Mom Tribes: Why you NEED them & where you can find your Toledo Mom Tribe

It was a stifling July afternoon. My 3 year old and 2 year old were bickering over the same toy for the third time in an hour. I was suffering from a mild depression due to a false positive pregnancy test. And to add insult to injury, my husband and I had just had a colossal fight. The tears just started rolling down my cheeks; I just wanted to melt into the floorboards. I felt so isolated; motherhood began to feel less like a blessing and more like a punishment. Sure, I had friends, friends that either weren’t married yet and/or didn’t have children.  And once I had children those friends seemed to avoid me like the plague, or, at least that was the way my exhausted mommy brain had interpreted it at the time. In reality our lives were just so different, when they were going out in the evening I was going to bed. On occasion they would try to send me some positive vibes like, “hang in there, it’ll get better” type comments. But let’s be honest receiving comment like that from friends who couldn’t relate to any of my daily woes as a mom was as useful as getting auto mechanic advice from my dentist. And then IT happened I received an email, an email that would end up changing my life.

A couple months prior to my meltdown in the living room, I had joined a small Playgroup of 9 moms on Meetup.com. I had joined it in the midst of my hurricane of pity that I dubbed motherhood. They had a couple of playdate meetup that I wasn’t able to attend and apparently no one else was either because the organizer was done. The email stated that the Playgroup-in-Toledo was available for anyone who wished to take it over for a small fee of $15 a month. I must have been in the eye of that motherhood storm at the time, not quite thinking clearly because I did something so outside this introverts comfort zone to this day it still shocks the heck out of me, I took the leap…I jumped!  I took over as the organizer for the Playgroup-in-Toledo.  And what started off as 9 moms grew to over 200. It turned out that I wasn’t alone in this hurricane of pity; in fact with each meetup we had I could literally feel the dark clouds dissipating. The sun finally shined down, motherhood became a blessing again, even on my crappiest of motherhood days. I am so thankful something told me to jump, to take that leap that hot July afternoon because I ended up landing on a huge net, my net-work of other moms, I finally found my tribe.

Do you have a motherhood tribe?

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Why you need your Tribe:

  1. Companionship– “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” C. S. Lewis. It is comforting to have other women to commiserate with, who understand, can relate, and even offer suggestions on how to survive a colic infant, sore nipples, potty training, tantrums, night terrors, Kindergarten, tweens, teenagers, etc.
  2. Many Hands make Light Work– Whether you are meeting up with other moms for a playdate at someone’s home, out and about on the town, or are taking turns providing childcare during a meeting, having extra sets of eyes and hands makes life much easier and more enjoyable.
  3. Access to a vault of knowledge– I must say women now a days are amazing, they are more than “just moms”, they are entrepreneurs, book writers, professors, homeschoolers, scientists, trainers, coaches, chefs, etc. And having that brilliant network of ladies on speed dial is advantageous….whether you just burnt dinner or are struggling to help your 8th grader with their science homework, these ladies put Siri to shame.
  4. They Raise you Up and Talk you Down-You know you have officially found your tribe when they raise you up, support your efforts, and encourage you to strive towards your goals, no matter how big or small. Likewise, when you are down on yourself and ready to jump off that preverbal cliff they are there to talk you down from your despair one step at a time.
  5. Life was meant to be Lived-Lucy(s) need their Ethel(s), Thelma(s), their Louise(s), and Laverne(s), their Shirley(s) to do crazy fun things with….a moms’ night out, movie, dance class, paint pottery, etc. Everyone needs those people in their lives who will say yes to experiences, who will join you on this magnificent adventure.

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Where can you find your tribe?

Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS)

Location: Washington Church, 3925 W Central Ave. Toledo, OH 43606-2766

Phone: (419) 536-3789

Meetings: Sept.-May, 1st & 3rd Friday of the Month at 9:30am to11:30am

Website: http://washingtonchurch.org/ministries/mops

A MOPS meeting includes practical teaching through speakers, demonstrations and videos. Plus, there’s usually food! But more important, you’ll get to have honest conversations with other moms who understand the joys and frustrations of motherhood. We’ve all been placed in this time and place in history, as the tribe of women who are raising the world. We know we mother better together, so all moms are welcome at MOPS. From the time you get pregnant to when your kiddo is in Kindergarten, our doors are open.

