If you are currently living somewhere that does not have a club for parents of multiples, then you might have a new calling. I know, I know you might be thinking, “Are you crazy? How I am supposed to start a twin club? Remember I’m a parent of multiples here!” Yes, you are, and you are rocking at it! Yet you still need that in-person connection and I know there are parents of multiples around you that want to connect too. The truth of the matter is research continues to show us motherhood can be a lonely place if we don’t have the right kind of support.
Scientific America Mind magazine recently published research showing the effects being a new parent can have on the brain. They found that new mothers who receive inadequate social support may struggle to feel happy and are more likely to experience depression from the overwhelming amount of work a new baby can bring (…ah, try two or more new babies.) They also feel pressure to show and feel this constant state of bliss and fulfillment with their new role. Their research found that women were going back to work because of the loneliness they felt. However, they found that mothers with a strong social support network who have confidence in their ability to parent were 75 percent less likely to be depressed than mothers who had no advantage.
Think about it. You are mostly likely getting your information from your favorite twin website (aka Twiniversity). You are getting hands-on support from your partner, friends, and family (I hope). But what about that emotional support or those affirmations that only a fellow parent of multiples can provide, because they just get it?
I reached out the president of Multiples of America (formerly known as The National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs), Melodie Wisniewski, to find out how you can start a twin club in your area. Multiples of America is the national association that is the umbrella for many clubs for parents of multiples in our country. They offer their registered clubs a handful of benefits that make it so easy to make your club a reality.
How does someone start a twin club in their area? My first thought would be, “Does it need to be formal right from the get go?” I’m afraid that would turn people off.
Melodie: Please do not be afraid to start a club! It does not have to be formal, with forms and rules and regulations… it can simply start out as a couple parents of multiples wanting to share their trials and tribulations of raising multiples with others, sharing their expertise, sharing laughs and tears, and maybe learning something new from others along the way.
Twiniversity Tip: Find local multiples parents by writing a short ad (“Twin mom seeking other twins moms to get together and chat. PM me if interested!”) and post it in safe online communities, such as the Twiniversity Forums, Twiniversity Facebook page, Multiples of America Facebook page, and local moms Facebook groups (search by your city and “moms group”). Start a private Facebook group for people who responded to your ad. Plan your first meet up at a public place like a coffee shop. Meetup.com is another great resource to plan your events!
After I find some local multiples parents, and we’ve found time to meet (crazy right?), even started a Facebook page, what do we do next if we want to become more “official”?
Melodie: Contact our Executive Office for information on starting a club. We will send you a packet of information including a copy of How to Organize A Club. Because each potential new club’s situation is unique, it is difficult to give out specific information. We prefer to work with you directly, on a one-on-one basis, to assist you with every question that you may have. Every situation is unique, and may lead to additional support services as needed.
There is a Membership Committee that is available to assist with questions or help problem solve throughout the organizing process and after a new club is formed. The Membership Committee keeps in contact with prospective new clubs at 3 months and 6 months in to offer assistance. Once a new club is formed, the Membership Committee keeps in contact after the first month of formation, and every few months thereafter or as needed by the new club.
What kind of help do you provide new clubs?
Melodie: We have a Club Tips section that is posted in Members Only section of the webpage that covers such topics as tips for the individual positions (president, membership chairman, secretary, etc.), tips on creating professional looking correspondence, tips on marketing the club, as well as tips for dealing with difficult situations.
What is the cost and benefits a twin club receives when they join Multiples of America?
Melodie: As a member club of Multiples of America, your club and club contacts are listed in our database. When a prospective parent of multiples puts their zip code or city in the Find a Local Club area, links to a listing of local clubs and their websites are pulled up.
The cost for annual dues is the total number of members in club @ $10.00 per member. A club must consist of at least four (4) members and must submit dues for all members of the club. All member clubs must be in compliance with Multiple of America’s bylaws and standing rules. There is an application fee of one time only for news club at $30. There is a late fee of $20 for those who do not renew their club dues by September 30.
The main benefit for registering your twin club with Multiples of America is your group can receive Group Exemption Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Status Under Multiples of America’s Umbrella. This status allows your club to fundraise, collect donations, and keep funds in account named under your club rather than an individual member’s name. For more details on the 501(c)(3) status, visit the Club Benefits section of our website at http://www.multiplesofamerica.org/club-benefits.
This is great information. Thank you so much Melodie!
Melodie: We all started out our clubs with one common bond – parents of multiples. We all wanted to just help someone else have a better day. As more and more of us did that, clubs were formed, and eventually an organization called Multiples of America. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, ask for advice. That’s what we are here for! And that’s what Twinversity is here for too – to help you find the resources you need to find places like Multiples of America!
Victoria Worch loves being a mom of one plus twins. She is a writer for Multiplicity Magazine and twiniversity.com She recently returned to work part-time as an academic advisor for Chemistry and Biology students at Dominican University of CA. She is fueled by green tea, yoga, dark chocolate, and family trips to the coast. You can follow her on her blog,Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she posts photos of inspirational and mindful quotes written on her front entry way blackboard. #blackboardquotes #cafevic