As moms around the nation send their children back to school, more than 150 groups of women across the country are seeking out their own learning and growth. These moms are organizing “Learning Circles”–a monthly moms’ night out designed by The Power of Moms (www.powerofmoms.com) to help women connect, share, and learn from each other in their own communities as they work to become more deliberate mothers and women.
“Every career has professional development opportunities–networking lunches, forums for discussing the latest developments in the field, etc. Moms need more opportunities to learn from each other,” said Saren Eyre Loosli, Co-Founder of The Power of Moms and creator of the Learning Circles program. Part book club (with way less pages to read), part girls’ night out (there’s plenty of laughter involved), part “mom school” (there are reading assignments, discussion questions and ‘homework’), and part support group, Learning Circles have proven to be a real lifeline for many moms.”
“All of us at The Power of Moms have days–and sometimes weeks or months–that feel overwhelming,” said April Perry, also a Co-Founder of The Power of Moms, “but we make the decision to focus on what we can do about our situations, and more times than not, we can find solutions within a group of other mothers. I read about a 2010 study quoted in the New York Times by David Brooks that said ‘joining a meaningful group that meets just once a month produces the same happiness gain as doubling your income.’ In today’s economy, doubling your income isn’t easy, but meeting once a month with a Learning Circle is.”
One Power of Moms Learning Circle member said, “I love having a specific monthly place and time to discuss the issues that are most important to me as a mom. My world is so full of ’baby talk’ and ‘small talk,’ but this Learning Circle gave me the chance to really connect with other moms and learn that I am not alone!”
Each month, Learning Circle members read an assigned article based on the “Power of the Month” feature on The Power of Moms website. Each article features discussion questions and take-home assignments to help Learning Circle Members apply the principles from the articles to their lives as mothers. Titles from year one of the Learning Circle curriculum include I Was Cute, Fun, and Smart – Then I Became a Mom, Having it All, But Not All at Once, Valuing Motherhood, and Am I Destined to Live in a Pig Sty?
Dues of 20 dollars per year are collected from each Learning Circle member to help support the website, but for those moms who want to join a group, but can’t afford it, a new “Empower” program enables them to pay what they can for their memberships, which are then subsidized by other donations to the overall organization.
Rebecca Walters, a mother of two and a Learning Circle member, enjoys the conversations that continue throughout the month. “After our group discussion, we regularly email each other to find out how everyone is doing on our assignment. I loved the month we focused on ‘defying gravity’ by doing one hard thing each day. Our emailed reports to each other included everything from setting up an appointment we’d been putting off forever to tackling a messy closet to starting a new fitness routine. I love feeling connected and supported by a strong group of like-minded women. And I love feeling that I’m really progressing in my life as a mother thanks to my Learning Circle. ”
“It’s rare to find groups of women who gather regularly to discuss how they can become better, happier moms,” said Perry. “Our Learning Circle curriculum is based on principles that apply to mothers from a wide variety of backgrounds and religions. It’s exciting to see women really learning from each other and uniting for such a worthy cause as motherhood.”
Amber Gillette, the Power of Moms volunteer who manages the Learning Circle program, helps mothers wanting to take part in a Learning Circle to find each other. “Most of our Learning Circle groups choose their own members from their friends and neighbors, but other groups list themselves as “open groups.” When we receive emails from mothers looking for a group to join, we put them in contact with each other. As The Power of Moms continues to grow, it will be even easier to make these connections.”
According to Loosli, Learning Circles Founder, “Our goal is to help mothers in every community gather together for meaningful discussions and fun. Motherhood is hard for all of us, but when we share our experiences and work together to strengthen each other, we can find so much more progress and joy in motherhood.”
To find out more about the Learning Circle Program, you can visit www.powerofmoms.com.
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The Power of Moms is an organization co-founded by April Perry and Saren Eyre Loosli that serves as a gathering place for deliberate mothers. Each month, The Power of Moms strengthens thousands of mothers through a variety of online and offline resources. The online platform at www.powerofmoms.com is run by more than 20 volunteers and provides articles, podcasts, book summaries, webinars, and several online programs designed to help mothers get organized, reach their goals, and recognize the power within them to become the mothers and women they most want to be. Motherhood Retreats are held around the country several times a year, in addition to workshops facilitated by certified Power of Moms Trainers. The Power of Moms’ Learning Circles program supports more than 150 groups of women who gather in their own communities to discuss and implement the organization’s monthly focus, “The Power of the Month.” The Power of Moms was recently awarded “Most Inspirational Blog” by Studio 5, a major television program in Utah, and continues to receive excellent reviews from mothers around the world who have noticed significant changes in their families as a result of their interaction with the website.
Originally published September 15, 2011.