A Lacombe mother has started a local web community to allow other moms to meet for coffee, play dates and new friendships for their children and themselves.
The website at www.momstown.ca offers a message board, calendar of upcoming events and even member discounts at local businesses.
It was started by Alison Colton, 33, who lives in Lacombe with her husband Blaine and children Alex, four, and Eli, 11 months. Trained as a certified general accountant, Colton is currently a stay-at-home mother.
She said things have changed since mothers of past generations raised children and women would often drop in for coffee with their neighbours. People often commute to work and don’t necessarily know their neighbours as well, so mothers can sometimes feel isolated and alone at home with young children. She said many go online to forums for mothers, but often when they meet someone the person will be in Vancouver or Toronto.
The purpose of the site is to connect mothers from around Red Deer, Lacombe, Innisfail and the rest of Central Alberta with each other. She said often new moms will meet while their children are playing at the park and it can feel like an awkward first date, meeting a new potential friend for the first time or asking them on a play date with their children.
Colton said with momstown, there will be lots of activities available that moms can take part in on their own, with their children or sometimes even with their husbands. She has a monthly theme party planned, with play groups every other week and a stroller walking club. Sometimes moms may just meet for coffee, but there is also a scrapbooking club and a book club planned and weekend events for moms who are working outside the home.
Memberships are $30 for six months or $45 for a year per mother, but until the grand opening planned for later this month, Colton has been offering six-week trial memberships for free. She already has 86 members and hopes to increase that number over time.
Colton heard about the momstown concept from a Calgary friend who started a group in that city. The first momstown was launched in Burlington, Ont., in August 2007 and now there are 12 chapters in Ontario and four in Alberta, including Colton’s momstown Central Alberta.
The launch of the group is set to take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 15 from at the Bower Kin Community Centre at 85 Boyce St. in Red Deer. The free event is open to moms, dads and little ones and will include facepainting, crafts, snacks and hot chocolate. There will be a baby and tot play area by Discovery Toys, free portrait sittings by Kai Smyth Photography and demonstrations of baby sign language by Wee Sign, Jo Dumont Fitness Training and the Red Deer Public Library.