Friends indeed: Aky Moms Club facilitates parenting, friendship

May 11—ASHLAND — Local mothers have banded together via social media to help each other find resources, parenting advice and friends.

The Facebook group Aky Moms Club Inc. marked two years this year.

"I had my first child in 2019, and after having him, I had a hard time adjusting to motherhood," Carly Conley Thomas said. "Specifically, I was a young mother with little to no idea what I was doing."

Stevie Groce of Summit tells a similar story.

"I was a stay-at-home mom and Carly and I just kind of started talking and decided we needed something for education or play dates," Groce said. "I'm a first-time mom. I felt like for us to meet new moms going through the same stages, we thought we should start a group."

Thomas made a post of her personal Facebook page asking local mothers if they'd be interested in a group to share advice and connect.

"The response was great," she said. "I had no idea it would turn into over 4,000 members and a lot of new, personal connections and friendships." She said the group also is a source of friends for the children.

You don't even have to be a mom to join, Groce said.

"I was raised by my grandmother and my aunt," she said. "Mom was like a fun big sister. Just because it says 'mommas' does mean you can't be a guardian. We call it 'your person.'"

While most of the members are from the Ashland area, some live out of town and visit family in the area; they like the group for helping them find activities and resources while they're visiting, Thomas said.

Groce said each season, there are a couple of children's activities, like get-togethers at Central Park and Barker Farm, where children and see and interact with children. There's a walking group for moms and moms' nights out at various restaurants in the area.

"We even have an annual conference specifically tailored to local moms," Thomas said.

As the group grew, the need emerged for more informational resources, so AKY Moms Buy, Sell, Trade was born, which has about 2,500 members and helps moms find specific items and "free stuff."

There also is help for those in need: Groce said the created spreadsheets to make it easier to find resources for everything from diapers and food to bills and medical care.

"We've been very lucky, no problems," she said. "We've been abled to help anyone who needs food, formula and diapers. It's rough times. Everyone needs help."

Having a fulltime job and two children is already a lot of work, so Thomas said she relies on group members to help.

"There are several moms that help me with the bulk of the work," she said. I'm so thankful that the group has grown to what it is now, but that means more activities, a variety of activities, social media management, etc. I couldn't do it without the team of moms that help me."