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Online Mom Crews Provide Support for New Moms During COVID-19 Restrictions




It’s such a shame that services such as support groups have been forced to close due to COVID-19 restrictions. If there was ever a time when people needed support, it’s now. However, where there is a will, there is a way, and Jennie Monness – founder of mom resource Mo’ Mommies and owner of Union Square Play (USP) – found a way.

Raising two under two, Jennie Monness knew how challenging it was to be a mom first-hand –even without a pandemic. So, Monness founded Union Square Play and Mo’ Mommies to ease the new-mom blues and to help moms find a community with one another.

Before COVID-19, Union Square Play was a place in New York City where moms could take their kids to experience sensory music, creative classes, and open-play spaces, and the moms could enjoy some much-needed adult conversation, too.  Mo’ Mommies was an eight-week, in-person, Mom Tribe meet-up session to provide new moms support and advice. Suddenly losing both avenues of communication and support was devastating to these moms, who had grown dependent on the advice, support, and encouragement they received.

When COVID-19 closed USP, Monness knew she had to do something to help these new moms. They were already struggling to adjust to mom-life, but now they were burdened with all of the stressors of the pandemic restrictions. So, like many business owners at this time, Monness found herself pivoting to find her new normal – online Mom Crews.

Over 100 moms joined online crews related to their most specific needs in the pandemic’s initial weeks. There are crews for moms-to-be, new moms, and moms of two. Each group is designed to meet weekly for eight weeks, and Monness leads each one, with two other facilitators. The topics in these groups cover everything from infant play, to work/life balance, to self-care, and more. Guest spots for sleep specialists, lactation consultants, psychologists, and other specialists occur regularly to provide more variety and assistance for the Mom Crews.

Although Union Square Play is based on the East Coast, one of the silver linings has been the reach they have had with moms from all over the country, even leading to a specific Los Angeles based virtual group. The format changes were a difficult adjustment initially, but the online format has been a positive experience.  It has expanded the service’s reach, making it possible to help more moms and bring more variety to the groups. Since beginning the online design, Union Square Play has grown to include Paris, Texas, and California, and all signs point to continued expansion.

The popularity of virtual USP has inspired Monness to provide virtual on-demand content for parents, including videos on craft projects, open-ended play ideas, cooking with little ones, and a host of other topics. The site also features some free content for both children and parents. The children can enjoy music and puppet shows, while parents can learn about exercise, health, wellness, and other fresh, parenting topics. They have even created “Play Packs” to send to families who want to experience the magic of open-ended play the Union Square Play way, at home.

The groups’ popularity is no surprise to Monness, who understands that parenting is the most important job we’ll ever do. Having her masters’ degree in early childhood, she has been an early childhood teacher, an educational director for several childcare centers, and an adjunct professor for early childhood education graduate students. All of these experiences contribute to her decision to create USP and Mo’ Mommies. In addition to staying busy with the new online format of these two groups, Monness teaches classes, does public speaking, and uses social media to provide pertinent information about new toys, new courses, thoughtful open-play, and other topics of interest for new moms.

COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives over the past several months. Business owners like Jennie Monness have scrambled to redesign their service or brand to stay relevant. For Monness, the move to online groups and classes for new moms has created new challenges and brought unique insight. With no end in sight for COVID-19 restrictions, Union Square Play and Mo’ Mommies will continue their online format for Mom Crews.

For more information on these online supports, follow these links.

From television to the internet platform, Greg switched his journey in digital media with California Herald. After serving as a journalist for popular news channels he currently contributes his experience for California Herald by writing latest and trending Politics news.

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