Moms unite at Saturday event

MARSHALL – There are a lot of great moms out there, Danielle Wilts said. And when they come together, it can be a powerful thing.

That was the idea brought home on Saturday, during the first-ever Moms’ Expo at Marshall High School. More than 40 area women attended the event, which included short classes, refreshments and a chance for moms to meet.

Sessions at the Moms’ Expo covered a variety of topics, from parenting to getting organized. Sharing personal experiences was a big part of the learning going on, however. Wilts, one of the main organizers of the expo, said the event’s planning committee intended it to be that way. It was even part of the inspiration for the event.

Wilts shared her story with attendees over breakfast and coffee. She said part of the idea for the expo came from her own experiences returning to work after the birth of her third child.

“I felt like my days were just flying by,” Wilts said. She started paying attention to other mothers in the community, and the things they were doing in parenting and life. “I thought, wouldn’t it be a great idea to get them all together in one place?”

Wilts said expo planners had found “a great group of speakers” for the event. Attendees split into smaller groups for classroom sessions on the topics that interested them most.

In one of the morning sessions, about 10 women gathered to learn “Parenting With Love and Logic” skills with speaker Kim Sanow.

Part of the session focused on how to raise and discipline kids without being either a hovering parent or an authoritarian. Children can learn from the consequences of “affordable” mistakes, like not being ready for school on time, she said.

However, parents should intervene in situations where there’s a definite danger or problem.

“Would running away from you at the store be affordable or unaffordable?” Sanow asked.

“Unaffordable, because you don’t know what’s going to happen (to the child),” an audience member answered.

The women attending the expo on Saturday said they had a variety of reasons they wanted to attend. Some hoped to use the things they learned as parents, put them toward continuing their education as a licensed child care provider, or to help prepare for being a foster parent.

“It’s something I thought would be helpful for day care,” said Jo Schroepfer of Ghent. Schroepfer said she called up a friend, Melissa Doose, and the two attended the expo together.

“I’m interested in the session on raising resilient kids,” Doose said.

Of course, they said, it was also nice to take some time for themselves.

“We know how nice it is to have a breakfast where you don’t have to help anybody,” Wilts joked.

Schroepfer said she appreciated getting the chance to network with the other women at the expo.

“I like going to things like this, because you can meet new people,” she said.