It’s fair to say that mothers need all the help they can get. Family and friends can step in, of course, but what about things like getting lactation advice, finding support groups, programs for kids, and most of all, finding other like-minded mothers?
Some metro areas seem to have lots of resources, but two Detroit residents connected over what they felt was a real lack of community in their city.
The result was Detroit Mama Hub, a community that offers support and education to moms and kids. Its motto: Motherhood is Better Together.
Detroit Mama Hub co-founders Jalyn Spencer-Harris and Alex Fluegel joined The Next Idea to discuss their new organization.
In 2013, Spencer-Harris moved back to Detroit from Baltimore when she was pregnant with her daughter.
She noticed a “big difference” in the support available for pregnant women between the two cities, she said.
“Detroit moms should have those resources available to them that I was able to easily take advantage of when I was in Baltimore,” she said. Spencer-Harris noticed both gaps in practical services — like pre-natal fitness classes and childbirth education — and the lack of a supportive community. In Baltimore, she said, “the people that I connected with ended up being like my second families.”
Fluegel moved to Detroit from Grand Rapids with her daughter, then two-and-a-half, and was disappointed with the lack of assistance for working moms. “I wanted to find flexible workspace and childcare, and that was really difficult for me,” she said. “That was where the spark came for my idea of creating a space where moms could co-work, have very flexible hours, and find additional resources that support their lives as professionals or working moms or entrepreneurs.”
Three years after creating a Facebook group to create a better community, Spencer-Harris won a Motor City Match award and joined a business-planning program, where she met Fluegel. The two compared their ideas about helping Detroit moms and decided to create Detroit Mama Hub.
Detroit Mama Hub offers services, education, and resources for moms and their children in Detroit. Not currently in a brick-and-mortar location, the Hub works in various spaces and with several organizations, like Ponyride, a co-working space, Kidz Kingdom, and the Fort Street Presbyterian Church, said Spencer-Harris.
“Kids are welcome to attend everything that we offer. All of our support groups have always been open to moms bringing their children of any age,” said Fluegel. That allows moms to work more easily while their children are still young. “The kids got to see, this is a place where our moms come to work,” she added. The kids also meet with their peers while their moms do the same.
For the full conversation, listen below.
The Next Idea is Michigan Radio’s project devoted to new innovations and ideas that will change our state.