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Tri-City MOMS
Local Club Reaches Out To Oakdale, Riverbank, Escalon
Members of the MOMS Club of Escalon, serving the tri-city area of Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon, participate in group outings, as well as age appropriate weekly play groups. The local chapter of the International MOMS Club was first formed in 2005. For information on how to join e-mail - photo by Photo Courtesy MOMS Club Of Escalon
A day at the park filled with sunshine and laughter. Children swing as their mothers gently push them to and fro, while others run and play in the sand.
In the distance a mother runs as her three boys venture down to the dugout of an adjacent baseball field. Exploration of the unknown seems to be more intriguing than the playground at Castleberg Park in Riverbank.
These are just a few of the many scenes that play out monthly as mothers and their children from the tri-city area gather for the MOMS Club of Escalon. This local chapter of the International MOMS Club was first started in 2005 by an Escalon mom who had relocated from Modesto, where she had been an active member of the Modesto chapter. The club currently serves 34 mothers and their children representing Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon.
International MOMS Club began in 1983, when a California mom branched out, seeking friendship and companionship for both her children and herself. With a desire to unite with other at-home mothers and their children, she discovered a void and began the group. To date there are over 2,000 chapters in the U.S. serving over 100,000 members.
Club president Hilarie Beard-Harned of Oakdale joined the club a few short months later. Beard-Harned attributes her affiliation with the group for building friendships and watching her children grow up with the other children.
“I’ve made some life long friends,” Marnie Moberg of Riverbank shared. “The chance to talk to adults and give my daughter the ability to have these friends and make friends is wonderful.
“We get together at least two times a week, which is nice,” she added.
Since the club serves three separate towns, every effort is made to rotate activities throughout the three communities. Group activities are scheduled intermittently throughout the year with destinations like the Sacramento Zoo, Fairytale land and local parks serving as special treats. Twice weekly age appropriate playgroups are also arranged allowing moms and their youngsters the opportunity to catch up with friends.
“This group is incredible,” Laura Astle stated. “I’ve been able to meet a lot of people and do things I probably would not have done otherwise.”
Echoing Astle’s sentiments, Beard-Harned shared, “I have heard other chapters of the International MOMS Club have cliques within their chapter and this may deter moms from joining our group.
“I don’t feel this is an issue with our chapter at all. Even our newest members have stated how welcome they have felt from the start.”
While many of the current members are fulltime at-home moms, some work from home and others hold part-time jobs out of the home. Each of the group of 34 shares the unique bond of motherhood and the daily challenges it represents.
“To be able to see them grow up and get older,” Sarah Nelson cited as one of the many rewards of motherhood. “And to listen to them use some of the things you’ve been able to teach them without prompting them, that’s been rewarding.
“Once I became a mother,” she confessed, “I called my mother after a few months and apologized. We had a tearful day that day.”
The rest of the women chuckle with what seems to be an appreciation for their friend’s honesty.
Astle described learning to multi-task as a gift she now possesses as a mother of three, recalling a time when she made a long walk home carrying a child in one arm, and a bike in the other as she struggled to walk with a broken flip-flop.
“What do you do?” she said through laughter. “You just deal with it and figure it out.”
In a day and age when one would think at-home mothers have finally been given their long overdue nod of approval, for some that is still not the case.
As the mothers discussed their frustration of misconceptions about at-home moms, the age-old cliché of sitting on the couch eating bon bons surfaced.
“Because you stay home you should be able to do it all,” Nichole Kirschner said.
“They think you’re supposed to be superwoman,” Astle added.
“I decided I had to pick to be a really good mom or really good housekeeper,” Nelson said. “I chose mom.”
In addition to the friendship and activities the group provides for mother and child, it also participates in service projects aimed at bettering its three communities.
In late April the group participated for the third year in Oakdale’s Eighth Annual Relay for Life, an American Cancer Society fundraising event. Their team of 12 raised over $3,000.
They have also hosted a backpack drive for students attending Riverbank and Escalon elementary schools and donate Christmas presents each year to the Crisis Center of Stanislaus County.
In a ‘Special Edition’ of the club’s newsletter, club treasurer Kechina Edwards summed up her feelings for the club.
Edwards stated, “One thing I want to share is how I have always felt like I belong, even from the first day. I never felt out of place, everyone has always made me feel like a part of the group.
“Everyone in the group is caring, helpful, understanding and I always feel at ease talking about my crazy days with anyone,” she added. “The MOMS club has made me feel “normal” again.”
For information on the MOMS Club of Escalon visit or e-mail