Bloom (for Mothers and Grandmothers)

Location: Little Flower Catholic Church

Meetings: September to May, 2nd Thursday from 9:00am – 11:15am

Email: annpfrancis@yahoo.com

Website: http://alturl.com/st6oe

Bloom is a program for Catholic mothers in all stages of mothering/grandmothering, which will meet on the second Thursday of each month from September to May, from 9:00am – 11:15am in the St. Francis Room. Please contact Ann Francis at annpfrancis@yahoo.com or register online at http://alturl.com/st6oe

Mothers’ Center of Greater Toledo

Location: West Toledo YMCA

Meetings: Held once a week on Thursday mornings, beginning at 9:45 am and concluding at 11:15 am

Website: http://www.motherscenter.net/

They are a non-profit established in 1984 that meets regularly to share common experiences, make new friends and enjoy the company of peers while the children are supervised by experienced childcare workers. In addition to weekly meetings, they offer playdates, an Executive Mommas group for working mothers and many family activities.  If you’re looking for fun, friendships, social activities, parenting ideas, community involvement opportunities, or just a reason to get out of the house with your little ones, they might be just what you’ve been searching for.

FiA (Females in Action) Toledo Exercise Group

Location: Varies (see website)

Website: http://fianation.com/ohio-schedule/toledo-schedule/

Meetings: Vary see website

Before the demands of the day pull us in different directions, FiA’s start their day with a 45 minute workout. During this time, we experience a physical and personal growth that radiates through the rest of our day – enabling us to be better daughters, sisters, employees, spouses, friends, bosses and mothers.

-FiA’s develop incredible female friendships

-At FiA, they are focused on supporting and encouraging one another to push beyond our comfort zones.

-Supporting you, challenging you, and cheering you on – those 45 minutes are a great investment in you so that when you’re tackling all the rest of your roles – your heart, mind and body are ready.

-This environment brings out the good in each of us and helps us connect/relate based on our common interest to get fit and be healthy. And then we build on this commonality by providing opportunities for women to get to know each other through our book clubs, Bible studies, and socials.

MOMs (Mommies Of Munchkins)

Location: Napoleon Church of the Nazarene 630 Appian Ave. Napoleon OH 43545

Meetings: First Friday of each month 9-11am

Website: https://www.facebook.com/groups/181214645841239/about/ 

Meets in Napoleon the first Friday of every month from 9-11a!! Group of welcoming mommas talking all things mom while sipping coffee/tea and snacking! Free childcare provided!

MOMsNext (A Sister group to MOPs)

Location: Washington Church, 3925 W Central Ave. Toledo, OH 43606-2766

Phone: (419) 536-3789

Meetings: Sept – May: Mtg 1st & 3rd Friday of the Month at 9:30am – 11:30am

Website: http://washingtonchurch.org/ministries/mops

If you are a mom with school aged children and are free in the morning, then come check out MomsNext! Come meet some amazing women, who are on the same journey of motherhood as you are.

Toledo Area Playgroup

Location: Online, https://www.facebook.com/groups/147320928783529/

Meetings: vary

Local mom’s with kids who want to get together with other mom’s who have kids.

Mom2Mom

Location: Christ the Word 3100 Murd Rd, Sylvania, OH 43560

Phone: (419) 829-2005

Website: https://www.facebook.com/Mom2momtoledo/posts

Meetings: Sept-May First Wednesday of the month 9:15AM-11AM

Mom2mom is a Toledo area mom’s group designed to grow friendships and strengthen families. We meet the first Wednesday of the month from September through May. Our theme this year is “Deep Roots ~ Strong Moms”. Free childcare is provided. Registration is open!

 

 

I know it can be a little scary at first but remember, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. Neale Donald Walsch

Know of additional Mom Tribes in Toledo? Please comment & share.

