PO BOX 294 Cranford NJ 07016 motherscentercnj@gmail.com (908) 514-8693

2018 Fall Welcome

Welcome to the Mother’s Center of Central NJ (MCCNJ)! Whether you are new to the area, new to mom-hood or just looking to make new friends, we welcome you with open arms. This time last year, I was new to the area and joining MCCNJ was one of the best decisions I made. There are always fun activities for families going on between music class, creative expressions, holiday parties, cooking with the kids and last minute meetups, just to name a few.  And let’s not forget mom’s nights out, the cookie exchange party, brunches and year-end dinner.  There is always something going on.  We look forward to meeting everyone and making new friends, kids and moms alike.

– Vanessa

Mothers’ Center Sponsors a Free Little Library

Little Free Libraries are being installed all over the country. The book exchanges have grown to 36,000 around the world in 70 countries. In Union County, little libraries have been popping up on front lawns! Now, a new Little Free Library at Union County’s Unami Park will join the movement to share books, bring families together, and create communities of readers.

The Mothers’ Center of Central New Jersey (MCCNJ) is proud to sponsor a Free Little Library in partnership with the Union County Freeholder Board. To celebrate the launch, we will host a party at Unami Park on Sunday July 29th from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The event is open to the public and will include light refreshments, family story time, and a book swap.

“We always look at new ways to expand resources being provided in our parks system–from the free WiFi we have introduced to new recreational activities, and this is another new service, which expands educational offerings to residents—both young and old–attending our parks,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados.

“One of our missions at the Mothers’ Center is to pursue opportunities to make the local community a better place for moms and their children and partners. By installing a Little Free Library in our local park, it is our hope this this Little Free Library will bring the surrounding communities together through literacy.”

And in a blink of an eye, another year’s gone by…

With the help of volunteer time and effort and led by our Co-Chairs Amanda P. and Trish J., the Center had a successful 2017-2018 year. Last fall, we set three main priorities for this year: increasing membership, digitizing payments and registration, and community outreach. As we reflect on our work this year, we are thrilled to announce that we exceeded our goals on all fronts! Through efforts of our Steering Committee and many other members, membership nearly doubled over the last ten months to about 100 members, and an online registration and payment option were added to our website. We launched multiple community outreach programs.  

During our annual year-end dinner this year at Bistro 1051, we reflected on our wonderful accomplishments and celebrated all the friendships we have made and maintained throughout the year. We also presented the Mothers’ Center Essence Award to a member who embodies the spirit of the Center, cares passionately about the Center and her enthusiasm is reflected in her work and commitment to the organization. This year four members were nominated: Amanda P. for her leadership as a Co-Chair, Brittani J. for her commitment to the spirit of the Center, HaVi J. for her thoughtful work with our Mom and Baby group and her leadership with our 5K fundraiser, and Melissa B. for her role as the 5K Marketing Lead promoting our race so expertly that we garnered a record number of registrations (over 200!).

With the new Co-Chairs Allison M. and Brittani J. at the helm, we are confident that next year is going to be even better! Our main goals for the upcoming year include increasing the diversity of our membership by expanding into surrounding communities, increasing the awareness of the Center within our local towns, continuing to offer worthwhile groups and events for members, and exploring ways to make new members feel a sense of belonging in the group by establishing a buddy system that pairs older and newer members together.  

So, if you are a mom or mom-to-be looking to connect with other moms, join us!

2018 Summer Registration OPEN

Summer is finally here! The weather played tricks with us for a while but the sun is out, the days are longer, flowers are blooming and summer activities are posted! Our summer session is special because we get to see our members, their spouses (yes the husbands!) and friends at our outings. In case you forgot, there is no membership fee for the summer so come check us out!

Our signature groups continue to run through the summer (Mom and Baby, playgroup, playground meetup, walking group, Creative Expressions, and Discussion group) and many exciting outings for the family as well as moms. Checkout our latest newsletter and register online here.

We hope to see you this summer!

A Fun Morning Outdoors at the Miles with Moms Fundraiser

Over the weekend, we welcomed everyone from devoted runners to happy babies in strollers at our 7th annual NJ Miles with Moms fundraiser at Nomahegan Park in Cranford. It was so much fun to cheer on familiar faces and new ones as they made their way towards the finish line in the 5K and 1-mile races. And our “kids fun run” that featured children racing their hearts out to the cheers of proud parents was just as exciting as the race itself.

We would like to thank all participants, sponsors, volunteers, EMS, the Cranford Police Department, Union County College, the Union County Police Department, and our planning committee members for making this event a success. It was a wonderful morning filled with happy cheers, activities by Tinkergarten, Creative Kids, Exercise Outside the Box, face painting, and giveaways. Enjoy the below collection of photos from our fundraiser. See you next year!

A new season, a new look!

We are so excited to reveal our new Mothers’ Center of Central NJ logo! Designed in partnership with Gregory Flores, a very talented local graphic designer, our logo truly represents who we are – an organization that provides support to all moms and their children through programs that promote peer-to-peer interactions, socialization and support. The result is three moms – one expecting, the other holding an infant and the third holding a toddler – joined together in the journey of motherhood. In addition to all that our logo represents, it also reflects another change in the Mothers’ Center of Central NJ. After our parent organization, Mom-mentum, suspended operations last year, we spent a large part of 2017 organizing ourselves as an independent non-profit. In the upcoming weeks we will be updating our website and promotional materials. Stay tuned for updated bumper stickers!

