By Leslie Montee
In today’s world there are stay-at-home moms, working moms, work from home moms, bonus moms, foster moms, adoptive moms, biological moms, and the list goes on. But despite their differences, there is one thing on whichevery mom agrees: all moms need support.
In Girard, the mom population has been working hard to make sure they stay connected and are always available to one another to lend a hand or even just an ear. The meeting place of this group, Girard Moms of Little Ones, is so easy to get to that even the busiest moms can make time to join. The group is always open and free to join. The group is available to all moms and is easily located on Facebook.
In January 2015, Kristen Graham found herself a bit overwhelmed, and understandably so. At the time, she had two little ones of her own and another on the way. While she lived in Girard, she found herself traveling to Pittsburg every week to attend a stay-at-home moms group. “The truth is that I joined that group because I felt alone, and I hadn’t yet figured out what my new mom life looked like. It was that experience of being with other moms that made me realize how desperately we moms needed to be there for each other,” recalled Kristen. When she thinks back on her early motherhood days, she remembers being in the thick of it, and realizing that she wasn’t the only one. “Moms need support! They need SO much support! And there is so much good to meeting with other moms and talking about the struggles and the joys of motherhood. The goal of the group was to give us an opportunity to organize gatherings, to share experiences or ask questions about parenthood, and to be a place to advertise and share local activities,” she explained.
In the early pre-COVID days of the group, members would gather at the library or park to get acquainted with other moms, giving them a chance to socialize without having to scramble to find a sitter. Kenna Combs, who helps run the group now, remembers one time when the group hosted a representative from the Birth to Three program to come speak from time to time about different topics, one of them being picky eaters. “I remember talking about what specific type of chicken nugget my kid would eat at that time and hearing that other moms were in the same boat. Apparently, there are many toddlers that have to have a certain kind of crust on their chicken nuggets too. Not everyone can relate to conversations like that.”
When COVID hit, things began to shift to more online support. The library no longer allowed the rental of their meeting spaces and many of the moms were reluctant to meet due to the virus. With school closures, changes, and lockdowns, moms needed support more than ever. “During COVID it became really important to me to let other moms know that they were not alone during this time and that they were doing a good job. While there were a lot of unknowns during the last two or three years, we actually grew as a group,” stated Kenna. Currently the group has 262 members and sees multiple posts from various members every day. “While I don’t know them all personally, my hope is that they know that they are in a safe space and are welcome just as they are. That they are amongst friends who understand all the ups and downs that motherhood brings.”
The group addresses any topic that a mom might need. Whether it be questions about the school, town events, or just general mom help, with the size of the group, you can almost bet there’s a member who has been through the same situation. If there’s not, they know someone who has and where to go for the needed help. There have been many times when a mom reaches out for extra help during the day after a surgery, grab a ride when their car is in the shop, or to bring groceries to another mom when things get a little tight. The group even has a pinned post with all the local childcare providers and their contact information listed.
“Moving forward, I think we want to try to get back to some of the things that we initially started with and reach out to those moms who might be feeling like they are stuck in a really tough season of motherhood with little kiddos that aren’t ready for school yet,” said Kenna. “We’d like to try and get back to in-person meetings and play dates the best we can and provide opportunities to make personal connections with moms.”
“Girard Moms of Little Ones is listed as private, but it’s just so moms feel safer to share. We welcome all moms and guardians in the Girard area to join our Facebook page, post and organize gatherings,” explained Kristen.
“While I may have been the one to start the group, it has been moms continuing to use our group that kept it going.” The bond that moms in all seasons of motherhood share is one that cannot be compared to any other. “We understand what it’s like to be the primary care providers for children, especially in those infancy years or for someone who may not have that proverbial “village” to help them and relate to. We essentially are creating our own kind of village,” Kenna described.
To join that village, you can request to join the Facebook group, Girard Moms of Little Ones, and an admin of the page will approve your membership.