The MOMS Club, an international support group for at-home mothers, is starting a new chapter in the Astoria area.

"With so many mothers working outside the home today, it can be extremely hard for stay-at-home mothers to meet each other," said Denise Stone, founder and president of the new local group. "The MOMS Club allows at-home mothers to get together in a supportive atmosphere."

What makes the group unique, Stone said - aside from the fact that it is the only international organization specifically for at-home mothers - is the wide range of activities allowed under the MOMS Club banner. Monthly meetings will present interesting speakers and topics for discussions, but the group may also arrange play groups, special outings for mothers or their children, holiday activities and service projects benefiting needy children in the community.

In addition, the group will sponsor special "activity groups" that will allow members to share similar interests. "Typically activity groups include playgroups for preschoolers, babysitting co-ops, a monthly MOMS Night Out, exercise classes, brunch get-togethers and arts and crafts. Whatever mothers are interested in, we're able to do!" Stone said.

Because the MOMS Club is a support group specifically for the mother-at-home, all meetings are held during the day and mothers may bring children to anything the club does.

"We don't believe that a mother should be isolated just because she has children," she continued. "Mothers who stay home often can't - or won't - leave their children with a sitter during the day. Therefore, children are welcome at anything we do."

Stone said she hopes that mothers from neighboring towns will call for information about joining the Astoria club or starting a MOMS Club in their area.

"There are currently 1,800 MOMS Clubs across the county," Stone said, "and all of them were started by individual mothers who wanted to meet other at-home mothers near them."

An open house for mothers interested in learning more about the Astoria MOMS Club is planned for the near future. For information, call Stone at 325-2817.

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