CELEBRATIONS come and go with regularity, most often marked by years. And this has become the norm for members of a mothers’ group in Mt Martha celebrating their decade-long friendship.
Although not related, the 11 families have kept pace with each other, watching their children progress through various stages of growth and schooling.
Some have moved away, but the bonds remain.
The families were brought together when the mothers joined a group organised through Mornington Peninsula Shire’s maternal and child health centre at the Bentons Square Community Centre, Mornington.
“The mother’s group started 10 years ago and is still going strong,” Karen Lloyd said.
“We are so grateful that this group was made available; the support and advice that we were given was invaluable. We became each other’s babysitters, shoulders to cry on and support. We have celebrated so many milestones together and still rely on each other for advice on how to raise these cheeky little monkeys.
“The kids call each other their surrogate brothers and sisters, if they don’t have any, and we are all second mums and dads to all of them.”
As part of their 10-year celebration the mothers “re-enacted” some photos taken when their children “were bubs, and now they are all 10, with many siblings”.
Ms Lloyd said nine of the 11 original mothers’ group families were at the celebration.
“We still all catch up and support each other – sometimes at our houses, sometimes at parks,” she said.
The 11 mothers who made up the group were Ms Lloyd, Michelle Lawrence, Lee Cadman, Alison Murphy, Olivia Ellul , Jo Johnson, Carissa Meagher, Danyel Christie, Kim Harris, Megan Elliot and Kylie Donnelly.
The original group of toddlers – Tessa, Charlotte, Helena, Brody L, Tora, Rubie, Lucy, James, Lily, Bentley, Brody J – were later joined by siblings Lachie, Eli, Summer, Jack, Mason, Ollie, Matilda, Max, Grace, Kobi, Audrey and Brax.
Since meeting each other in April 2008, the mothers have celebrated their anniversary at various venues, including Myuna Farm (Doveton), Mornington Park, Santa’s Place (Moorooduc), riding on the historic Puffing Billy steam train and making caravan trips.
The extended families include three children who were born on the same day, two at the The Bays hospital, Mornington, at the same time without their mothers realising it until comparing notes after joining the mothers’ group.
Ms Lloyd said four of the children at the mothers’ group “ended up going to Osborne Primary School together” while others went to St Macartan’s in Mornington, Mt Martha Primary and Benton Junior College.
Some of the children attend the same ballet school while others are members of the same netball and football teams.
“We have a massive Christmas party every year and try to get all the fathers there,” Ms Lloyd said.
“They say it takes a community to raise a child, well, we are certainly trying to foster one together.”