Balancing babies and books
by Megan Darragh
Through the mess of exams, payments, and trying to maintain
a social life, students can easily get run off their feet. Throw a little one in the mix and things just got a lot more complicated.
Holy Linton, a 37-year-old social work diploma student at MRU, founded the Moms’ Club in September 2009. The new club is a student group dedicated
to bringing together expecting
and current mothers in the academic community to form a solid support system.
“The main goal of the club is to connect student mothers so they don’t feel so lonely on campus,”
Linton explained. “We are a minority and it is very tough to be surrounded by people who have little or no idea what kind of challenges we can experience in our lives as moms and students
at the same time.”
The club’s ability to connect these moms forms an entirely new sense of family. It allows not only a networking source for needed help and encouragement,
but also for people who could become life-long friends.
Linton believes that the club gives the mothers a much-needed
sense of belonging and recognition
“I think that the Moms’ Club’s main impact on the mother students
is the normalization of their status. It’s absolutely alright
to go to school even though you have little ones at home.
“I personally think that the recognition that we also do exist
on campus is huge. I believe that being a part of the Moms’ Club also makes everyone feel good, just to know that we aren’t alone. There are other women on campus going through the same struggles and experiencing
the same things. Then there is the sense of support; we want to connect in order to support one another as well. We all need that as human beings going through the hardships of life,” Linton added. Jacqueline Wong, a third-year public relations student and mom of a 17-month-old son, recognizes the importance of the Moms’ Club and its role as a support system.
“It’s a place to express feelings,
concerns and experiences and get feedback from that,” Wong explained.
Wong said that being a student
mother makes you grow up quicker and learn to prioritize. She mentioned that with having
to balance motherhood and school work, she has become a master at multi-tasking.
“Being a student mother is all about attempting to get things done and hopefully done well,” Wong said. “We go home and try and study between naps or at bedtime. We have to schedule babysitting to go to group meetings.
You’re always playing different
roles and life is certainly a whirlwind.”
According to Linton, the average
range of women in the Moms’ Club falls in between ages 18 to 48, giving the club a mature and practiced view along with a youthful and fresh outlook on how to balance school, family,
work and whatever else falls their way. The variety of minds gives these women the tools they need to succeed in skillfully managing their lives.
The club may help them learn how to work through difficult situations and how to properly handle stress in order to stay healthy and successful mothers.
The Moms’ Club, in collaboration
with organizations such as the Applied Child Studies Association and EnCana Wellness Centre, has been very successful in putting together a Christmas party, including a daycare and Santa Claus, for families to meet and sessions to aid in relaxation, self-care and parenting tips. The club is also looking forward to a year-end party they are planning to host in April, Linton explained.
One of the challenges the group is facing is scheduling; according to Linton, everyone’s schedules are quite conflicting and not all of the members live in Calgary. They try and have at least two meetings a month; their next meetings are scheduled
for Feb. 11, 22 and 25 at the clubs’ house on the third floor of Wyckham House.
Linton, being done her two-year diploma program at the end of this term, is unsure of how the club is going to thrive after she is gone. She is hoping the club’s members will be willing
to keep the club running themselves.
Through the help of support systems such as the Moms’ Club, along with friends and family, the endless challenge of making ends meet just got a lot easier.