Support group offers social network for busy moms

July 3, 2008

By Jim Feehan

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Trina Sooy, of Newcastle (third from left), hosts a playgroup with Margo Leishman, of Sammamish. Photo contributed

Transitioning from the workplace to raising a family can be demanding, especially if you’re new to the area with no family or friends and a husband who works 80 hours a week.

Lonely, alienated, in search of like-minded professionals to commiserate with and swap tales of baby babblings and diaper doo – where do you turn?

Mothers & More, a social network and support group, offers group activities for moms and their children or something as simple having a mom’s night out, said Katie White, co-leader of the Eastside Mothers & More chapter that meets at a church near Factoria. The group’s other co-leader is Kerri Gilbert.

Mothers & More is a diverse group with activities that cater to every woman, White said.

The group realizes mothers want more time with their children, more flexible work options and more ways to combine career and family. The organization also recognizes that mothers juggle many other roles and interests in addition to their role as parent, White said.

Most of the 100 members are professionals in their late 20s to mid-30s. Members include attorneys, physicians, professors and engineers. White moved to the area three years ago after living in San Diego.

“The group was down to earth, friendly, warm and welcoming,” she said.

Many members are new to the area, new to parenting and new to staying at home with infants and toddlers.

After working several years for Microsoft elsewhere, Lynn Woods, of Newcastle, transferred to the Northwest to work for the software giant.

“There’s something for everyone,” she said. “The group targets both stay-at-home and working moms.”
Mothers & More also offers an active message board on its Web site that serves as a communication hub for the organization. The message board has forums for recipes, nutrition and fitness, and playgroups, said Trina Sooy, also of Newcastle.

“It’s a great way to meet other mothers who can share in the trials, tribulations and joys of motherhood,” she said. “Sometimes, motherhood can feel isolating, even with a spouse and children around.”

Some of the playgroup activities include trips to Woodland Park Zoo, the Museum of Flight, a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island and picnics.

A tradition of caring and sharing

Joanne Brundage, a Chicago-area letter carrier, founded Mothers & More in 1987. After the birth of a second child, Brundage left her job to stay home full time to raise her children. She soon felt the stress associated with the transition. After placing a notice in her local newspaper, she heard from several mothers who also felt they needed to connect with like-minded women. The first meeting was held at Brundage’s home.

The organization was originally known by its acronym, F.E.M.A.L.E.- Formerly Employed Mothers at Loose Ends. Its first chapter, in DuPage County, Ill., grew and received local and national press attention. When the group was mentioned in Ms., Parents and other national magazines, women across the country began inquiring about starting local chapters.

In May 1991, the name was changed to Formerly Employed Mothers At the Leading Edge, to better describe the members and reflect the organization’s commitment to educating and motivating business and government about the value of all mothers’ work to our society.

F.E.M.A.L.E. officially became Mothers & More in 2000. The organization has about 180 chapters and almost 8,000 members worldwide.

Moms just want to have fun

Sooy is passionate about Eastside Mothers & More and would like nothing better than to spread the word.

The group also features a Mom’s Night Out, Husbands Out of Town or Working Late meetings. The Mom’s Night Out is the first Thursday of the month.

Members have gone out to dinner at Buca Di Beppo in Seattle, bowling at Lincoln Center in Bellevue and taken a bike ride to Redhook Brewery, Sooy said.

“Eastside Mothers & More has been a huge support for me and my family,” she said. “It reinforces the old saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a family.’ These moms are my village, and for the $45 yearly membership fee, it’s more than paid for itself.”

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One Response to “Support group offers social network for busy moms”

  1. Linda Carlson on July 10th, 2008 12:23 pm

    I CANNOT overemphasize the value of such groups! Mine grew out of a baby care course offered by a King County nurse—and we’re still together 22 years later! We very quickly determined that it was more helpful to meet without children, and have done so on alternate Wednesday nights since October 1986. We have supported each other through all the usual children’s ailments and development challenges (from toilet training to driver training), our children’s school transitions, first romances and now job searches, as well as the death of parents. We sometimes suspect we’ll be together 30 or 40 years from now in assisted living!

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