For many women, leaving the working world to raise a child can be a lonely, isolating choice.
That was the common sentiment of the dozen or so mothers gathered at a MOMS Club of Kent breakfast April 7 at the Golden Steer Steak ‘n Rib House, 23826 104th Ave. S.E., Kent.
“Even though I lived here in Kent and knew people at my office, I didn’t really know anyone in our community,” said Donna Ellis, club president and mother of two young children, Stevie, 4, and Sophia, 1. “I had no adult interaction (when Stevie was born)…. As someone who’s so used to getting out, and going to work, it was hard.”
“All my friends worked, and I needed to get out of the house,” said Suzanne Green, a former veterinary technician, who joined the MOMS Club when her 2-year-old daughter, Kora, was just 2 months old.
Sitting across the table from Green was Angela, who asked that her last name not be used. Angela has been raising 1-year-old daughter Abby on her own for the past seven months, while her husband serves in the U.S. Air Force in Iraq. Angela works part-time, but she said she tries to come out for the MOMS Club events as often as she can.
“It gets you out of the house,” Angela said, adding that she liked the variety of different activities the club offers.
In April, those events included a fundraiser at The Bouncy Place for the International MOMS Club Mother to Mother Fund, a trip to the Metropolitan gym, a new members’ luncheon, a trip to the Pacific Science Center and an Earth Day clean-up, in addition to age-divided playgroups.
The MOMS Club of Kent is a member of the International MOMS Club, a 25-year-old organization with more than 2,000 chapters in the United States.
The Kent group has approximately 50 members who live within its coverage area, which stretches from State Route 167 on the west to State Route 18 in Covington on the east. Sister clubs exist locally in Des Moines (which also covers western Kent), Renton, Maple Valley and Federal Way.
While it is part of a national organization, the Kent group’s structure and focus is dictated locally, with a schedule that changes month-to-month to match members’ needs and desires, Ellis explained.
“What we put on the calendar is really what the members are looking for,” she said. “As the kids get older and as schedules change, we shift things around.”
One of the most rewarding aspects of joining the MOMS Club, Ellis said, was the connection it gave her to other local women.
The club “really helped put me in touch with other people who were going through the same thing…. Now I feel like I have such strong ties to this community because I know so many people,” Ellis said.
There’s also the fringe benefit of finding neighbors in the club who can swap babysitting duties, particularly when a doctor’s appointment or other weekday activity would leave a mom scrambling to find a sitter.
While the club caters mainly to mothers of the 4 and younger set, it is open to mothers with children of all ages. The club’s Empty Nesters lunches offer moms of school-age children an alternative to preschool playgroups. And monthly “Moms Night Out” events — one of the few times moms are discouraged from bringing children — gives all the women, regardless of children’s ages, a chance to have fun and relax together.
“We get out and it’s just the moms,” said Ellis of the monthly outings. She listed off some highlights of 2008, including rock-climbing at REI, and candle-making at Waxen Art in Kent Station. “We’re doing archery in May,” she said.
For more information about the MOMS Club of Kent, call 206-225-4018 or visit the club’s Web site at www.momsclubofkentwa.org.
Contact staff writer Christine Shultz at 253-872-6600, ext. 5056, or firstname.lastname@example.org.