Staying at home doesn't mean moms are alone
By Katelyn Gendron,Reminder Assistant Editor
WEST SPRINGFIELD Before becoming a mother over three years ago, Kate Day was a full-time lawyer working in Springfield. Now expecting her third child in September, Day has since set her law career aside to become a full-time mother.
"You can always go back to being a lawyer but the kids are only young once," Day said in an interview with Reminder Publications. "It really wasn't a big decision for me [to put my law career on hold]."
Day explained that life outside the work force as a stay-at-home mom can become lonely, tedious and overwhelming at times, leading many mothers to believe that they're in it alone.
But since 2005, the members of the MOMS Club in West Springfield have laid that fallacy to rest and become part of a close network of other stay-at-home moms as a local chapter of the International MOMS Club a non-profit organization dedicated to building supportive networks for stay-at-home moms and their children. Day, the membership director of the MOMS Club of West Springfield, is one of approximately 100,000 members in over 2,000 chapters of the International MOMS Club.
"You truly feel like you are the only one [being a stay-at-home mother] when you don't have that network of other moms," Michelle Grabiec, administrative vice president for the MOMS Club of West Springfield, also a mother of two, said. "When you're out of the work force it's really hard to meet people. Now that I'm in the club I'm not lonely anymore. I feel like I have a connection with other women who are just like you, who've made the decision to stay at home."
She added that her decision to become a stay-at-home mom was because she wanted her children to have "consistency."
"I didn't want anyone raising my children," Grabiec said. "I just felt I was the best one to nurture and take care of them."
The club, however, isn't just for moms; it's for their children too. The MOMS Club of West Springfield has over 40 members in their service communities of Agawam, Southwick, Westfield and West Springfield, who coordinate support groups, playgroups, day trips, holiday parties, book clubs and a variety of other events for mothers and their children.
Day noted that other activities include the HOOT and HOWLS acronyms for Husbands Out of Town and Husbands Out Working Late Shifts which are evenings for mothers and children to meet and have dinner together in the absence of their husbands.
She added that MOMS Night Out is also a popular event for club members the only event that excludes children. Day explained that one night each month the mothers go out together for mini-golf, bowling, dinner or even martinis and manicures.
"I foresee having [these] friends for life," Tiffany M. Smith, president of the MOMS Club of West Springfield, also a mother of two, said.
She explained that the MOMS Club of West Springfield has also formed a support group within their chapter called the Sunshine Support Group (MOMS Helping MOMS), which helps mothers who are experiencing unique transitions or hardships, such as military wives whose husbands are deployed or those who have suffered a loss or illness. Smith said they help mothers by babysitting, or bringing over care packages to members in need.
As a local chapter part of their obligation to the International MOMS Club is to complete one community service project each year. Smith said that the community service projects also helps their children to understand the importance of giving back to those in need. The MOMS Club of West Springfield participate in the March of Dimes Walk for Babies each year and also hosted a tag sale last weekend to raise money for the Open Pantry Emergency Food Services in Springfield.
Day noted that an annual membership fee of $20 is required but that no mother will be turned away because of economic hardship.
Day, Smith and Grabiec each agreed that their participation in the MOMS Club of West Springfield has been invaluable to their lives and the lives of their children.
"It's really been a lifesaver," Grabiec said.
For more information on the MOMS Club of West Springfield visit their Web site at www.geocities.com/MOMSClubofWestSpringfield.