What a difference four years makes. Just ask Katie Halle Lambert of Ahwatukee.
In 2014, she was a first-time mom “and I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I felt isolated. I was looking for advice, looking for friends,” she recalled.
Four years later, she has found about 5,200 friends across the East Valley.
A Realtor who owns Team EvoAZ realty agency with husband Matt,Lambert started a Facebook page to attract moms.
She found about a dozen of them, and since then, “it’s grown exponentially.”
And thus was born MOMnationAZ.
Its website, MOMnationaz.com, is loaded with blogs, podcasts, events and other helpful information for new and experienced moms alike.
“This group is for play dates, get-togethers, personal growth, business growth, wants and needs, questions, and a forum for moms to share information,” its website explains.
In a few weeks, it will even start a YouTube.com reality show called – what else? – “Inside Mom Nation.”
The site also is devoted to helping “momtrepeneurs,” women raising kids and running a business at the same time.
“We have a farmers market-type event that we run October through March that features only moms who hand-make their items,” Lambert added. “It’s really catching fire. We had over 200 attendees at our last market. We did a big summer bash last weekend with an indoor market, but mainly our market is only October through March.”
Mesa business owner Emilie Nikolich noted, “My life is busy. MOMnation gives me an opportunity to plug in when I can on a social and professional level and I never feel like I have missed a thing.”
Added Jeni Cohen, a Mesa mom of five, “I was a little shy and hesitant about meeting new people before I joined this group over three years ago and now I can’t imagine life without them. The variety of events and opportunities that group provides help moms of all personality types find real friends that they click with.”
There are close to 500 women waiting to join the group.
They are women whom Lambert and her team have to check out, just to make sure they are who they say they are. “We’re not super-picky but we want to make sure they’re moms,” Lambert explained.
Later this month, for the second consecutive year, MOMnation is planning its biggest social event of the year – a Prom for Parents to be held 6-11 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Crowne Plaza in Chandler.
More than 100 couples, and probably some singles, can buy tickets for $28 each and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and non-alcoholic beverages – there’s a cash bar – and dance to a professional DJ.
The admission ticket also gets guests into a raffle for a number of prizes – all donated by the members who have businesses or work for one.
“As parents, we don’t have many opportunities to get together and party the night away old school style,” said Lambert, adding that the them this year is Masquerade Ball. Last year’s was an ’80s theme.
Attendees don’t necessarily have to dress in a costume, she said, but those who don’t might feel like they stick out in the crowd – especially if they find themselves in contention for the prom king and queen, which is part of the program.
The prom might be the biggest social event of the year for MOMnation, but it’s not the only one.
“I really enjoy the social opportunities that MOMnation offers but I also love diving in and helping with all the awesome events the group organizes throughout the year,” said Jessica Nelson, a mother of four who not only attended PROM2017 but also helped with decorations and organizing the evening’s agenda.
“Just like the high school prom, some moms that have attended the event in the past say their emotions and confidence can be a rollercoaster ride,” Lambert said. “All agree that the annual Prom for Parents is an amazing way to recharge their social batteries and meet new friends.”
Lambert, whose son, Jaxin, is now a little over 4 years old, said she’s pleased with the way MOMNation has taken off because “I like to help women grow.”
Tickets for the Prom for Parents are still available and can be obtained at Eventbrite.com. Just plug “MOMnationAZ in the search field on the home page. Information about the group itself is at MOMnationAZ.com or by emailing MOMnationAZ@gmail.com.