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Aprille Dembsky joined other mothers and their children for a recent get-together of the group Mom's Coffee Break with Baby. The group converged at Magic Beans in Hingham for coffee, conversation and companionship. "I was looking for an informal way to meet other mothers, and eventually make friends for my daughter, " said Dembsky, of Braintree, who has a 5-month-old daughter. Back in our mother's, even our grandmother's day, there was the coffee klatch.
Women - often neighbors - would gather at each others' homes after their husbands went to work to share conversation, support and stories about raising kids. Sometimes they'd play bridge. Today, with many mothers working full-time and fewer close-knit neighborhoods, women find mothers' groups like Mom's Coffee Break to be a new way to connect with each other.
Whether it's an online network, a support group or a longstanding community organization, a mothers; group can help women cope with raising a family. "In our culture right now, we (feel like we) have to do everything perfectly right for (our children) and that can be very isolating," said Melissa Moore, 26, founder of the South Shore chapter of Mothers & More, a national mothers' advocacy group. "You end up focusing entirely on the needs of your child and ignoring your own needs - (like) you cant' put your child down for five minutes and have some time for yourself."
Moore, mother of William, 1.5, said the antidote for the stress of motherhood is taking a little personal time.
With a rule that mothers go to meetings without their children, except for the youngest of infants, Mothers & More helps women connect. "It's really empowering to remember that you have this personal identity as a strong, independent woman, not just the Mom of the Year," said Moore, of Quincy.
Mary Power, president of the Hingham Mothers' Club, agreed. "We all have a lot of priorities, a lot of things going on," said Power, 46, and the mother of Conor, 6, and Brendan,5. "You like once in a while to be able to do something for yourself."
Today's mothers groups are more than social clubs. The Hingham Mothers' Club, established in 1940, promotes civic and community welfare as part of its mission. Ongoing projects include delivering Meals on Wheels through the Hingham Senior Center. MomJunction.com, CafeMom.com and Raisingthem.com offer parenting advice, e-support and forums on everything from hobbies to homeschooling. Meetup.com is a web site that brings people together through share interest. For those yearning for the old-time coffee klatch, albeit in a local cafe, check out the Mom's Coffee Break with Baby" group at Meetup.com.
Power said that besides community service and social opporutnities, the Hingham Mothers' Club organizes events, such as outings to Red Sox games, which can make it easier to have some quality family time. the club also offers Sunday afternoon ice skating at the Pilgrim Arena in Hingham.