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

Thank you, My Village!

We lost a baby. I was seventeen weeks pregnant.

All the hopes, dreams, aspirations of the family I thought we were creating changed in an instant. It has been the most challenging event of my life. I wondered why it happened, but getting test after test to find a cause turned up nothing. I’m a person who needs control, and I think the most frustrating part of this whole journey has been the fact that there is no answer. Such a loss can rip families apart. We all grieve differently, and learning how to accept that has brought my husband and I closer. I hug my son a little tighter these days, taking in the smell of his skin. I kiss his forehead longer and try to get lost in the moment. I take a deep breath when he tests my patience, just grateful that he exists. We exist. The range of emotions that flows through me in a single day is endless, but the one I always come back to is thankfulness.

It’s the word I think of this time of year. The leaves have turned extraordinary shades of yellow, orange, red, and brown. The rain falls on our windows. The seasons are changing. I can feel it in the air, in the chilly mornings, in the darkness of our skies early in the evening. I love fall. It’s the season when I married my best friend. The fall makes me thankful, and this year I am particularly thankful for my life. When an unimaginable event happens, we need an army to pick us back up. The Mothers’ Center is my army. As trying as a miscarriage can be, when I look back at the days and weeks that followed, I recall support more than sadness. I remember calling a member in the hospital and her talking me through her experience so that I could be less scared about mine. I remember coming home to a fresh bouquet of flowers picked from a member’s backyard. I remember talking on the phone with member after member helping me work through the grief of the loss. I remember the month of meals that came from members who wanted to make my day just a little bit easier. I am thankful for all the members of the Mothers’ Center who reached out during a terrible time to support my family and who continue to support us.

So as we approach the season of Thanksgiving, I hope that we remember to be thankful for all that we have and not take for granted the extraordinary changing of the leaves or the sweet sound of the rain falling outside our windows. The fact that we are a part of such a group of women who help each other through the ups and downs of this journey called motherhood is a gift, and I am truly thankful for that.

– Trina J.

Register Now for the 2018 Winter Mini-Session

Online registration is now open for the 2018 Winter Mini-Session! The session will span from the last week in November through December. Programs include Playgroup, Mom & Baby, Mom “Get It Done Time”, Creative Kids, Discussion Group, and Parenting Workshop. We’ll also be holding a number of great special events, including a holiday party on December 14th.

Check out our latest newsletter, which outlines all the details for this mini-session.

Click here to register!

Subscribe to our Blog!

We’re excited to announce that we’ve added a new feature to help our members stay connected! You can now receive email updates about our latest news and events. Sign up at https://motherscentercnj.org/subscribe/ to make sure you don’t miss out!

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