Drawing from the Collective Wisdom of Women

Recently, I had the great pleasure of facilitating the Mom and Baby Group. If you
haven’t attended one of these meetings, it’s a great way for new moms (and
babies) to share the joys and challenges of motherhood in a welcoming, nonjudgmental
environment. Some of the amazing women in the group are trying to
find their identities as first-time moms; others, like me, are trying to figure out
how to balance the needs of a toddler with those of a newborn. The strategies
and tips that are generously offered truly make a difference in helping each of us
deal with the daily hurdles of managing a growing family.

The kind of honest, authentic conversation that makes these Group meetings so
worthwhile serves another equally important purpose: It helps to ease the
feelings of isolation that often come with motherhood, especially when FOMO is
looming large. Whether it’s the fear that working moms share of missing out on
everyday moments with their children or the worry that stay-at-home moms
harbor that, with every passing month focused on their children, they’re
somehow losing their relevance in the workplace.

As I transition back to work, my fear of missing out on my children’s lives is
strong. Despite having done this “dance” before, after the birth of my first child,
already I find myself anxious and filled with questions about my readiness to
return.

In talking to other working moms who just returned or about to return to work, I
find that my worries are not unique. The ability to talk through concerns about
finding an affordable and reliable childcare is critical. So is finding tricks to
streamline the process of getting our babies to feed from a bottle and making
sure we have sufficient milk. Learning how others got their little ones on a good
sleep schedule is the holy grail of feeling like you’ve got life under control –
although, I’ve learned it’s a task that is a lot easier said than done. Last, but not
least, figuring out how to get out of the house in time for school drop off … the
train … the meeting … whatever, and then turning around at the end of the day
and dealing with evening rush can be complex and chaotic.

Still, I’ve learned that drawing from the collective wisdom of women who are
experiencing the same challenges is affirming and energizing. That’s why I
believe that by creating an opportunity to continuously engage ALL moms – both
those pursuing a career and those who choose to stay at home – we can help
each other regain our optimism that we’re making the right choices for our
children and ourselves.

With my anxieties validated, I am ready to start work. I know that along the way, I
can always count on the Mothers’ Center moms to guide me the right direction.
And I hope I can pay it forward and help another mom. Let’s keep talking!

— HaVi J, MCCNJ Member

The Spirit of the Mothers’ Center of Central NJ

One of the wonderful offerings of the Mothers’ Center is the meal train for new moms or moms going through a difficult time. I have always participated in the meal trains as a way to support other mothers of the Center. Just recently, as my husband and I welcomed the birth of our daughter, we were the grateful recipients of those meals.

I am immensely grateful for all the moms who brought us dinner. And I am equally grateful for the adult conversation, flowers, words of encouragement, wisdom and sympathetic ears that came with those delicious meals. The Mothers’ Center brings together moms from different towns and backgrounds who care about each other, especially as we go through one of life’s most difficult – and joyous – transitions. The simple texts and emails I received while awaiting my daughter’s arrival – hi, how are you, do you want me to watch your firstborn, do you want me to get you anything from the store, hang in there – meant the world to me. After our daughter’s arrival,the emails and texts continued and it made the isolation that comes with the first couple of weeks of a newborn so much easier to bear.

The past three years have brought many changes in my life, first as my husband and I welcomed our son and, now most recently, our daughter. I went from being a career-focused young professional to a new mom trying to find a balance between my career and motherhood. There is no handbook or instructional manual for this, but the connections and experiences I gained through the Mothers’ Center have helped me to write my own – and for this, I am forever thankful.

Join me in a special Thanksgiving event

As the holiday approaches, I invite you to give special thanks to one or more of the special moms who inspire you and have made a difference in your life. Post your appreciation on your Facebook wall, using #MCCNJthanksmoms, and tag Mothers’ Center of Central NJ. Taking a few minutes to post your Thanksgiving “attitude of gratitude” will create a loving and joyous start to the holidays for the special moms in your life—and you!

Here is my video of appreciation.

– HaVi J,  MCCNJ member

#MCCNJthanksmom

To kick off this holiday season, MCCNJ challenges you to express your appreciation for a mom (or more) who have inspired you and made a difference in your life over the past year. Post your appreciation on your Facebook wall, using the #MCCNJthanksmoms, and tag Mothers’ Center of Central NJ. Taking a few minutes to post your Thanksgiving “attitude of gratitude” will create a loving and joyous start to the holidays for the special moms in your life—and you!

You have 24 hours to complete this challenge and invite others to participate. If you opt out from the challenge, consider donating a case of diapers. You can drop off your donation at the Garwood Presbyterian Church starting December or make a purchase via our wishlist on Amazon.

This challenge runs from 11/19/2017 until 11/25/2017.

Brrrrrr it is cold outside! Stay warm at MCCNJ this Winter!

Come join us for our Winter mini-session! It starts right after Thanksgiving and ends just before Christmas.

We have a hot chocolate meetup, cookie exchange, spa morning, holiday party, and more!

Our Winter Mini Session Groups include:

Monday Morning Playgroup 9:30-11am (no group fee)
Tuesday Mom and Baby 9:30-11:00am (no group fee and onsite babysitting available for older siblings)
Wednesday Discussion Group for Moms 9:30-11:00am (no group fee and onsite babysitting available)
Thursday Creative Expressions (Music and Art) 9:30-10:15 ($30 for 4 weeks). Please note this group usually fills quickly and has limited spots available.

Read our full newsletter and register online now! https://motherscentercnj.org/members/groups-registration/