Maybe the Spokane Chamber of Commerce should include information on MOMS Club of Spokane in its relocation packets. When Hollie Brown moved to Spokane from Naples, Fla., three years ago, one of the first things she did was look for a MOMS Club. MOMS (Moms Offering Moms Support) Club is an international, nonprofit, nonreligious support group for stay-at-home moms and moms who work out of their house.
Karen Loucks moved to Spokane from Florida last August. She had been involved in MOMS Clubs in Florida and South Carolina. “As soon as we moved here, I contacted the group,” said Loucks. “Without MOMS Club I think I’d be depressed. I’d probably shop. I’d feel much more isolated. It’s hard to meet people when you move to a new city. Most people just don’t walk up to people in the park and say, ‘Hey do you want to be my friend?’ ”
Brown, the mother of a 4-year-old and a toddler, is now president of the Spokane chapter, and Loucks, mother of a 3-year-old and 15-month-old, is the club’s secretary.
Tammy Botzon founded the Spokane chapter in 1998. Botzon was happy to spend time at home with her son but needed more interaction with adults.
“I knew it was going to be a culture shock when I left work where I’d been for years and years. I couldn’t imagine going from a life where you’re interacting with people daily to being alone with someone that doesn’t talk yet. I knew that I needed a way to meet with other moms. No one on our street had kids, or was home during the day,” said Botzon.
Botzon read about MOMS Club in a magazine and thought it would be great to have one in Spokane. So the Valley mom got information, circulated fliers, put a notice in the newspaper, and recruited about 15 members.
The club now has 45 moms from Spokane and the surrounding area, and is looking for more members. Annual dues are $20 and cover the costs of administration, newsletter production, mailings, space rental, supplies, etc.
The first MOMS Club was founded in 1983 by Mary James, a stay-at-home mom in California. Today there are 1,500 chapters with more than 75,000 members across the United States, and clubs in the Czech Republic, Italy, Canada, Ghana, Portugal and Nigeria.
“The reason it’s a support club is because women who are at home could be isolated. This gives you a way to see how other moms deal with the same issues you have with your children. We do a lot of fun things, but the intent is to support moms who stay at home and make them feel like they’re making the right choice,” said Loucks.
“And even though it’s a club for moms, it’s fun for the kids too. My daughter cries when we have to leave. She wants her friends to come home with her.”
Brown said that the Spokane chapter has activities almost every weekday. The club offers age-specific playgroups, craft days for kids, Crafty Chicks for moms, a book club, a walking group with kids in strollers, field trips, potluck lunches, and a baby-sitting co-op.
Children are included in every activity, except Moms Night Out, where the moms get together for dinner and a movie, spa night, game night or themed parties.
“We are very conscious of our decision to stay home with our kids. We realize that not everyone can, or wants to do this. We try to keep things affordable, sack lunches, things that don’t require money,” said Brown.
While there are a lot of fun activities, there’s also a serious side to MOMS Club. The group has guest speakers that address topics such as postpartum depression, health concerns and other family issues.
Members realize that there are times when moms need a little extra help. Helping Hands, a part of the MOMS Club, coordinates temporary aid for members, offering help with meals, household chores, emergency transportation, childcare or sometimes just someone to listen.
When a new baby arrives, women from the group provide dinners for the family for two weeks.
The women also participate in service projects for the community. They have food drives, collect coats for needy children, do volunteer work at Ogden Hall, and the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery. And because parks are so important to them, they recently signed up for the Adopt-a-Park program, to help maintain city parks.
“We want to teach our kids about helping others and being active in the community,” said Brown.
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