By AILEEN CHARLESTON, The Mirror
For Suzanne Waller, being a stay-at-home mom means everything but staying at home.
Waller is the organizer of a local online social club called Federal Way Moms that focuses on providing mothers with a social tool — and prevents them from getting lost in the world of motherhood.
The group began a number of years ago through a Web site that specialized in creating rendezvous ideas for people at www.meetup.com.
“We started meeting once a month, but we have now bumped the meetings to five to nine events a week,” Waller said.
Federal Way Moms is a group that meets at different points throughout the city on a weekly basis.
The group is designed to serve as both a kids playtime and a mommy social network.
Many of the mothers who join the group have children under age 5 who require a full-time focus. As a result, the moms find themselves becoming deprived from any adult interaction.
In most cases, first-time moms are unable to frequent many of their usual friends as they used to.
“Our message is to let moms know that they don’t have to be stuck at home all day,” Waller said.
Waller said the group’s one and only rule is “agree to disagree.”
“Every mom has a different parenting style and most likely different religious or political points of view, but that has never been an issue,” Waller said.
The moms who join the group have an option of meeting in a variety of events organized every week. Events involve walks in the park, coffee meetings at Metropolitan Market, restaurant outings, house events, visits to museums and mom movie nights, among others.
Tracy Earp, who organized last Monday’s St. Patrick’s Day playdate at her house, had shamrocks for the kids to decorate as well as cookies and green punch.
Each of the moms added a snack item to the menu, and soon the kitchen was filled with goodies for the kids to enjoy — while the new moms got acquainted with the group.
“My husband said to me, ‘You have to get yourself some adult interaction before you go insane,’” Earp said, laughing.
“This group gives you the chance for your kids to play with other kids, as well as the chance to talk with other women, about everything and anything,” she said.
Another active member of the group, Valancy Blackwell, said that even her husband was able to make new friends.
“Most of our friends are in Seattle where we grew up, so this has allowed us to meet new people and also do things as families,” Blackwell said. “My husband also hangs out with friends from the group. They go out to bars and watch guy movies from time to time.”
Blackwell claims that she has met many moms who were very depressed after giving birth. The sole fact of knowing that they’re not alone has made an amazing difference in their lives, she said.
“I have made so many friends down here, and real friends that you actually meet outside of the normal schedule,” she said.
“The only requirements to join Federal Way Moms is to sign up online, write an introduction about yourself, and wait for someone to contact you for a meet and greet event to decide if you want to officially join,” Waller said.
“This is my full-time job and a rewarding social schedule is my pay,” Waller said.
Contact Aileen Charleston: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on FW Moms, go to http://moms.meetup.com/46/ or e-mail email@example.com