Mother’s Centers Make Motherhood Easier
It can be so easy to feel isolated as a mother, particularly if you work at home. Tending constantly to the needs of your children can leave little time for your needs, unless you make a point of making time for yourself. I myself am a strong advocate of mothers having hobbies, as I believe we are all better moms when we develop our own interests. It is also important, nay essential, to have a support system, as Meagan Francis, author of The Happiest Mom, would attest. Indeed, the success of Jill Savage's Hearts-at-Home conferences, Heather Fortune's Mom Network, and the mommy blogging community in general is a testament to the fact that many other moms recognize that need as well, and act on it. The National Association of Mothers' Centers is another such organization built on the strength of moms banding together to improve both their own lives and those of their families.
If there were any one woman to whom the NAMC could be attributed to, it would be Patsy Turrini, who, back in the 1970's, was a social worker in Nassau County, New York. She noticed that many of her clients were struggling to raise their children, lacking confidence in their role as mothers. They felt alone and didn't know where to turn for help. She formed a research study that involved 40 women who met regularly to discuss their motherhood issues and brainstorm solutions.
These meetings were so educational and therapeutic that even when the research project ended, they continued to meet. Eventually, the first Mothers' Center was formed under the auspices of the Family Service Association (FSA) of Nassau County. The founding volunteers began getting calls from women all over the United States, wanting to know how to start centers in their own communities. So, the FSA helped organize the Mothers' Center Development Project (MCDP), appointing a social worker named Lorri Slepian as one of its directors. After the MCDP was mentioned by her on The Phil Donahue Show and featured in Parents magazine in 1984, the project took off.
By 1991, the Mothers' Center Development Project had grown into the National Association of Mothers' Centers, whose mission is to serve as a national support network. They meet in Family Place Libraries, and their mission has expanded to include:
- An active, informative parenting blog called Mothers Central and a Woman In Washington blog
- Parenting webinars
- Work/life conferences where experts and corporate leaders discuss workplace flexibility and family-friendly policies. The NAMC became the host of the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility in 2009, to highlight best practices that benefit both employers and employees.
- Mothers Ought To Have Equal Rights (MOTHERS), an economic rights initiative to drive change at both grassroots and national levels about the economic impact and value of caregiving work.
No man is an island, and neither is a mother. There are so many resources out there to support your important efforts.
What are your favorite online and offline resources to give you support as a mother?
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr.