The NAMC's roots stretch back to the early 1970s when a social worker in Nassau County, New York, named Patsy Turrini noticed some of her patients felt conflicted and lacked confidence in their new role as mothers. They felt alone and didn't know where to turn for help. Her concern led to a research study that involved some 40 women, who met regularly to discuss the issues they were facing--along with some possible solutions.
The women found the meetings to be educational and therapeutic. In fact, when the research project ended, they continued to meet and eventually formed the first Mothers' Center, under the auspices of the Family Service Association (FSA) of Nassau County. Word soon spread about the center and the difference it was making in the lives of the women involved. The founding volunteers began getting calls from women all over the United States, wanting to know how to start centers in their own communities. With the help of the founders, Mothers' Centers soon took hold in other parts of the country and in Germany, too.
In response to the demand for information, the FSA helped organize the Mothers' Center Development Project (MCDP). Lorri Slepian, a social worker and one of the founders of the original Mothers' Center, co-directed the project. She and her co-leaders secured funding to hire a small staff. The appearance of Lorri Slepian , NAMC Co-Founder, speaking from the audience on The Phil Donahue Show and a feature article in Parents magazine about support available for mothers at Mothers' Centers in 1984 led to more than 10,000 inquiries from women around the country!
By 1991, the MCDP had grown into an independent organization: the National Association of Mothers' Centers (NAMC). Its purpose was to develop a national support network and serve as a resource for Mothers' Centers across the United States. The number of centers and their programs continue to grow; NAMC continues to nurture and foster that growth. There are now Mothers' Centers meeting in Family Place Libraries, we have an active, informative parenting blog called Mothers Central and we offer parenting webinars. The NAMC also provides an enews with resources and information.
The NAMC's focus on work/life issues began early on as it witnessed the changes women were going through in their working lives. The NAMC heard their members throughout the 1980s when women in greater numbers were taking advantage of the opportunity to enter professions that had been predominantly male in the 70s. In the 90s its members were re-entering the workforce more quickly after childbirth and adoption and pressures to work longer and harder increased. It became clear that not only were mothers handling a double load of both work and family responsibilities, they were also time starved to address any of their own needs.
As a result, the NAMC began addressing work/life issues of working parents with an annual Work/Life Conference instituted in 1996. This program allows employers and employees alike to explore issues in the work/life integration arena. Nationally recognized experts and corporate leaders share their insights into how workplace flexibility and family-friendly policies make good business sense. The NAMC became the host of the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility in 2009, to encourage companies to apply and to highlight best practices that benefit both employers and employees.
NAMC's Advocacy Initiative
Despite the many joys and rewards of motherhood, mothering can have long-term and often unanticipated economic repercussions for women and their families. In 2001, following the publication of a highly acclaimed book, The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is the Least Valued, the NAMC invited the author to deliver the keynote address at our national conference. Ann Crittenden's powerful presentation--and the dismaying facts documented in her book--inspired the creation of our Advocacy Initiative.
This Advocacy Initiative launched in 2002, (originally entitled Mothers Ought To Have Equal Rights (MOTHERS). It was spearheaded by the NAMC in collaboration with Crittenden and other authors and activists. The NAMC's advocacy effort is an economic rights initiative with a clear mission: to spark discussion and drive change at both grassroots and national levels about the economic impact and value of caregiving work.
Through the NAMC's Advocacy Initiative we've brought together thousands of people who want to improve the economic security of mothers and other caregivers.
Mothers Central Blog is created and generates lively discussion thanks to the musings and sharing of Kate Fineske.
First Annual Mile for Mothers Walk: Walk a Mile in Mom's Shoes to highlight the value of everything mothers do on a daily basis.
NAMC became the regional host for the national Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility.
NAMC launches its BEST Program: Best in Business, Best in Life for employers to bring in as a benefit to their employees and to empower employees to find creative solutions to managing their work, family and life responsibilities in ways that work for them and their families.
NAMC offers its 24th National Conference, MOTHERS '08 - Thinking Beyond Ourselves & Beyond Today including a historic gathering of mothers' organizations from around the country.
NAMC launches its Parenting in the 21st Century seminar and webinar series featuring speakers on topics from "How to Have it All..." to "Financing a Family" created to address the needs of parents at all stages of parenting. The seminars provide an added benefit to members and allow NAMC to expand its outreach to a wider audience.
Launched Your (Wo)man in Washington blog to bring mothers and others pertinent policy discussions and news on issues that affect mothers, fathers, other caregivers and families.
The NAMC launches an elder-care component of its New Neighborhood work site program, for people caring for aging parents.
The NAMC's headquarters relocate to the historic Elias Hicks house in Jericho, New York.
The MOTHERS Initiative premiers an e-card for Mother's Day on its home page. The card leads to a viral campaign about paid family leave efforts in several states.
Valerie Young, NAMC's advocacy coordinator, submits a white paper detailing economic issues around mothering, caregiving, and legislative solutions that would address them at the request of Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY).
The NAMC launches its monthly eNews, an email update that includes a new DC Dispatch column to keep readers informed about policy issues that impact families. The MOTHERS eNews is now going out monthly reaching subscribers nationwide.
The NAMC hosts a successful press event and luncheon with the Women's Media Center in New York City to publicize our CEASEFIRE petition, against the "Mommy Wars." The campaign resulted in significant media coverage and partnerships with other organizations. We collected thousands of signatures on the petition.
The NAMC's CEASEFIRE in the "Mommy Wars" campaign gets national coverage. An online petition takes the media to task for fanning the flames of a non-existent "war" between at-home and working moms.
At the International Mothers' Center Conference (www.mine.cc) in Bratislava, Slovakia, the NAMC plays a leading role in creating an international policy paper and Platform of Action signed by women from 22 countries. The paper states, in part, "We, mothers of all ages from nine to ninety, feel responsibility for our future as well as for the future of our children."
The first Circle of Caring postpartum support groups are offered at Mothers' Centers in collaboration with the Postpartum Resource Center of New York, with support from the Long Island Fund for Women & Girls.
NAMC launches a periodic MOTHERS eNews to keep subscribers up to date with public policy discussions and other discussions related to the economic impact of being a mother.
The NAMC drafts a Mothers' Declaration of Rights to increase awareness of the economic, social, educational, psychological and physical needs of mothers and the rights they deserve.
The NAMC co-founds the Mothers Ought to Have Equal Rights (MOTHERS) Initiative with author Ann Crittenden and other writers and activists, to highlight the economic impact of being a caregiver. Annual Mother's Day Actions and a website www.MothersOughtToHaveEqualRights.org to provide information and encourage involvement.
The NAMC is chosen as Organization of the Year by the Long Island Women's Agenda.
The NAMC participates in the Grassroots Women's International Academy in Salzgitter Germany in conjunction with the International Expo 2000. The submission of the NAMC's best practices was ranked 140 out of 2000 entries submitted internationally.
The National Association of Mothers' Centers endorses the grass roots efforts of the Million Mom March for sensible gun laws, to be held on Mothers' Day, 2000.
The NAMC launches The New Neighborhood ©, a worksite support program for parents. The Program offers info, support & networking for working parents on site at their workplace.
The NAMC develops the Mothers Make a Difference! program for teen mothers and women in emergency and transitional housing.
The NAMC creates a cross-cultural Mother-Daughter Leadership Program for mothers and their 11- to 13-year-old daughters. The program is designed to strengthen their relationship at a critical time in the girls' lives.
The NAMC holds its first annual Long Island Work/Life Conference, which brings together leaders in the field of work/life integration to discuss what works for corporations and for employees. The conference demonstrates how policies and practices that acknowledge and support work/life struggles benefit employers' bottom lines.
Mothers' Center staff & members attend the German National Mothers' Center Conference in Munich, Germany.
The Mothers' Center network grows beyond the scope of Family Service Association, and the National Association of Mothers' Centers (NAMC) forms as an independent, non-profit organization under the direction of Lorri Slepian, a social worker and co-founder of the first Mothers' Center, and Linda Landsman, a Sunrise Mothers' Center founder and alumna.
Over one hundred centers are formed before a formal membership structure is put in place. Our partnership with the YWCA results in Mothers' Center programs in Ys across the country.
Collaboration with YWCA USA brings Mothers' Center training and programs to many local YWCAs.
An appearance on the Phil Donohue Show by, Lorri Slepian, Co-Founder of the Mothers' Centers, who spoke from the audience and a feature article in Parents magazine about support available for mothers at Mothers' Centers kick-start the growth of centers all over the country.
The Mothers' Center Development Project is formed under the auspices of Family Service Association of Nassau County NY in order to meet the demand for information about starting new Mothers' Centers.
A group of about 17 women out of the 40 from the original research project worked together for a year to create the Mothers' Center model. A few of them worked on the manual - edited by Hope Zimmerman - which they publish and distribute to help women around the country start centers in their communities. The first Mothers' Center conference is held at Adelphi University in New York.
About 17 mothers involved in a research project open the first Mothers' Center in Hicksville, New York. Their goal is to create a place where mothers can learn and support each other.