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Mother’s group grows on Facebook

When Jennifer Samuels moved to Oxford about five years ago she looked for a way to connect to other mothers in the area to meet new friends and maybe form some play groups. After not finding what she was looking for she and a couple of friends decided to just start their own group.

“I had the idea from living in other towns where I was in a mom’s group,” Gallagher said. “But there was nothing like it here. I wanted a place to try to plan events where moms could meet up, a support network.”

She and Meghan Gallagher, also fairly new to Oxford, created the Oxford Mom and Tots Facebook group and started to invite the few mothers they knew to join. Today, the group has more than 1,900 members that include moms, caretakers, nannies, grandmothers and more.

“Originally, we would get just typical ‘mom’ questions,” Samuels said. “But it’s grown from that and become a great resource for parents and especially newcomers to Oxford.”

Moms ask for advice about teething, colic and handling temper tantrums. Others ask whom the best doctor is in Oxford or the best place to bring a car for repairs.

A lot of work

Sometimes, Gallagher admits, the Facebook can be quite a bit of work to manage and make sure the posts are positive and meet the rules of the group.

“No one wants to read anything negative about his or her kids or business,” she said. “But it’s really a great place to meet people.”

Gallagher said since starting the Mom and Tots group her own circle of friends has tripled.

“It was a lonely experience at first,” she said. “I was attending graduate school at Ole Miss and none of our friends really had kids so we weren’t invited out to do the things we used to do. But now, I know so many people. We’ve had all kinds of diverse groups come out and it’s been really fun to learn different things from different cultures.”

Soon after starting the website, the group created www.oxfordmomsandtots.com that serves as a community calendar filled with events all geared toward children.

“I feel like the website if really the best part,” Gallagher said. “That’s where moms can go and find events for their children, either ones in the community or when we’re holding our own play dates.”

The group tries to have one or two play dates a month, usually at a local park. Sometimes a member opens their home to the group. Gallagher will be hosting a cookie decorating even at her home in January.

“Everyone is welcome to our play dates and events,” Gallagher said. “Most times we just ask people to RSVP so we can plan how many are coming.”

Samuels said those wishing to advertise a community event geared toward children can email her or Gallagher at jenncassisa@yahoo.com or gallagher.me@gmail.com.

“Generally if it’s a free event, we don’t charge,” she said. “We also sell advertising space on the website for local businesses which helps with keeping up the website.”