‘What Mommies do Best’ offers support to GV moms

GVL / Emily Frye
Anthony Christian

GVL / Emily Frye Anthony Christian

Allison Ribick

All Grand Valley State University moms, whether they are faculty, staff, or students, will have a chance to ask for advice and spread support at the What Mommies Do Best event on Tuesday.

The event gives mothers on campus the chance to get together and talk about the rewards and challenges of parenting.

“We started under the premise that we wanted a safe space to be supportive of one another and share different tips and ideas,” said Krashawn McElveen, alumni relations office coordinator and one of the facilitators of the event. “(We wanted) to have a place where we can get away from work and are able to just come together as moms and be supportive of one another.”

Topics range from the stresses of going back to school, appropriate methods of discipline and how to do deal with family members during holidays that may not be as likable as one would hope.

For the most part, the discussions go in whatever direction the group wants. Mothers can provide comfort for one another, practical advice and even bring a friend for additional support.

“Sometimes being a parent you can feel pretty alone, especially if you have a unique situation going on,” said Susan Sloop, work life consultant in the Health and Wellness Program and another facilitator of the event. “If you get together and hear, ‘maybe they went through that?’ It changes your perspective.”

Any type of mother can attend – whether they are married, single, working or attending school.

“It’s a great way to meet with other women staff members,” McElveen said. “You’re able to have access to some people that you might not really see otherwise.”

Whatever stage the mother is at, whether they are new to the experience or have had decades of juggling everything that being a parent requires, it does not matter. The women who have more experience may offer advice to the mothers that are just beginning.

“We seem to have parents who have children of all ages. Everything from even before their first child is born through being a grandparent,” Sloop said.

The task of balancing motherhood, work, school and life in general is a recurring theme in the group. Other than the compassion and de-stressing methods that are discussed, the group takes an annual pampering day filled with massages and manicures.

The difference between stay at home mothers and working mothers is another point of discussion. The idea of the “Mommy Track” gets brought up as well.

“There’s been a lot in the news about the Mommy Track,” said JoAnn Wassenaar, associate director of the Women’s Center and another facilitator of the event. “It’s the women who have dropped out (of their careers) to take time off for family, but when they try to get back in, oftentimes their skills were not the newest and the best on the hiring front any longer. The question is, do women feel like if they took time off they would have a hard time getting back into their professional careers?”

Mothers can bond over sharing their struggles and offering their opinions and suggestions, as well as over food since there will be a lunch provided.

“Whether you’re experiencing challenges or not, the group can be very beneficial,” Sloop said. “It’s a really good way to network and get access to resources you normally wouldn’t know about.”

The event will occur in Zumberge Hall in Room 1012 from noon to 1 p.m.

What Mommies Do Best occurs every third Tuesday each month and is sponsored by the Women’s Center, the Women’s Commission and the Health and Wellness Program.

To register, contact Susan Sloop at [email protected]. For more information visit www.gvsu.edu/healthwellness.

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