The MOMS Club of Hamilton works as a resource for mothers to support one another. This includes regular events like Mothers Night Out, like the ’80s Night outing pictured above. Front: Lauren McGuire, Jennifer Mantle, Terese Breese, Keri Carlton, Nora Buttacavole and Angela Earley. Back: Megan Patterson, Lauren Rossi and Nancy Lake.The current members of the MOMS Club of Hamilton have been unsuccessful thus far in their attempts to suss out who in 1998 started their organization. But regardless of the past, they serve as first-hand testimonials of why the club’s legacy still lives on two decades later.
The MOMS Club of Hamilton, founded in July 1998 for moms to support one another, received commendation from township council earlier this year in honor of its 20-year anniversary of serving as a resource for mothers in Hamilton Township.
Members of the MOMS Club of Hamilton hope to continue to enhance their role in the community while supporting moms in the area. The club is currently in the early stages of developing two programs that would reach the broader community: a biannual consignment sale to sell baby and maternity items, and a community garden that would donate produce to local soup kitchens as well as selling some produce to help fund the cost of events.
The MOMS Club of Hamilton caters to the needs of today’s mother. Being a parent is said to be the hardest job in the world, and MOMS Club of Hamilton president Jennifer Mantle has definitely found it to be true.
“It’s a 24/7 job on top of everything else you do—work, marriage, running a household, being a daughter/sister/friend,” she said. “Additionally, parents are constantly bombarded with so many articles/books/social media posts on varying opinions on how to parent. It can be overwhelming for most. I remind members, and myself, to listen to their intuition, as it was gifted to us for a reason, and that people are only experts on their own children.”
Many of the stay-at-home moms in the club started off as women in the workforce who didn’t plan to stay home with their children. The club enables mothers like them, who find their careers to be important to their self-identity but are unable to work, build their resumes by serving on the board while caring for their families. The club also serves as a reference for moms who are looking to get back into the workplace.
“[The MOMS Club of Hamilton] reminds me of my professional self before kids,” Mantle said. “I recently started working part-time again and my work with the club has helped me transition nicely back into working.”
The MOMS Club of Hamilton offers postpartum support, a group for moms with multiples and a group for moms of children with special needs. Mantle, whose son has special needs, was able to see how her son was like and unlike other kids his age during playgroups and talk to moms who had more experience having a child with special needs.
Many of the members of the MOMS Club of Hamilton joined to socialize their children when they were new moms or didn’t have neighbors or friends with children close by. The club has created an alumni group because many of the moms stay, even after their children have “aged out” of the club, because of the special bonds they have created with the other mothers.
“Its hard to navigate the world with three children,” said Nancy Lake, vice president of the MOMS Club of Hamilton. “A lot of the moms are so helpful. Even if it’s just helping you push your stroller while you wrangle your other two kids into the building.”
The club’s sense of community stretches farther than club events.
“I know I can call any one of these ladies,” said Lauren McGuire, senior vice president of the MOMS Club of Hamilton. “If there’s something that anybody needs. We’re all ready to help them, no matter what.”
The club invites expert speakers from the community to educate the moms on a variety of topics that are important to them. Lawyers and powers of attorney have visited to discuss finances and wills. Police officers and technology experts have visited to talk about what is safe and unsafe to post about children on social media. Sleep experts and mom experts have visited to offer parenting advice.
All but one of the MOMS Club of Hamilton’s groups and events are child friendly. To give the moms a break, the club hosts monthly Mom’s Night Out events. Some of their day events, like the Blowout Lunch, offer time for moms to enjoy coffee, mimosas and food and be pampered while supporting local businesses. For moms who are quieter or aren’t fond of socializing in a group setting, the club offers a forum for the women to reach out to one another for coffee dates or playdates and share articles or anecdotes on their closed Facebook page.
More moms work than ever before so the MOMS Club of Hamilton is adding events to accommodate after-work and weekend hours.
“The landscape is changing,” Mantle said. “Women are taking charge now. But they still need a support network. Moms are older. We have to be everything to everybody. It’s harder now. We’re expected to do so much.”
The MOMS Club was originally founded in California in 1983 and has grown into an international club with chapters in Italy and Germany as well as in cities around the United States. While each club’s chapter evolves to reflect the times, their goals remain the same. The MOMS Club aims to provide support and information for mothers, participate in local service projects, and help children in the community.
“It would have been nice for my mom to have this,” said Mantle. “I would have been in the dark without this club.”
The MOMS Club of Hamilton is working on expanding to a Dad’s Club and Grandparent’s Club in order to support the people who support the moms. For many of the moms, the club is an invaluable community to lean on throughout the struggles and triumphs of motherhood and they wish to continue to grow.
“The more members we have, the more good we can do in the community,” Lake said.
For more information about the MOMS Club of Hamilton, go to hamiltonmomsclub.wordpress.com.