I found my local MOMS Club chapter at a time in my life that I was desperate for friends. I had 18-month-old twins, my husband was switching jobs from working at home to an office, and I was finally coming out of the infant/baby haze. The universe knew I needed friends and put a post on the local Nextdoor website advertising an upcoming meeting for new moms to come and see what MOMS club was all about.
Prior to MOMS Club
I was a little hesitant to go, as my only other experience with a mom’s group consisted of a breastfeeding support group at the local hospital. I was not aware breastfeeding was a requirement to attend and just wanted to meet some other mothers struggling through the newborn stage like I was you can imagine the looks I received when I showed up with 2 four week old babies and started mixing formula bottles.
Aside from a few baby storytimes at the library, the opportunity to meet moms was null and void. We had moved to Omaha about a year before getting pregnant, my co-workers and family were at completely different stages of life, and I was just not able to meet friends. So when I got pregnant with twins, I was slightly overwhelmed but so gracious to have the opportunity to stay at home with my new babies. The first year is all about survival, so even if I had met other moms, I would not have been a very good friend as I struggled through that first year.
But then I found MOMS Club. It was a little overwhelming, bringing two 18-month-old toddlers anywhere, but I went. I got out of my baby-proofed comfort zone and went. I was instantly intrigued by the activities and playgroups and the fact that they held monthly Mom’s Night Out events. I signed up the next day.
My Experience with MOMS Club
I was a proud member of the Southwest Omaha MOMS Club for three years. I volunteered to be Treasurer last year and President most recently. I made closest friendships over distracted conversations at playgroups, and game nights that went way past my bedtime. I found my tribe, and for that, I am thankful.
When I joined the board two years ago, I was a little shocked by the restrictions we had to follow under our International charter. Technically we were not supposed to allow members who were working mothers. We were only allowed to have one evening event planned, and coffee was not recommended to be served at meetings as children could be burned, or mothers could get distracted. I rolled my eyes and was relieved that our club made exceptions to many of these antiquated and sexist by-laws.
Standing Up for What’s Right
But last week, something happened that I could no longer make an exception. I was alerted by a neighboring MOMS Club President that International was refusing to make a statement about discrimination. The MOMS Club of Rancho Santa Margarita had made a beautiful photo collage of its members holding signs that said, “We Stand with all Moms and Pledge that Racial Discrimination will stop with our Kids.”
International refused to share the photo because they thought it portrayed the organization as political, and they’d risk losing their nonprofit 501(C)(3) status. RSM reached out to their International coordinators asking for clarification and the opportunity to have a conversation and was immediately silenced and told that they would not talk on the matter further. This inaction was followed up by the entire board, and members of the MOMS Club of Rancho Santa Margarita quitting the club and kicked off a mass exodus from many more members nationwide. I was shocked that International took such a strong stance and refused to even listen to its members.
I did not see this collage as political.
Racism and discrimination is not a political issue, it’s a human rights issue, and the fact that they are using that as their justification for not standing up for what is right presented me with a significant decision. I have spent the last few weeks educating myself and my family on what it means to be anti-racist.
Change Starts at Home
I wholeheartedly believe that change starts at home, and if I want my children to grow up in an equal and just society that I needed to be the change I hoped to see. I immediately reached out to my fellow board members, shared what I had learned about International, and said that I would be resigning from my position as President, next year’s Treasurer, and will no longer be a member of this club. The board unanimously agreed that this was crossing the line and also resigned with me. Our next step was to present this issue to our over 50-predominately white-members.
After presenting the facts, our group decided to hold a vote-either disband from international, thus ending our 22-year-old club; or stay with International, hope for some change, and the remaining members would assemble a new board as we had all just quit. We had a unanimous decision to disband from International.
Creating a New Community Group
We are in the process of creating a new local moms’ community group without the old-fashioned, sexist, and discriminatory views held by International. This community group would be inclusive, positive, and uplifting to all mothers. I needed my MOMS Club, and I hope to continue that same support network for other mothers needing it as well.
If you are an Omaha Mom looking for a community that is inclusive and uplifting, check out the Omaha Mom Conversation + Community Group!