Becoming a mom is a life-changing event. For Jennifer Monness, this journey into motherhood was an awakening of sorts as it made her realize just how transformative it is. She went from feeling extremely confident with her early childhood background to feeling really isolated and unsure, which inspired her to cofound Union Square Play.
Jennifer was always drawn to children and this was one of the main reasons she decided to become a teacher. She has prepared students for entering some of the most prestigious schools in New York and has served as the educational director of many early childhood centers. In her time as a teacher, she had accumulated a wealth of useful information which she decided to share with others via her blog, Mo’ Mommies, which she launched in 2017. And it was the launch and success of her blog that eventually led to the creation of the tight-knit community of parents at her play space, Union Square Play.
Talking about it, she says, “I started a mom’s support group in which mothers gathered to help and support each other. Through these groups, I realized we were gaining so much more than just sharing knowledge and favorite product recommendations. We were truly helping each other become more thoughtful parents.”
The humble support group has gone on to become “a network and community of parents who see value in sharing anecdotes, information, and knowledge of different kinds with one another. It helps them expand their worldview and get a better grasp of the world their children inhabit. The parents stay well connected with a group of vetted specialists via the USP app.” She adds that the app has “built a community of like-minded parents who are now more equipped than ever to communicate with their children.” The success of the app has encouraged Jennifer to launch membership programs within the app that can be used for an annual fee.
In earlier times, many hands came together to raise a child. Whole neighborhoods were responsible for grooming, preparing, and loving a child who would go on emulating the surroundings he/she grew up in. While unprecedented changes in the life of society have disrupted old ideas, groups like USP are beginning to bring back practices of the old saying “it takes a village” in a way that is meaningfully packaged for the modern parent.