MOMS offers a helping hand

Denise Hopkins of Bremerton can carry on an adult conversation under the most extreme of circumstances. While she discusses the details of being a stay-at-home mom, her oldest son, 2-year-old Danny, tugs at her leg to get her attention. Meanwhile, her 9-month-old son, DJ, experiments with climbing a nearby set of stairs.

Hopkins handles both scenarios with the greatest of ease while, at the same time, not missing a beat in the conversation.

She is the consummate stay-at-home mom: able to juggle the outside world and her family without batting an eye. Although she can handle anything her children throw at her, she also sometimes faces one of the most difficult challenges stay-at-home moms face: the lack of contact with the adult world.

She does have a trick up her sleeve that helps her stay sane: she is one of 25 members of the Bremerton/Silverdale MOMS club.

MOMS — an acronym for Moms Offering Moms Support— is an international, non-profit organization that lets stay-at-home moms network with and support one another.

The Bremerton/Silverdale MOMS club offers a myriad of services, such as organized play groups, ice cream socials, a co-op babysitting group and field trips for the whole family, said Jeanne Sterwerf, the membership vice president.

be very isolating,” Sterwerf said. “What the MOMS club does is give us support in the mornings, which is when we need the support the most.”

The MOMS club serves two purposes: in addition to getting moms out of the house to meet new people, it also gives children a chance to interact with one another, she said.

Last month, for example, the MOMS and children took a field trip to Point No Point, where they played on the beach all day and had a potluck lunch.

Sterwerf said her two children, Bella, 4 and Benjamen, 2, had a great time.

“We got to play on the beach instead of just throw rocks,” she said.

Sterwerf’s husband is a demobilized reservist, who is also an attorney. She said about half the moms in the club have husbands in the military. The frequent moves that come along with their husband’s jobs give the club more meaning because it gives the moms an instant support network when they move into a new community.

For a lot of women, the MOMS club is one of the first phone calls they make when they move.

That was the case for Hopkins, who was in the MOMS club in Jacksonville, Fla., before her family moved to Bremerton.

“It’s a great way to meet other moms and the kids have chance to socialize,” said Hopkins, who has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Jacksonville and a master’s degree in human relations from the University of Oklahoma. “It also helps to find out what there is to do in a commmunity when you move.”

The club is always looking for new members. Right now, the moms are trying to lay a solid foundation for the upcoming winter months, Stewerf said. In this region, wintertime presents a particular challenge for stay-at-home moms: the constant rain forces children indoors and there are a limited number of places moms and children can go when cabin fever sets in.

The MOMS club is hoping to get more members and to have active play groups this fall.

The current members are a diverse group with one major thing in common: each one has chosen to be a stay-at-home mom.

Tanai DeVito of Bremerton, for example, earned an English degree from California State University, San Diego, and has taught English as a second language. She made a conscious choice to become a stay-at-home mom for her two children, 6-year-old Nicholas and 2-year-old Piper.

“Stay-at-home moms don’t get the respect they deserve,” DeVito said. “A lot of us are college-educated and we have chosen to stay home.”

DeVito has been as stay-at-home mom since 1997, when she left her career as a paramedic in San Diego.

DeVito’s husband is in the Navy and she said the MOMS club has helped her through the tough times as a stay-at-home mom.

“This was the first phone call we made when we got here because we’ve had such a positive history with the club,” DeVito said. “It is a fantastic support system.”

The MOMS club will be hosting an ice cream social/membership drive from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 19 at the Silverdale Waterfront Park.

For more information on the MOMS club, call Sterwerf at 337-7748.

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