October 22, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
48°F

Club helps moms network, make friends

Ariana Peterson, 4, delights 1-year-old Audrey Brown with a dive into the ball pit in Anna Brown’s living room in Medina on Thursday morning. Also shown is 18-month-old Caidyn Peterson climbing out of the ball pit. In the background, from left, Michelle Horton holds her 17-month-old son, Preston, while talking with Kim Mull and Jen Peterson, who tends to 18-month-old Julia Mull. The women are members of Medina MOMS, a support group that organizes play dates, field trips and mom-only outings for work-at-home moms. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

MEDINA — Stay-at-home moms may not commute to a job, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work.

Better to call them work-at-home moms. Many often put in a lot more hours than the standard 40-hour work week.

In Medina, they are networking to support each other and enrich the lives of their young ones through the International MOMS Club or Moms Offering Moms Support.

The club, which has two chapters in Medina, offers field trips, play dates, service opportunities and moms-night-out activities.

For moms new to the area like Sarah Troschinetz, it’s been a good way to meet people.

“When you’re not in the workplace, and you move to a new city, it’s tough to meet people,” said Troschinetz who moved to Ohio from Michigan with her husband and daughter Kayla. Without family in Ohio, the MOMS group offers social interaction and support.

“I found this group and they do service projects and field trips and I thought, ‘Well this is a really great way to make new friends,’ “ she said.

While the group includes some mothers who are new to the area, many longtime residents join seeking friendship with other women who have children of a similar age.

“Having kids is sort of the great equalizer,” said Ellen Nolan, who cares for her daughter Nora, 4, and son, Bobby, 18 months.

Many women in the group have held jobs outside of the home before deciding to stay at home with their children. It can be hard to make the transition, said Nolan, who added it was difficult at first to be all alone at home.

“You definitely crave that adult interaction that you get in the workplace,” she said.

On Thursday morning, a group of moms and their kids from the Medina West Chapter of MOMS met for a play date in Anna Brown’s living room.

The play date was for moms with kids up to 2 years old, but older siblings were welcome as well. By 10:30, seven moms and more than 15 kids were engaging in games, books and playtime throughout the home. The oldest kids settled into a room to watch a movie.

While the kids played, moms discussed topics, including the best ways to get stains out of furniture and carpets, and at what age their kids were old enough to drop the third nap from the daily routine.

But the MOMS club is more than just the play dates. The group organizes regular field trips, afternoon events to include older children who are in school during morning get-togethers, mom-only nights and couples events.

The group has visited petting zoos, the city bus garage, small businesses like “A Cupcake a Day” and has plans to do a behind-the-scenes tour of Buehler’s grocery store. Nolan, who helps plan the outings, said even the adults enjoy the field trips.

“It’s been good for me, I’m learning more about Medina every time we visit somewhere new,” Nolan said. “And the businesses have been so nice in accommodating us.”

In addition to trips, the group conducts service projects among members. Right now, they’re collecting items to donate to Jacob and Leann Alferio of Medina. Leann gave birth to quintuplets in October.

“We try to do at least one project every month. Lately it seems like we’ve done two per month,” Nolan said.

The Medina East and Medina West chapters of MOMS were once a single chapter, but split due to the success of the program.

Now every mom east of state Route 3 belongs to the Medina East chapter and those west of Route 3 belong to Medina West. The groups sometimes join together for events, but with 35 to 40 members in the west-side group alone, it’s easier to plan outings with smaller chapters, Nolan said.

Anyone interested in learning more about MOMS Club can visit momsclubofmedinawest.org for contact information on both local chapters.

Activities

Every month, the MOMS Club of Medina West publishes a calendar of activities for members. They include:

• Monthly business meetings the first Friday of each month to discuss activities and projects, and greet visitors and new members. Visitors are always welcome.

Couples’ Night Out: an evening where husbands are welcome.

Craft Day: age-appropriate crafts for little ones to make.

Elementary Elite: a special club for grade-school children who are not active in daily MOMS Club events because they are in school.

Field trips and tours: visits to area businesses and attractions.

Mom & Tot Dine Outs: dining at various kid-friendly restaurants.

MOMS Night Out: a monthly evening out.

Movie Days: free movie events at members’ homes and local theaters.

New member orientation: a time to celebrate new members and acquaint them with MOMS Club.

Park Days: visits to area parks and playgrounds.

Parties: seasonal and holiday gatherings for kids and moms.

Playgroups: time for children to play together and for moms to chat.

Recipe Club: meets monthly to try out favorite recipes on moms and kids.

Secret Sister Program: a secret gift exchange just for moms.

Service projects: fund- and gift-raising events organized to sponsor charitable organizations that benefit children. Proceeds from service projects have been donated to various community organizations, including the Battered Women’s Shelter, Akron Children’s Hospital, Children’s Center of Medina and Birthcare of Medina, and toward playground equipment for the Medina splash pad.

Walking Club: exercise for moms and kids.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.