When moving back to Blue Springs, resident and mother Brittany Schwartz was struck by the lack of mom-centric groups in the area in which mothers could connect with each other and offer support for the stresses that only come with motherhood.
Seeing this apparent need in the community, Schwartz created the Mama Bears of Blue Springs.
“I get very easily drawn into survival mode,” Schwartz said about her own desire to connect with other mothers. “And so I really need that community of moms around me to be challenged and have time to talk to other adults – other moms who are struggling with the same things.”
The Mama Bears’ meetings focus on discussing various motherhood-related topics, and generally have an educational video. Discussions are led by volunteers who focus on making sure everyone feels comfortable, and the meetings always leave time to simply socialize with each other.
“We’ve got moms of all shapes and sizes,” said Schwartz. “We get to learn from each other and also find the similarities in each other.”
The group recently finished a video series focusing on the idea of “no more perfect moms,” discussing how each will have a different parenting style, and to avoid comparing themselves to other mothers.
According to Schwartz, the mothers in the group are made up of those who have adopted or are fostering children as well as biological mothers of children of all ages.
“I wanted something that was very inclusive because a lot of moms do feel very isolated,” she said. “It helps moms make social connections and build their support group.”
Before returning home to the Kansas City area from Joplin, Schwartz said the mothers group she had been a part of helped her deal with issues of anxiety she had been experiencing.
One of the issues Schwartz had with other nationally organized groups was the narrow focus many of them had, concentrating only on mothers of children in specific age groups. The Mama Bears of Blue Springs focuses on mothers with children of all ages, and has had as few as nine and as many 23 participants in one meeting.
The group meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month during the school year, but meetings over the summer are less organized, so Schwartz encourages interested mothers to join their Facebook group, Mama Bears of Blue Springs, to hear about their summer activities and meeting places. Activities such as playdates for kids, trips to the zoo or simple get-togethers in which mothers can chat with other adults are being looked at as potential summer plans.
Schwartz said she recently surveyed the mothers who attend the meeting, and is using the feedback to help further improve the organization.
A promotional event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 22 at the Pink Hill Park Shelter, with “fun and food included” for mothers interested in being a Mama Bear.
“As long as the group is quality and people are getting something out of it, that’s what’s important to me,” Schwartz said.