Ariel says. There are about 20 moms that meet twice a month at Quail Lakes Baptist Church, which is the hosting organization but the meetings are open to moms of all faiths or no religious affiliation at all. The group does pray before a meal though, but it's not an imposition of religious beliefs Ariel says. Personally, that was always my concern when my son was younger and I had wanted to join the group, I thought it was a Christian Moms organization. Not so it seems!
Moms Together is a group that is growing here in Stockton. Ariel says, "I think that they provide something that is not here in Stockton- for moms to get connected. My kid needs speech and I didn't really know what to do and there was another mom in there who told me about Valley Mountain Regional Center, she works for their adult department. You know, Moms serve as a source." Ariel was able to get her son the services he needed. But Moms are also able to get the help that they themselves need. "What I have seen," Ariel mentions, " is that sometimes moms have different personalities, the introverted and the extroverted, which is like myself. So some people don't feel comfortable to say Hey help me or I'm really suffering. Last year my (group) was really suffering." So the group brought in guests from the community who were really helpful with resources on what to do. "I didn't know there was a CARE program from PG&E if you are low-income that helps you with your bill or what to do if you have someone who is disabled in your house or a child, I didn't know." So the group has really served as a way for Ariel and other moms to get to know the community better.
Ariel says the group also really provides a nice time out for moms, "As moms, we don't get to make friends as easily. Where do you make friends? At work? And if you are not working, how do you do that? This is 2 hours of dedicated time for you to get to know somebody." The group is for moms and foster moms with children ages 0-12. Moms also get together outside of the monthly meetings for an occasional Moms night out, family BBQ's and other types of social gatherings.
If you would like to learn more about Moms Together and meet current members then you are in luck. The groups first Kick-off meeting of the year is this Wednesday, August 23rd from 9-11 AM at Quail Lakes Baptist Church, Room E213. Breakfast and childcare will be provided. Annual membership to the group is $40 a year with early enrollment and membership fees go towards covering the child care and breakfast expenses of the group. But there are scholarships available, so don't let the fee stop you from at least checking it out at the kick-off this week to see if this is a good fit for you and your family. I definitely want to check it out, if anything, just to hang out with some fellow cool moms in my city for a couple hours!