Rolling Hills Water Park

It was late July and I had just posted a meet up with our playgroup, our destination, Rolling Hills Water Park in Ypsilanti, MI. As a mom I was slightly terrified, how was I going to watch all three kiddos go in three different directions at a water park? Turns out one of the best thing I ever did was to make the event a playdate meet up! Many eyes and hands make for light work when it comes to watching children. Playgroup moms are like an extension of oneself. We each divided and conquered the water park that day. Two moms took a group of kiddos to the lazy river, another two took kids to the water slides, two stayed by the splash area with toddlers, and it was such a relaxing, enjoyable, and fun day for all of us, moms and kiddos. Seven years later and we are still continuing the tradition!

rollinghills6Our oldest kiddos are now off to middle school and they have graduated to the buddy system at the water park. Meanwhile us moms can relax and enjoy the company of the younger kiddos and one another as we float down the lazy river, jump the waves in the wave pool, and watch the kiddos on the splash playground. Rolling Hills Water Park continues to be our favorite waterpark, it isn’t too big, but not too small, it has enough activities to occupy all the kiddos, patches of grass to lay out a towel to relax (or have a time-out), it is the perfect distance from Toledo, far enough that you feel like you’re going somewhere special, but not so far that it feels like a chore.

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rollinghillsDETAILS

Address: 7660 Stony Creek Rd, Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Phone: (734) 484-9676

Website: http://www.ewashtenaw.org/government/departments/parks_recreation/rollinghills/waterpark/rhwaterpark.html

Hours: Weekdays 11am-7pm & Weekends 11am-8pm

Admission: COUNTY RESIDENT-Weekday (after 5pm) $8.00 ($6.00) & Children Over 36″-42″ Tall (after 5pm) $6.00 ($4.00)    Weekends- $10 & Children Over 36″-42″ Tall $8.00 NON-COUNTY RESIDENT Weekday (after 5pm) $10.00 ($7.00) & Children Over 36″-42″ Tall $8.00 ($5.00)  Weekends-$13.00 Children Over 36″-42″ Tall $11 and Children 36″ Tall or Under are Free

***It is always advised to call before visiting in order to confirm hours of operation for the day, and be sure to check that forecast, there is nothing worse than packing up the bags, kiddos, and getting there only to have the park be closed due to weather.***

 

rollinghills4So moms put any body issues you may have aside and make some amazing memories with your children. I am so glad our children will have memories to treasure when they get older of their mothers playing in the water with them, going down the lazy river, enjoying their time together as opposed to meagerly sitting on the side covered, fearful of what others may think, allowing others potential judgments to hijack an amazing day and treasured time together. I want to give a cheer to all the moms out there who sport the suits no matter what body type, or what season of motherhood they might be in, and enjoy their time with their children.

 

Ten Places to Take Your Toddler in Toledo

 

toddler2There should be a national hug a mom of a toddler day! Seriously, the toddler years are some of the most trying times. It’s a potpourri of independent streaks, tantrums, crying, whining, exhaustion, frustration, etc. I have come to the conclusion that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was inspired by a toddler. They are happy and giving mommy kisses one second and then suddenly laying on a dirty public restroom floor kicking there feet and screaming the next, all because they wanted to pull the paper towel out of the dispenser themselves. How dare you mom, now you must suffer with severe embarrassment as strangers walk in and give you “the look”.  And you can forget about ever being on time because toddlers will find a way to sabotage that whole punctuality thing you had going on before you had kids. They will want to put their coats on themselves and it will be the most agonizing 15 minutes of your life. They will put it on upside down, inside out, miss snaps, snap their fingers accidentally, put their hood on, take their hood off, and then, just when they almost have it, will declare that they aren’t wearing a coat. Then they will focus there attention on the invisible bumps in their socks!  Raising a toddler is a lot like trying to raise that obnoxious, drunk, roommate from college. They both can do everything themselves, they are more than happy to cause a scene in public, they both need sippy lids, they refuse to eat the food you give them, they will yell and scream and fight you when you say it’s bedtime, ten minutes later you find them passed out under a piece of furniture, and neither seems to be able to make it to the bathroom in time. Raising a toddler isn’t for the faint of heart that’s for sure. And while it can be embarrassing to take the equivalent of your drunken roommate out in public it is the best thing you can do for yourself and your toddler, promise!

