In the beginning, there was Danica (And she was good.).
In September of 2012, Danica, then a mother of two and a PhD student working on her dissertation, started a small Facebook group called Academic Mommies. It was intended as a space for her fellow graduate student-mothers to gather and support one another as they balanced school, writing, and parenting. Within a day, it had become Smarty Mommies as Danica and the first members sought to add mom friends from outside Academia to join. In a giddy Faberge Organics “she told two friends, and she told two friends” kind of way, the group soon ballooned to its current capped population of 150 as its members added fellow moms to its ranks. The group’s identity as a supportive, sassy, and smart place to figure out work, relationships, parenting, and life began to solidify.
In the middle, there was Christina (That’s me! I can see my name from here!).
Danica and I grew up in the same small Washington State town and were friends in high school. A year ahead of me in school, she left for college and we lost touch until sometime in the 2000’s, when we found each other first on Myspace and then on Facebook. She lived on the east coast at the time, and I was living in Seattle, so our friendship was close but largely virtual. So, when she started Smarty Mommies just a few weeks after I gave birth to my second daughter, it made sense that she’d bend the rules and change the name to allow this former English teacher and occasional writer into the group. I fell in love with the group immediately and remain immensely grateful to all the Smarties for helping me get through those first difficult months as a mother of two. I can’t imagine what my days would be like without the friends I’ve made through the Smarty Mommy community, some of whom have become like family over the years.
And, as a grand finale, there was Shannon.
Shannon is one of the OSM’s, Original Smarty Mommies, from the first days of the group’s inception. Once she joined, Shannon quickly found her place as the thoughtful and wise heart of the group. A mother of two, a writer, and a former English teacher, Shannon has historically been the first to welcome new members, offer kindness to struggling Smarties, celebrate members’ victories, and delivered gentle come-to-Jesus-talkings-to when needed. Her ability to build community with warmth, strength, and clarity has helped foster an atmosphere of encouragement within Smarty Mommies in which we’ve all found growth and support.
And, my, how we’ve grown with such rich collaboration! Within the Smarty Mommies, we now have numerous subgroups for those interested in writing, finance, career development, health and fitness, food, and potty training (yikes!), just to name a few. Danica is now a mother of three and is helping to create her dream department in her dream job back in the Pacific Northwest. Christina has gone from merely thinking about her dreams of writing and creative collaboration to actually working toward them. And Shannon, who just a couple of years ago was hoping one day to be a published writer, now writes regularly for a number of online publications. The power of Smarties is vast, and that’s why we’re starting this website. Because we can’t add all of you to our group, Smarty Mommy readers, the next best thing is to share what we’ve learned together with you through this vehicle, smartymommies.com. We aim to bring you the best of us, through blogging, guest contributors, gathered resources, and, ultimately, print publications, so that you can find the best in yourselves.
As our manifesto states, and it bears repeating, the world is tough on Smarties and Mommies. Let’s find understanding, support, growth, and engagement here. Together.