By Molly McCarthy, Contributing Writer
Region – Mothers fill many different roles within their families and society. Two local mothers have taken on one more position as leaders within the grassroots volunteer-driven group Mothers & More.
Mothers & More is a nonprofit organization with the mission of improving the lives of mothers through support, education and advocacy. The group addresses mothers” needs as individuals and members of society, and promotes the value of all the work mothers do.
Jennifer Johnson of Marlborough and Nadia Clifford of Northborough are both volunteer co-leaders of Assabet Valley Mothers & More local chapter 185. Mothers from Berlin, Boylston, Clinton, Northborough, Grafton, Hudson, Marlborough, Southborough, Shrewsbury, Stow, Westborough and Worcester are welcome to join.
Johnson moved to Marlborough two years ago from Houston, Texas.
“I had an 8-month-old so I had to find friends, find mommy friends, find things to do for me and my daughter,” Johnson said.
Johnson found Mothers & More, but didn's bring it up with her husband because of the yearly fee. To her surprise, he brought it up to her.
“I guess he knew I needed to find people to connect with since I knew nobody here, she said. “He actually was the one to kind of encourage me, which is kind of funny.”
Clifford moved to Northborough in 2006. She works full time and is the mother of three.
“It was work, kids, work, kids,” she said. “I needed some friends, and that's when I found Mothers & More.”
While looking for mothers” groups, Clifford noticed most groups focused on playgroups for the children. Having had three children, she was past that point.
“I realized Mothers & More was not just about playgroups and talking about potty training all the time. It was more about me,” Clifford said.
Within a year of joining the group, both women took on co-leader positions. A co-leader is a volunteer position with a 12-month commitment. The first six months of the position requires the member to serve as vice president and the next six months are served as president. Johnson's commitment as a co-leader ended in October but she chose to stay on as president.
In April of 2011 Johnson and the outgoing co-leader/president were recruiting for leadership positions. Clifford kept volunteering for tasks until Johnson asked her to become a co-leader.
“I kind of recruited her. I thought she would be a really good fit, and she is,” Johnson said.
Mothers & More holds activities for children and families such as playgroups, but the focus is more on the mothers themselves. Clifford believes mothers stay with the group for this reason.
“The group focuses on the mom as a person, not just necessarily as a mom, wife, employee – that's why it doesn's matter where you come from. It's just about making friends and having time for yourself and rediscovering your wants.”
Clifford's favorite activity is the monthly book club meeting. Johnson looks forward to the Mom's Night Out events.
“It's not typically something like a dinner. It's something you wouldn's usually do on your own,” Johnson said.
Recently the group has gone line-dancing, rock climbing, and made their own jewelry. Both women talked about the group as being a support system.
“It helps to see that other women have the same problems I do and we are all in similar situations,” said Clifford.
Johnson and Clifford talked about the group supporting each other by cooking meals for a member while a family member is sick.
“It [the group] keeps us sane,” Clifford said.
Mothers & More holds a monthly chapter meeting every third Tuesday of the month at the Northborough Senior Center. Non-members are encouraged to attend two free activities or meetings before joining as a member. There is a yearly membership fee of $45. For more information and a schedule of activities visit http://www.mothersandmoreassabetvalley.org.