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Getting out of the house, for even just an hour or two is the best way to maintain your sanity! Besides, what are you going to do at home? Pick up the same Mega Bloks 18 times while trying to multitask cleaning up spills, doing dishes, and laundry, all to have your husband come home and ask you what you did all day? Call up some friends and get out! Don’t have any mom friends yet? Make them….they will not come knocking on your door, you need to take the initiative, seek out playgroups online, on Facebook, shoot, start your own playgroup on Facebook. You need adult conversation, you need someone to say “I can totally relate”, playgroups are just as much for the moms as they are the toddlers. When you start that playgroup you are going to need to post events. Here is a list of fun, toddler friendly destinations in Toledo to get you started!

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Ten Places to Take Your Toddler in Toledo:

Sunrise Gymnastics OPEN Gym

 

Address: 3640 N Holland Sylvania Rd, Toledo, OH 43615

Phone: (419) 841-2902

Website: http://www.sunrisegymnastics.com/

When: Saturdays 12pm- 1pm (No registration necessary)

Cost: $10 for the hour

Children ages 1yr-Kindergarten can enjoy an hour of jumping on the trampoline, swinging from the rings, trying the balance beam, etc. inside Sunrise’s back gym. Parent participation is required.

 

Toledo Lucas County Public Library Story Time & Playdates (FREE)

 

 

Address: Main Branch-325 N Michigan St, Toledo, OH 43604

Phone: (419) 259-5200

Website: http://www.toledolibrary.org/events

When: Varies

Cost: FREE

Each of the library branches offers magnificent events, activities, story times, etc. for toddlers. Click on the link above to be directed to the Toledo Lucas County Public Libraries list of events…you can narrow your search by typing in your branch, event, etc. or do a broad search and venture beyond your local branch. I will tell you the Main Library has an awesome Children’s Area! There is a car children can sit in, aquarium where they could literally stand for days, Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat character, and more….and there is a café if you were looking to lunch.

Toddler Time at Sky Zone

Address: 1600 Albon Rd, Holland, OH 43528

Phone: (419) 491-1194

Website: https://www.skyzone.com/toledo/

When:Fridays 10am-12pm & Saturdays 9am-10am

Cost: $10.99 hr Plus One Adult FREE

Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. A time for your little ones to discover the joy of being active, bouncing under the supervision of their parents, and without interference from the big kids!

Imagination Station

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Address: 1 Discovery Way, Toledo, OH 43604

Phone: (419) 244-2674

Website: http://imaginationstationtoledo.org/

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm, Sunday: Noon – 5pm, Monday: CLOSED*

Cost: Get a Membership! Totally worth it (all five of us got in for FREE at COSI in Columbus thanks to this membership…and it would have cost us more than the membership for admission to COSI for one day. You can also receive 50% off at Michigan Science Center) Adults: $13 Kids: 3-12 $11 Kids 0-2: FREE

Little KIDSPACE is seriously THE BEST place to take a Toddler in Toledo!! I used to just go there for two hours and then go home, it is ah-mazing! It is an enclosed, gated space, so you don’t have to worry about constantly chasing after your toddler and it gives them their much needed freedom/independence. I also like the fact that there is hand sanitizers on the way in and out. And there is so much to touch, see, do, etc. that they won’t get bored.

Little KIDSPACE is specifically designed to help kids kindergarten age and younger learn and explore. Children learn through play. They have an innate interest in the world around them, and the skills and knowledge that children acquire as they play help them to make sense of the world. Young children are active learners who engage in science every day as they observe, wonder, experiment and talk about their findings. Our littlest adventurers can hop aboard a fire truck, shop in the grocery store or climb their favorite tree house while learning about forces, motion, math and life science.

Family Center Toledo Museum of Art (FREE)

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Address: 2445 Monroe St, Toledo, OH 43620

Phone: (419) 255-8000

Website: http://www.toledomuseum.org/

Hours: Tues & Thurs 10am-3pm, Friday 3:30pm-8pm, & Saturday and Sunday noon-5pm

Free, fun, and open to everyone! The TMA Family Center, located in the education wing near the Plough entrance, is the perfect place for our youngest Museum visitors to make and take memories with their parents and caregivers. Drop in for themed activities that enliven the world of art for kids ages 1-10 (and even grown-ups!). Check the calendar on this page for upcoming projects. Calendars can be customized and printed by clicking on the Google Calendar icon at the bottom of the calendar listing.

