Having a child can be a wondrous experience. But it can also be a stressful, exhausting and, in a way, lonely experience for a woman who stays home raising a boy or girl while their spouse is off at work during the day.
Fortunately, there’s the Moms’ Club of American Canyon.
The Moms’ Club is exactly what its name indicates: a club for moms.
It is part social group, part support network for women with children looking for connection — both for themselves and for their kids — and for help with all things related to child rearing or being part of a family.
“The Moms’ Club is a group of stay-at-home moms and working moms who get together and support each other with whatever we need,” said Megan Mann, the club’s president.
“Once you have a kid, your life changes completely,” said Mann. “You don’t even know when you will have time to sleep, go to the bathroom, eat …”
While talking to Mann at Shenandoah Park two days before Easter, a perfect example of what a mom goes through was on display.
Her young daughter, Abi, really wanted a candy-filled Easter egg from an unopened, tightly sealed plastic bag. Mann grappled with the packaging, pulling and pulling unsuccessfully.
The interviewer offered to take a crack at the bag, so Mann could go back to finishing her thought.
The bag confounded him as well, refusing to open.
That is until Mann came up with a practical solution.
“How about your pen?” she said, nodding towards the pen he was using for the interview.
Sure enough, one quick stab of the pen and the bag was open. And Abi had her pre-Easter treat.
“What is it they say,” said Mann with a chuckle, “the pen is mightier than the sword?”
All joking aside, Mann’s simple ingenuity for solving a problem was something moms have to tackle every day.
For those brand new to the experience, the group offers a wealth of personal knowledge that can be accessed in person or online.
In addition to getting together for play dates for their kids or other events, the Moms’ Club has a private, members-only Facebook page that provides tips and advice.
Tracey Jones, who has been a member for about a year, cited a common problem facing a new mom: “My daughter has a cold, what should I do? What’s the best remedy for this, or anything?”
“It’s great to see what other moms are doing,” she added.
Like a lot of the mothers, Jones joined the club to make new friends for herself and her daughter, 21-month-old Josie, who was strapped into her stroller now that she has full use of her feet.
“She really likes to take off,” said Jones with a smile.
Being out at the park on a sunny Friday morning with some of the other moms for an egg hunt for the kids was just one example of how the club gives its members a chance to leave the house and socialize.
Kami Wanous, who served as club president last year, said she joined five years ago when her son, Kenyon, was only a year old in order to connect with other moms.
“Just to know I wasn’t alone,” said Wanous. “You want to know what you’re going through is not unique.”
The club affords the women the chance to share and socialize, and not always with kids. A subgroup called Run Moms Run provides those into jogging, and even tackling marathons, the chance to stay fit and have fun.
At least once every month, the club organizes a “mom’s night out” sans children. Sometimes it’s a simple potluck at someone’s house, sometimes they hit the local bowling alley to knock down some pins.
It’s a chance for them to be women and not moms for an evening.
But because they are mothers most all the time, many of the members appreciate one particular part of the club. Called “In a Pinch,” their version of meals-on-wheels provides hot food up to three times a week for a month or more to a mom in need of some help while taking care of a newborn as well as the rest of her family.
The food is prepared by the other members, who sign up to volunteer and help out.
Megan Dameron, a three-year member who went out on maternity leave from her job at Guide Dogs for the Blind, really appreciated the in-a-pinch assistance, “especially having twins and a toddler at home” to feed, along with a husband.
Mann says those who join the club, which has about 50 members, usually stick around for a long time.
“No one ever really leaves Moms’ Club,” she says.
“Some become less active as their kids grow older,” said Mann. “But those with older kids still enjoy the camaraderie” the club offers, which is why they still show up at events to hang with those just like themselves: moms.