Being a stay-at-home mother of a 3 month old means I don’t get out much. At least, that’s been my experience. Because my son takes 3-5 naps of varying lengths a day, it leaves little time to plan any significant events. So, unfortunately, my plans to get out and explore the available activities in Salinas have largely been foiled by his lack of a predictable schedule. Needless to say, in order to maintain some semblance of sanity, I try to force myself to go on at least one outing a week where I interact with other adults. Luckily, there is a resource available right here in Salinas that allows me the ability to fulfill that requirement, not to mention provide an entire list of other valuable things.
Just a heads up, The Parent Center in Salinas has not compensated me in any way to write this article. These are 100% my true, real-life experiences and feelings regarding this place. Granted, I have not experienced everything The Parent Center has to offer quite yet, but my experiences are solely my own with no outside influence.
The Parent Center is located at the Salinas Adult School on Sherwood Place, not far from the Rodeo Grounds. We are lucky enough to live only about 5 minutes away from this location, but considering it is located quite centrally within Salinas, I can’t see it being very far from most places in town. This is vital when A. Your child only stays awake for an hour and a half at a time and B. your child does not like riding in the car. So, for me anyway, the location is ideal.
They offer classes that range from pregnancy to preschool with Mommy and Me classes for those years in-between. In my opinion, for moms with infants too young to be in school on their own, the Mommy and Me classes are an amazing resource. Especially for those moms who decide to stay at home from work for an extended period of time. We often lack interaction with adults other than the occasional visit or help from immediate family or perhaps a few friends, if we’re lucky. Being able to talk with other new moms that are experiencing the same frustrations, successes, physical changes and emotions is priceless when facing the unknown of parenthood. Even moms that are on their second, third, or fourth child are welcomed wholeheartedly as they often offer wisdom and comfort to first-timers, or they come seeking reassurance for the new challenges that each pregnancy and child is bound to present.
Being able to talk with other new moms that are experiencing the same frustrations, successes, physical changes and emotions is priceless when facing the unknown of parenthood.
Sometimes, all I need in the middle of the week, in the midst of little sleep, emotional hardships, and hundreds of diaper changes is to sit on the floor with other moms going through the same thing. We sing to our babies together. We pull out the parachute and watch them smile (or cry!) as the colors swirl around them. We do crafts. We learn about different baby-related topics. Sometimes we bring food and we eat. But, most of all, we talk, and we reassure each other that our best effort and our love is all our children ever really require.
These facilities are priceless to our community. They encourage education for both children and parents. They create strong relationships between families and children. As our children grow older, they will move on to other classes together. They may work in the family garden together, learning how their food is grown and harvested. And we, as mothers and fathers, will watch them grow together, depending on each other for community for years to come.
This place is becoming increasingly more important to me as well. There are weeks when this is literally the only time I get out of the house. Even if my son is crying and cranky, we pack it up, get in the car and go to class because I know that even if he has a complete meltdown, I will not be judged and, if anything, I’ll have more help to calm him down.
So, thank you Parent Center, you are keeping at least one mother sane in this town and I truly believe that you are making our community a better place.
To learn more about the Parent Center and its available resources (which, as noted above also include Lamaze childbirth classes and the only nationally accredited preschool in Salinas) or to sign up for classes, visit their website here.