Thursday, June 14, 2012

All Moms Need a momstown

As a stay-at-home mom, I have always taken my kids to playgroups, because I believe the social time is so necessary for my own well-being and for my kids’ development. I never thought something was missing until I discovered this thing called momstown. At first, I didn’t see how momstown was different from going to drop-ins and connecting on facebook. Yet I could tell from the momstown website and blogs that moms were genuinely passionate about momstown. It took just three interviews with momstown owners Guelph, Burlington and Winnipeg to turn passing interest in momstown into real passion.

When Lisa of momstown Burlington had to reschedule our interview, it was because she had three members lose their dads in the same week and two members had surgery. She was trying to do little care packages for them and deliver them that afternoon. I understood, of course, and told her it demonstrated to me the sort of care that a momstown chapter could give its members. She replied,

“Yes, our momstown community is amazing - and it truly shows at times like these.  We're all making meals for the moms and even taking their little ones if they need a break to grieve or when they were attending funeral services/preparing for them.”

I thought, wow. Who does this nowadays? How many of us moms receive (or have the opportunity to give) this level of support when it’s needed?

Then, while browsing the momstown Guelph forum, I sent an email to Leanne asking her how she grew the message board, because it seemed engaging, caring, and fun. She said the community feel seems to emerge naturally from both the momstown environment and its members, saying,

“It may feel that all the moms have known each other for years but in reality they never knew each other before momstown--and they are totally ready to welcome [other moms] into their lives as well!”

She also gave an example of how the events help to foster and encourage this community:

“I introduced two members at an event for the first time…They immediately started to talk as if they had known each other forever and by the time the event was done the one was inviting the newer member to come and join some of the other under one momstown crowd for a gathering the next week completely separate from momstown. No concerns about whether a new person showing up would be welcome. The assumption is that she will be immediately accepted.”

I was so moved. How many times had I gone to a playgroup and left without speaking a word to anyone? And when I have met and gotten along with another mom, how often has that become an actual friendship? In the last five years, that has happened only ONCE.

Another momstown owner told me (and I’m sorry, I can’t remember which one!) of how, late one night, a mom posted in the forum that she felt alone. Within a few minutes, nine other members responded with “I feel that way too!” and “Let’s get together,” and “Isn’t momstown so much bigger than just momstown?”

And that’s how I fell in love with momstown. I knew that I wanted to be part of this, and it wasn't just that Victoria needs a momstown, it’s that ALL MOMS NEED A MOMSTOWN! We all deserve to give and receive real mom support, and we all deserve to look back on our kids’ early years and say, “We had good friends and real community, and those were some GREAT YEARS!”

So hang onto your seats, mamas...momstown Victoria is coming!

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