 

Chick-fil-a Breakfast (6:30-10:30am)

Address: 4260 W Sylvania Ave, Toledo, OH 43623

Phone: (419) 474-2000

Website: https://www.chick-fil-a.com/Locations/OH/Sylvania–Talmadge

Hours: Monday – Saturday 6:30 AM-10:00 PM, Sunday Closed

Meetup with other mommas and toddler from breakfast! (Around 9:30/10am) I know it sounds crazy but breakfast is the cleanest and least busy time of the day. Toddlers can play in the play area without having to worry about being trampled by bigger kiddos and moms can enjoy coffee/sandwich at the nearby booths. Then, this is the best part…you go home and guess who is so tired out from their morning activity? Both of you! Lol! Yep, nap time!!

 

Barnes and Noble Fallen Timbers Storytime & Craft (FREE)

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Address: The Shops at Fallen Timbers, 3100 Main St #1400, Maumee, OH 43537

Phone: (419) 878-0652

Website: https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/store/2298

When: Thursdays @ 10am and Saturdays @ 11am

I so looked forward to Thursday mornings, I would keep the baby in the stroller, grab a coffee from the Starbucks in the store then stroll over to the story time in the children’s area. This is probably one of the best story times in the area…kiddos listen to a story, move, do a craft, and most importantly everyone is understanding of the fact that littles don’t always sit still! Story time was probably when my love affair with Barnes & Noble started…I crave those bargain books, lol! So be sure to pack some extra willpower when you go! 😉

Wildwood Preserve Toddler Trails

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Address: 5100 W Central Ave, Toledo, OH 43615

Phone: (419) 407-9700

Website: https://metroparkstoledo.com/explore-your-parks/wildwood/

When: Varies- Click on the website for upcoming Toddler Trail events (usually 10am-11am)

Cost: Varies but usually $2-$5 Registration is required

This outdoor, multi-sensory nature play and exploration introduces your toddlers up to three years of age to the natural world and promotes preservation. Parents accompany and assist in their child’s experience at the program. Register toddlers only. (They always have fun themes and hand-on activities)

Toledo Zoo & Aquarium (Nature’s Neighborhood)

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Address: 2700 Broadway St, Toledo, OH 43609

Phone: (419) 385-5721

Website: https://www.toledozoo.org/

Hours: 10am-5 every day (Sun.-Sat.)

Cost: Adults $21, Children (2-11) $18, Under 2 Years FREE

I always let the kiddos pick one animal to see and then we lived in Nature’s Neighborhood for the rest of the time. Thanks to the membership I never felt obligated to see EVERYTHING, we could always go back later in the week. My personal favorite part about the zoo in the winter time is the fact that no one is there, it is the best! I am not a huge fan of the zoo in the summer, it is WAY too crowded. So soak up the secluded retreat while it last. Go see an animal then park the stroller at Natures Neighborhood. (We would even pack lunch and eat it there in the kitchen area). For more info click link, https://www.toledozoo.org/natures-neighborhood/

Learning Express Events/Crafts

Address: 5577 Monroe St, Sylvania, OH 43560

Phone: (419) 885-3959

Website: https://www.facebook.com/LearningExpressSylvania/

When: Varies

Learning Express offers fun simple, seasonal crafts for toddlers. Dates & days vary; they currently don’t have anything posted but be certain to check back in February for a fun winter/ Valentine craft for littles.

 

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Added Tips for living with Toddlers:

Always pack bubbles-quickest way to get your toddler attention is to blow bubbles, truth!

Leave the house early, around 9:30am so that you can get to places right when they are open, that is when they are the cleanest and since toddlers love touching everything, and sometimes licking things, this is the best time to avoided maximum germ exposure/ germ lollypops.

Always have a change of clothes for yourself in the car…because puke, spills, and bloody noses happen!

Never run out of wine! 😉

Enjoy it! Take LOTS of pics, it goes by WAY too fast!

Do you have a favorite local spot to take your Toddler? Please share. Lets make this a great resource for all toddler parents to reference.