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Gig Harbor Mom Establishing Parental Help Online
Online connection brings help to those juggling motherhood.Marsha Hart, for Gig Harbor LifeWednesday, August 20, 2008
From the moment women announce they are pregnant, advice begins to pour in from every direction, some of it is unsolicited, and some of it is sought after.
There are classes during pregnancy, support groups for new mothers, and support groups devoted to childrearing. The focus is usually on the pre-school years, and to some extent, the elementary years, but then tapers off considerably as the children get older. By the time children reach middle school, those support groups, and programs for parents are all but gone.
Gig Harbor resident and mother of five, Trisha Novotny wanted more. She also wants more for other mothers, and not just in Gig Harbor.
Novotny took the tool of the Internet and set out to revolutionize mothering on a worldwide scale. She set up a blog site, www.247moms.blogspot.com, where Moms can get tips about everything that pertains to being a mother of children at every age, and running a household.
"As I continued on my mom journey, I realized the need to equip, inspire and connect moms," Novotny said.
This online support system was launched in January and within a month 300 mothers signed up to be on the e-mail list, she said.
There are now more than 700 on that list, and mothers from across the globe are engaging on the site.
She knew there was a need, but the response was truly overwhelming, and Novotny said she had to ask her friends for help. The email list alone was huge, and the products kept coming in from various companies hoping Novotny would tout them on her site.
Michelle Faussett has known Novotny for 20 years, and said it is only natural that she has started to help with 24/7 Moms in some way.
"Pretty much when Trisha decides to do something, Michelle is a part of it," Faussett said of her close relationship to Novotny. "Trisha and I both have older and younger kids, and as the older ones have gotten older, we've just had each other to talk to."
Though Novotny said she was very involved with Mothers Of Preschoolers (MOPS) in Gig Harbor for many years, she felt disconnected from other mothers as her preschool-aged children became elementary school students. That feeling of isolation got worse as the children got older.
"Where was the mom to talk to about what my middle schooler was going through?" she said. "We get all kinds of speakers who tell us how to feed the child, and what foods, and how to get through the terrible 2s, but who is there to tell us how to keep our kids safe on the Internet, or how to help them with math homework, or tell us about vacations that can save us money?"
By having a dedicated place online for mothers to visit, post comments, and read advice from other moms and experts, she said, mothers are feeling empowered.
Another friend, Tanya Piela of Tacoma has helped with the marketing of the site, and created a temporary logo that sort of stuck, she said.
"We have made some minor changes to the logo, making it what it is today," Piela said. "I also help her collect and organize the articles, as well as send out the E-news every month."
Because the response to the site has been so great, Novotny has been inspired to hold a 24/7 Moms Conference. Piela said she has helped with marketing the conference, which will be held Oct. 10 and 11 at the Wesley Inn and Conference Center in Gig Harbor.
With a 4-year-old son, Piela knows some of the challenges that come with motherhood. She and her husband are hoping to have more children, and she said some of the information has been helpful to her as a cousin to young girls.
"This group has been great in giving me advice in how to deal with some of the issues they are going through and have come to me about," she said. "That is why I love it most, it is not a group with moms whose children are a certain age, they range significantly."
Though she thought things would get easier, things were even more hectic, she said.
"Now they all want to do the sports activities," Novotny said. "I've had to rethink how to organize my life."
These are the challenges that every mother faces on some scale, whether there is only one child, or more than five. She addresses these and other topics on the blog, and includes everything from recipes to helpful information about the proper fit of a bicycle helmet. There are also tips on how to save at the grocery store, and alerts to some freebies out there.
Moms also will have a chance to connect in person at the conference. There will be guest speakers, workshops and plenty of fun.
"Our goal is to inspire and equip Moms so that they know we can do this together and we are not failing."
For information, visit the Web site, www.247moms.com, and the blog site, www.247moms.blogspot.com.