PO BOX 294 Cranford NJ 07016 motherscentercnj@gmail.com

Summer 2020 Newsletter

We are excited to announce a jam packed schedule of fun and safe activities for the summer session! Due to COVID-19, we have transitioned to an all virtual program. Take a look at our latest newsletter to see what we have to offer: https://motherscentercnj.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Summer-2020-Newsletter.pdf

Winter 2020

Happy New Year! Our first newsletter of 2020 is here- Click here to take a look and find out about our group sessions and events for the winter session.

We’ll be hosting open houses on the morning of Monday 1/13/20 from 9:30am to 11am and the evening of Wednesday 1/15/20 from 8pm to 10pm. Both sessions will be held at the Garwood Presbyterian Church. We hope you can join us!

Fall Registration

A big thanks to everyone who made it out to our open houses! We’re very excited that so many of you have signed up to join us. If you weren’t able to make it, don’t worry- online registration is now open.

Please Click Here to register!

As always, feel free to email us at motherscentercnj@gmail.com if you have any questions!

Fall 2019

Ready or not, it’s time for back to school shopping, cool weather, and pumpkin spice everything! Click here to read our latest newsletter and see what we’ve got planned for the season.

We’ll be hosting open houses on the morning of Monday 9/9/19 from 9:30am to 11am and the evening of Wednesday 9/11/19 from 8pm to 10pm. Both sessions will be held at the Garwood Presbyterian Church. We hope you can join us!

Hello Summer!

It’s that time of the year – warm weather and fun times with the kids! Check out what we’re offering this summer and complete the registration form. In addition to our signature groups – Playgroup, Mom and Baby, Mom Get it Done, Music, Discussion/Parenting groups – we are offering events for just Moms as well as for the family. Hope to see you this summer!

2019 Miles with Moms

Despite the rainy day, we had a lot of fun watching (and cheering on) our dedicated runners. Thank you, runners, sponsors, spectators, raffle lovers and cheer squads for coming! We hope everyone walked away with happy memories, just like we did. Here are some photos of our event (click here to view all the photos). Many thanks to Josefin Walden for these beautiful images.


Below are the winners of the 2019 Miles with Moms 5K – CONGRATULATIONS, Runners!

Top Male Adult/Teen

Keith Gilman

David Belair

Eric Murphy

Top Female Adult/Teen

Bridget Cornwell

Suzanne Carbone

Michele Fischer

Top 5K Child

Haley Concannon

Kaiya Murray

Top Adult pushing a child

Tim Bennet

Vikki Gregorio

Marie Weitzman

Top MCCNJ Member/Alumni

Vicky Zhou

Amy Buck

Stephanie Concannon

Spring 2019

Springtime is here, and the Mothers’ Center has some exciting things planned! Click here to read our latest newsletter and find out about our great upcoming group offerings, events, and our annual fundraiser, Miles with Moms.

Winter 2019 Session

Come meet current and prospective new members at our upcoming open houses! You can find out more about the Mothers’ Center, register for groups, and just enjoy some time out with friends. Refreshments will be served and everyone is welcome!

We’ll be holding two open house events for your convenience. The the first will be on Monday, January 14, 2019 from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm. We will also hold an evening open house on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 from 8:00pm to 10:00pm.

Both events will take place at the Garwood Presbyterian Church at 341 Spruce Ave., Garwood, NJ 07027.

Click here to read our latest newsletter and find out about our great winter group offerings and upcoming events!

Rhythms and Rituals

When I first became a mom, my own mother assured me that I would quickly settle into a routine.  I, however, rolled my eyes. I didn’t want to the be the mom with a rigid schedule. I wanted to be spontaneous and embrace the freedom that being home with my kids provided.  And my always hungry, never tired, unpredictable first child seemed to agree. But much to my surprise, once a winter full of ear infections turned to spring, our spontaneous life began to organize itself around activities we repeated over and over, which I referred to as little “rituals”.

My particular favorite example is how a completely impractical and overpriced smoothie from Whole Foods became a regular part of this cheap girl’s Friday grocery shopping routine.  One day when feeling particularly exhausted, I bought us a smoothie as a treat because, a) I was pregnant with daughter #2 and starving, and b) it contained kale. My little grocery store runner astonished me by sitting in the cart drinking almost the whole thing herself and then staying put for the rest of the trip.  And now week after week, she insists on the same.

And so I started to wonder, what makes some random activities stick and become something more, something our kids demand to do over and over again?  

Now, while I am not one for routine, I am a planner.  And each year as the skies grow dark I start to feel the pressure to plan Christmas magic for my kids.  We celebrate outside of any religious traditions, so the options are endless. But just as during the early days home with my first child, the combination of great expectations and endless possibilities can leave me feeling adrift.  Our first few holiday seasons were filled with lots of magical moments, but also too long to-do lists, photo retakes, OCD gingerbread house disasters, and two exhausted parents crumbling under the pressure by Christmas Eve. They also contained surprises about what my daughter embraced and what she didn’t.

As she has grown, it has been her questions that have helped me most to focus our holiday effort and find the answer as to what transforms a one time event into a tradition.  She wondered why some of her friends celebrated different holidays or celebrate Christmas differently. My answer to her has been that though our traditions look different, we are all really celebrating the same thing: that which sustains us when times are dark – friends, family, memories of past obstacles overcome, music, laughter, ritual itself – whatever nourishes our souls. And I believe that it is also the answer as to why we hang on to these sometimes random little moments.  Something about it fulfilled a need we might not have even known we had and left an impression that’s worn deep into who we are.

And so this year it is with great intention that I fill my holiday calendar to focus on what is most meaningful to all of us.  Fewer gifts, more walks to see lights, time to focus on small tokens of gratitude for all those we hold dear, a whole day for rolling cookies, more reading, more music. Less buying, less wrapping, less perfecting, less cooking, more sharing.  More listening to the stories my daughters tell of their own holiday memories, however random they may be, and celebrating that which has spoken to their souls.

And as I lay out our holiday calendar, I know to keep our Fridays clear, for on Fridays we drink kale.

What are your traditions with your family?

-Allison M.

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.