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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Notes from a crazy SA

The following entry is from Gina, the Co-Site Admin (SA) of SLOCountyMommies (SLOCM).

"I don't know how you do all you do"
I get that a lot. I suspect there's a bit of "Are you crazy? Why do you do all that?" in there. LOL. My answer has been "I don't know either." The real answer is, I probably don't do as much as you think. We do what we love to do and what we really have to do. We have priorities and sometimes things get done and sometimes they don't. I hope you don't think my house is spotless and all my laundry is clean and put away. I hope you don't think I pay attention to my kids 24/7, wake up at the crack of dawn with them and don't get to sleep until 1 or 2 am and still get stuff done. Nope, I have help. I'm only a CO-SA, which means Jeanne and I split the SA work. Good thing most of the time we're totally on the same page! I don't get up with my kids in the morning. My dear husband (DH) gets up with them and lets me sleep until he has to leave. That way, I'm able to get stuff done late at night when the house is quiet. I'm lucky in some ways, unlucky in others - my DH doesn't get home until between 8 and 10 every week night. My daughter is in pre-school 3 days a week - all day. I usually have a pile or piles of laundry that is clean, but not put away. I suck at house cleaning and I hate to do it. I sometimes flake on stuff because I forgot, got distracted, or whatever. Yeah, I'm not the most organized person and I do suffer from "Mommy Brain." I have a business partner to help me with my business. So, I do a lot, yes, but I have help and I do what I have a passion for.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a total flake. My kids get play time, get fed, clothed, and bathed. My house isn't a TOTAL pig sty (usually). I do have a home business that is pretty successful and, of course, I do spend lots and lots of time working on SLOCM. So, why do I spend so much time and effort on SLOCM? For the huge paycheck! Just kidding, we are all volunteers. No, it's because I like the feeling that I'm part of something that really helps people. What's the big deal, you ask? What does SLOCM do for people other than helping people make friends? Well, let me tell you what it has done for me, what SLOCM's have done for me...

* brought me dinners
* babysat my children
* saved me money
* lowered my utility bills
* helped me get stains out
* given me recipies
* given my DD a pet rat
* save my sanity
* taught me how to be "greener"
* had fun with me
* bought from me
* sold to me
* referred me to a plumber; housecleaner; barber; awsome pediatrician; gymnastics, dance, parent participation classes
* and parenting classes
* lent me items
* given me baby/kid clothes
* made me feel normal for certain things I do or think
* told me about great family events
* gotten me out of the house
* given me adult conversation
* prayed for me
* introduced me to many parks I would have never visited otherwise
* helped me to get free stuff
* taught me how to be more supportive to other moms
* made me laugh
* inspired me
* vacuumed my house when I was just out of the hospital
* showed me how to wear a baby wrap
* helped me organize
* helped my business
* taught me about couponing
* taught me about medical conditions in children before they even happened to us
* given me a place to gripe
* given me a place to use my adult brain
* introduced me to some truely wonderful women!
* ...and probably a lot more.


So I figure, if I've gotten so much out of SLOCM, and I help other moms with some of these things, then how much as a whole is the group doing to help people? That's what I like about putting effort into SLOCM. If we help moms, we help kids and whole families. If we're helping families, we're helping the community.

Yes, you can get the same things other places. There are large families, churches, social services, friends, but times have changed so much since the days when almost all women stayed home and had children.

Imagine living in a neighborhood where almost every house had a SAHM. You could send your kids out to play running around the streets and going over to each other's houses. No email to check, no voicemail, no cell phones, text messages, facebook, limited TV, nothing to suck your time. If you needed advice, you called your mom or sister or maybe they even live with you or near you. You went next door for coffee with the SAHM next door. Life was easier in some ways and harder in others but one thing is for sure - there was more connection to other mothers at one time.

So how do we get real, up to date advice these days? How do we get companionship and conversation with moms who know what it is like and have been there or are in the there now? Who do we ask about the challenges of being a stay at home mom, work at home mom, or work out of home mom? Where do we get friends to walk with, pushing strollers, visit the "best" parks, cry to? Most of us can't go next door because families are spread out more now and neighbors are disconnected and in different stages of life. Through SLOCM, I've found friends that don't live right next door (except one) but many of them live close and we can communicate 24/7 on SLOCM.

I can post about my child's rash when it happens Saturday morning on a holiday weekend when the pediatrician is closed. Not only will I get advice from a mom, I can get advice from several moms. None of us is an expert when it comes to ALL children, but all of us together can help solve all kinds of issues. My point is, it's a great resource for me and for so many other moms. I do it because I love to do it and I want to help make it the best group it can be. So, get out there and help another mommy in one way or another. Offer advice, be friendly to a new mom at a playgroup, make a phone call, bring a meal, join a committee! Doing just one thing to help other moms is worth it.

Gina is the Co-Site Admin for SLOCountyMommies.com in CA and runs www.YellBaby.com

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