Moms House Speech – October 20, 2020

    Imagine having your whole life planned out from the age of 15. Then you turn 21 and find out your unexpectedly pregnant with your first child. What do you do next? Do you throw all your hopes and dreams out the window to raise your little boy or do you find a way to do both? In an ideal world you try to do both but that could only happen if you had enough support. How many of us have it all at 21? Not many of us; which is where Moms House comes into play. Moms House makes it possible to raise a baby at a young age while trying to go to school and continue working towards your lifelong dreams. Moms House provided my son and I with an opportunity to be a part of a community. A community full of love, support and so many opportunities.

     As a young mom I was extremely hesitant to leave my one year old with anyone other than my mother. However, if I wanted to attend college full time then I would have to find another option and I am beyond thankful that the very first babysitter I found for my son was Moms House. Of course, the first enticing part was that Moms House was free but with the word free came thoughts of poor care and run down facilities. That was not the case. My first impression when walking in their front doors was warmth, kindness, and love. Moms House went above and beyond to show that they truly cared for my son and me. They made sure we felt comfortable and answered my hundreds of questions with a smile on their face.

      I enjoyed walking into Moms House every morning being greeted by friends and staff that were all just as happy to see us. It did not take long for my son to stop crying when I left for the day or for me to feel at home. When you are a client with Moms House you become a part of their community along with your child. All the parents are assigned jobs to help keep the place safe and clean for our children. There was no question about who was caring for the daycare when a visitor walked in the door. They could see the artwork on the walls, smell the delicious meals coming from the kitchen and see the sparkling floors. We took pride in our jobs because it benefited us and our children. The jobs taught us responsibility and ownership and how to work as a team. Each of us moms had a different story, but we were all connected by the fact that we were trying to get an education while giving our children a happy life.

         In the walls of Moms House, I made lifelong friends as did my son. Today my son is 8 and we have been away from Moms House for three years now, but we have not lost connection with any of the staff or friends we made there. All of us have gone our separate ways but that has not stopped us from arranging play dates, dinner dates or babysitting for one another in a pinch. We want to see each other succeed and we will always be there to help make that possible. My son’s best friend today he met at Moms House in the bear room when they were one. My closest friend today is a mom I made a connection with while doing my service hours and studying in the Cortese room. We lean on each other when we are having a bad day, we look to one another for support when our children are going through something. I am thankful every day for having her and the other women in my life that I met at Moms House. Life is very fast paced and as we get older it is hard to slow down and make time to meet people our age and especially people that are in the same situation as you and can relate to. I have always heard the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” and I never truly understood that until I was a part of Moms House for a few years. It is because of each volunteer, mom and staff member at Moms House that I have grown into the person I am today. I have confidence in myself and my ability to be a parent. I know that I have friends to lean on when parenting gets hard and people who have children that already went through that phase and can offer advice when I am unsure of what to do. At times you are so stressed out from parenting all day you just need someone to vent to and those friends are there to listen.

        As moms we put our children first almost always and we can lose sight of ourselves which leads back to our children losing out in the end. Moms House made sure to look out for the moms as well as the children. They did not forget about how important our wellbeing was to our children’s wellbeing. They provided workshops for the moms to attend each month that focused on a different topic each time. They would bring in a member of the community to share with us some insightful information that we could use to better ourselves. One of the most memorable workshops we had was from a woman who came in to talk to us about healthy relationships. She was an amazing woman who found god after failing over and over in life and relationships and putting herself last. She shared her incredible journey with us and taught us how to look within ourselves for love before we accept love from others that may not be good for us. Most of us at the time came from broken relationships, either trying to make things work again with their child’s father or trying to date again after having a child. We were lost and confused on how healthy relationships worked and that workshop made each of us learn how to look within ourselves to see what we deserved. We asked for her to come back a second time because she made such an impact. Moms House made that possible. They care for our wellbeing as moms and want each of us to be successful in society in all aspects not just in education.

      I am forever thankful to the people of Moms House for providing a much-needed service to our small town, but the true heroes are the thousands of community members that have put Moms House first. It was not until joining Moms House that I realized just how generous people could be. Every day I would come in to pick up my son and see brand new clothes, bathroom products, book bags, books, and shoes on display for anyone to take. My son had more gifts on Christmas morning than I could have ever dreamed of because a community member wanted to adopt us. On Thanksgiving, each of us were handed a bag of groceries so we could cook a meal for our family.

      During my time at Moms House, I did not have to worry about how I could balance long work weeks and studying because many of my immediate needs were met through Moms House. Therefore, I feel a big sense of responsibility to pay it forward for all the generous donations by finishing school and graduating which I did. I earned my associate’s degree at BCC first then I went on to earn my bachelor’s degree in Biology at BU. I am extremely proud of my accomplishments and will continue to achieve my goals so that I can continue to be a good example for my son.

     We spent four years at Moms House until my son finally had to graduate and head on to kindergarten. He was more than prepared to start kindergarten due to the preparation that was made in the preschool room at Moms House. Moms House was not just a daycare, they educated my son and taught him things I could not have while working and going to school fulltime. I am forever grateful to the kindness that Moms House showed my son and me. I look forward to seeing Moms House continue to grow and impact future generations lives like it has ours. It is my dream to see a Moms House in many more states across the country. Thank you to the community for always taking the time to participate in fundraisers and to donate goods to the clients of Moms House. It is because of the staff and community members that Moms House can keep growing their small community of moms who can count on one another during good and bad times.