Being a stay-at-home mom to three daughters and three sons is “a blessing” and the most rewarding job a Seymour woman said she will ever have.
Susan Jablonski is proud of the hard work, love and dedication she puts into raising her kids, but even the best moms need advice and someone to lean on from time to time, she said.
That’s why Jablonski, 36, along with two other Seymour moms, Cortney Hillian and Montica Chambers, have formed Mom2Mom, a faith-based support group that allows women in all stages of motherhood to come together to share their experiences, learn from each other and focus on being the best moms they can be.
Story continues below gallery
“We exist to connect, challenge and care for moms in all seasons of motherhood in a God-honoring environment,” Jablonski said of the group’s purpose.
The group started in September and meets from 9 to 11 a.m. every other Friday at Calvary Baptist Church in Seymour. Professional childcare is provided for young children so mothers can listen and participate in discussions and activities uninterrupted.
During each session, there is at least one guest speaker to address topics and issues relevant to moms followed by discussion time to further develop relationships between mothers, Jablonski said.
Some of the topics the group addressed last fall were “Battling the Pressure to be Perfect,” “Connecting Your Child with God’s Natural World” and a question-and-answer panel with experienced moms.
“We also had a meeting with a social worker from White’s Family Services, where we were able to learn about foster care and provide gifts for children in foster care,” Jablonski said.
The next meeting is March 4 with Sarah Bohrer presenting “The 5 Love Languages of Children.”
Earlier this month, fitness instructor and mother Holly Cornn delivered a message about the importance of having a strong body to be a strong mom. She then led the group in a fitness lesson, demonstrating a few simple but effective exercises busy moms can do at home.
During the spring semester, which ends in May, Mom2Mom will look at topics ranging from fitness to finances to how to make the most of your time with your children.
In April, Mom2Mom members will learn more about the Pregnancy Care Center and have a baby shower to collect items needed for the center’s clients.
Although there are no regular fees to attend Mom2Mom, participants are asked to donate $20 if they can to help cover some of the expenses involved, including childcare, speaker fees, crafts, snacks, supplies and other administrative costs. The donation covers a semester of sessions. Scholarships are available for any mother who is unable to pay.
“We never want money to be a hindrance to anyone attending Mom2Mom,” Jablonski said.
To give moms a break from their busy lives and to provide more opportunities for socialization, the group also organizes a Moms Night Out once a month for moms to enjoy fellowship and fun away from the kids, Jablonski said.
“It is our desire to reach out and connect as many Seymour moms as possible, as the season of motherhood can often be lonely and make you feel isolated,” she said.
At first, Jablonski said, she didn’t know how many women would be interested in joining Mom2Mom but soon found out many young Christian mothers in the area desired such a support group. Although attendance varies, there are typically 20 to 30 women at the meetings.
Holly Coates is the mother of two young sons and said her close friend and babysitter is Mom2Mom founding member Hillian.
“She told me about it and what they were hoping to accomplish with the group,” Coates said. “It sounded like a great way to meet other moms in the same time-frame of life who are dealing with the stresses of small children.”
Those stresses can really take a toll, putting many demands on a mother.
“You want to make sure they are being brought up in a home where they feel safe, nurtured and know that they can talk to you about problems,” she said. “There are so many daily stresses with children. Are kids being mean to them? Are they being nice friends to others? Have they eaten enough fruits and veggies? Have they eaten too much sugar?”
But the rewards of watching her children grow up happy and healthy and able to make good decisions are worth it, she said.
“My oldest son, Grady, is six and in kindergarten,” she said. “It is so awesome to see him excel in the classroom but also to see him excel at being a nice friend to others, helping other children at school and being a good helper for the teacher. As a parent, it makes you feel like you must be doing something right, when most days you feel like you are trying to keep your head above water.”
Coates said another big draw for her is that the group and sessions are biblically based.
“We all need close friends and Jesus to make it through this life,” she said. “I have loved getting to know moms I may have never met and heard their stories if it were not for Mom2Mom.”
Justine Jameson of Seymour is the mother of one young son and said she got involved in Mom2Mom as a way to meet new people.
Being new to the area, she said the group has helped her on many different levels.
“From the relevant, engaging speakers, thought-provoking conversations and new friendships, to name a few,” she said. “I seem to recognize a new, unique benefit each time we meet.”
One of the presentations on postpartum depression and anxiety really struck a chord with Jameson and helped her see she isn’t alone in her feelings.
“I suffered from PPD and anxiety after I had my little boy, Nash, in July 2014 and still struggle with it today,” she said. “Knowing there are other moms out there who not only have gone through the same things but are brave enough to share them on a very public platform — solely to help others — truly inspired me.”
And that’s the environment Mom2Mom promotes, one of inclusion and acceptance.
“It’s so refreshing in a time when moms and women in general can be so competitive and judgmental toward one another,” Jameson said. “It’s someplace safe to share, listen and learn, and it’s been such a blessing for me and so many others.”
Another local resource available for mothers and their families is Schneck Medical Center’s Mothers Support Group.
It meets from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month in Classroom 3 at the Seymour hospital. There is no cost to attend, and light refreshments are served.
The group provides support to new mothers caring for a newborn, to mothers dealing with challenging behavior patterns in their children and to all mothers who are looking for ways to improve their parenting skills, no matter how old their children may be.
The Mothers Support Group offers an opportunity to mothers to find out more about community resources available and learn from others who are going through similar experiences.
The next session will be March 2 with the topic Poison Control and Infant and Toddler Safety in the Home.
Other meetings scheduled are April 6: Attachment Issues, Temperament, Physical Development, and Quality Child Care; May 4: Mother’s Day Celebration; June 1: Car Seat Safety and Car Seat Checks; July 6: National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention; Aug. 3: Breastfeeding Awareness and Information; Sept. 7: Food Safety; Oct. 5: Asthma and Home Care of a Child with Asthma; Nov. 2: Prematurity Awareness Month; and Dec. 7: Toy Safety for Every Age.
For information or to register for Schneck’s Mothers Support Group, call Latasha Adams at 812-524-3843 or Kristin Norman at 812-523-0633.
Upcoming meetings for Mom2Mom
All meetings are from 9 to 11 a.m. at Calvary Baptist Church in Seymour
March 4 — The 5 Love Languages of Children presented by Sarah Bohrer
April 1 — April Showers presented by Al and Pam White with Pregnancy Care Center with a special baby shower to collect items for clients of the center
April 15 — Creating with Kids presented by Kelly Smith
April 29 — TBA
May 13 — 7 Money Rules presented by Jennifer Hall
Moms Night Out
Friday — Dinner at Pho Shiki in Columbus with a farewell to group member Masako
March 26 — Crafty Creations Party
April 22 — Couponing Tips and Tricks with Tiffani Calhoun
For information: seymourmom2mom.wordpress.com, or call Susan Jablonski at 937-515-0298, Cortney Hillian at 501-288-1467 or Montica Chambers at 859-509-6130.