Moms and Munchkins: Anthem group brings the mothers of young children together

Moms and Munchkins 

Anthem group brings the mothers of young children together.

By Sondra Barr

Photos by Shannon Fisher Photography

The Anthem Moms and Munchkins (M&Ms) group was started nine years ago by a local mom as a way to connect mothers and their young children. Created specifically for moms with children up to 5 years old, the group provides a myriad of opportunities for learning, growth, and socialization with fun, hands-on activities.

The meetup opportunities are a fun mix of outings for moms and kiddos that are designed to foster creativity, inquisitiveness, and community. Recent meetups included a tour of the Daisy Mountain Veterinary Hospital, a noodle making class, a trip to Odysea Aquarium, and a splash pad bash.

“There’s usually something going on Monday through Friday,” says Jen McIntyre, M&Ms new member coordinator and mom to a 3 and 5 year old. “People pick and chose what events they want to attend. There are all kinds of events from arts and crafts, a little chefs program, a little scientist’s program, indoor activities at the Science Center for field trips, splash pad and train ride play dates…”

The activities are the creations of the members. Each member is required to host a minimum of one event per quarter. Often times, moms opt to co-host events. “A mom will say, ‘Hey, do you want to do a dino play date for the kids? I’ll bring the food, you bring the activity,’ It’s low key, but always super fun for the kids,” says Jen.

“I’ve met some amazing mommies in this group. And, they have provided unbelievable support and friendship to me,” says Jentri Young, mom to 4-year-old Dylan and Jax, 1. A working mother, when Jentri attended her first M&Ms meet-up, she knew she’d found a tribe of like-minded moms upon moving back to Anthem after living in Belize for a few years.

Amanda Huntington, a stay-at-home mom and one of M&Ms lead organizers, has lived in Anthem since 2009. Mother to three, she joined the group when her firstborn was 8 months old. “We’ve been to almost 800 meetups,” she says. Amanda explains that getting out of the house, especially for new moms with their first child, is important and can lessen feelings of isolation and loneliness.

“When my son started kindergarten, we knew half his class from the moms’ group. He came home and talked about kids and I knew whom he was talking about because I knew their parents. He’s been playing with them since he was a baby,” says Amanda.

“What’s really cool is that it’s an independent group, so it’s not tied to any organization. It’s all just run by families for the families of the group,” says Jen. “There’s no requirement for attending events. Come to as many or as little as you want,” says Jen.

Currently about 70 families are members of the M&Ms. After a 30-day free trial, the cost to join is $26 per year, which helps cover meetup costs, supplies and equipment, holiday parties, and quarterly birthday celebrations, along with new member meetups.

Prior to joining, new members must be “approved” before they’re given access to the M&Ms message board and calendar for safety reasons. This includes a public meetup with Jen to verify that the prospective member is a bona fide parent in the community.

“I’ve made lasting friendships. I know that these women that I’ve shared this special time raising our young children together will be life-long friends of mine. The same with the kids. It’s cool to see their little friendships bloom,” says Jen.

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