Becoming a mother is no easy task. As soon as your newborn arrives, your life as you knew it does a complete 360. Even if we all find ways to adapt to this new life eventually, the journey can be more difficult for some. Although I was able to find ways to avoid isolation during the first few months of motherhood, having a network is by far the most reassuring things of all. I’m a strong believer of nurturing my networks because they become my supporters when I need them the most. Although I leveraged my network when feeling lost as a new mother, I also regularly leverage them for career advice, empowerment and relationships among other things.
That’s why when I came across the Moms Mentoring Moms Program after meeting Rachel, founder of Full Motherhood blog, I found her initiative to absolutely A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! She launched this mentoring program with Julia, founder of Projects and Parenting blog. The Moms Mentoring Moms Program is a free online mentoring program that brings mothers together from all walks of life to help one another. Mothers are paired together based on their unique needs, struggles, and strengths. Mentors provide intentional support to their mentees while our personal development resources help guide the process of self-growth and personal development.
Below is an interview I conducted with Rachel and Julia in hopes of learning more about their Moms Mentoring Moms Program.
1.What motivated you to launch this program?
Julia: Once learning to breastfeed twins was no longer a full-time job, I suddenly found myself completely obsessed with do-it-yourself home renovation projects. At one point, I had three bathroom projects going on at once. But it wasn’t about the projects, it was about fulfilling a need to create, produce, and feel accomplished. Around the same time, I started meeting regularly with some other moms who were really struggling to find contentment in motherhood. I started applying what I know about career satisfaction to our roles and expectations of being a mom. I realized that if my friends and I could benefit from defining our personal motivations, values, and strengths that maybe other moms could too.
My main purpose is to encourage moms to push back against the mentality that motherhood should consume all their energy, passion, and time. There is so much “support” out there intended to “help” moms be “better” moms, but the hyper-focus leads to unnecessary anxiety, shame, and guilt. Moms don’t need to be “better” they just need to be themselves. I think moms can really thrive if they can find motivation and purpose outside of the mundane. I’ve realized that for me personally, it really wasn’t projects or blogging, but my passion for helping support and encourage other moms. Developing a mentoring relationship with a mom who is a step ahead or
behind you in life is just one of many ways for moms can give back, become part of something meaningful, and utilize their their unique skills and strengths. The goal is to train and equip mentors to be able to help other moms to find and do the same.
Rachel: After moving over 9,000 miles away from home with my toddler son and quitting my part time job as a therapist I became isolated and unsure of what to do with myself. I decided to start earning my certification in maternal mental health and blog about emotional wellness for moms. Through blogging I connected with Julia and she approached me with the idea. I loved it right away and didn’t take a second to get on board. I believe that connection is ultimately why we are all here on this earth. Connection is one of the best ways we can help one another get through life’s struggles. Connecting people has been a passion in my life through starting my own parent’s social group back home, to making a network of friends and reaching out to other expatriot moms like myself on Facebook, and now to Mentoring 4 Moms. I see this program as being an excellent resource for any mom but specifically those moms that may be isolated due to where they live, a lack of support network, medical or mental health concerns that keep them in their homes for the majority of their time, etc. These moms need support and need to be connected and I think Mentoring 4 Moms is an answer to that. The relationships formed in the program go beyond a normal Facebook Moms group as they are intentional and authentic. These mentors come to this program to be supportive and open not to shame or tear down other moms.
2. What resources did you use to create the curriculum?
Julia is a professional counselor and Rachel is a social worker. Rachel has more experience specific to mental health as a therapist and is working on her certification in maternal mental health. Julia has more experience with career counseling, discipline, resilience and motivation. After brainstorming topics that would align with our strengths, we developed a pre-assessment to determine areas of need. If you look at the results, it’s clear that we are addressing a real need. The curriculum begins with a personality assessment to encourage moms tune out all the conflicting messages they are hearing around them and begin tuning into their unique approach to motherhood, and their values and strengths. Other topics include emotional health, self-care, marriage/relationship issues, identity issues (who you are inside and outside of motherhood), overcoming disappointment, nurturing and behavior management, managing guilt, and building a support network. We use a variety of already existing theory and interventions from the world of behavioral health and some of our own inspiration and perspectives as well.
3. How do interactions between the mentor and mentee take place?
After we assign mentors to a mentee we ask that the mentors reach out via e-mail. From there the mentee is given preference for how they’d best like to communicate. They can communicate via any medium they wish-phone, e-mail, Facebook message, text, or Skype. We have over 40 moms currently in the program from 3 different countries in the program and over 18 states represented so many of these moms are connecting with moms that are hundreds of miles away.
4. What level of effort is required from the mentor or mentee on a weekly basis?
We ask that mentors and mentees engage in a minimum of 30 minutes of online contact per week for our 15 week program. In addition to their mentoring sessions we ask that they review our brief curriculum posts each week that include discussion questions. They can also choose to engage in our Facebook group which includes other opportunities to engage with other members of the program, ask for support, and receive additional personal development resources. After the conclusion of the program mentors and mentees can decide to continue the program or end their formal mentoring relationship and hopefully continue to be a source of support for one another.
Rachel is a mom, therapist, and maternal mental health advocate. She is also the co-founder of Moms Mentoring Moms, an free online mentoring program. Rachel writes about emotional wellness for mothers at fullmotherhood.com. She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and 2 year old son.
Julia Henrichs is a licensed counselor and stay-at-home mom to her toddler and twins. She has 4 years of experience working with children, teachers, and families on mental health and behavior management. She has another 3 years of experience coordinating district and community-wide college and career-readiness events, developing Denver Public School’s 6th – 12th grade Individual Career and Academic Planning curriculum, and training counselors in her district and around the country to help students overcome barriers and find their passions, motivation, and strengths. She applies her experience to helping moms find their mission, resilience, and strengths, both inside and outside of motherhood. In addition to launching an online mentoring program for moms, she also blogs at projectsandparenting.com.Follow us on social media: