Newspaper Page Text
812-Lancaater Farming, Saturday, Marcli 5. 1994
As the family living program assistant at Berks County Extension, Patricia Gallo
(Trixie) heads a group for stay-at*home mothers called Moms-at-Home.
LOU ANN GOOD
Lancaster Fanning Staff
LEESPORT (Berks Co.) A
growing number of moms arc opt
ing to put their careers on hold and
stay at home to raise their children.
“While some people view this
exodus back to home as a back
ward trend, it isn’t.” said Patricia
Gallo (Trixie) who is a family liv
ing program assistant for Berks
County Extension. “Instead it
offers the option for women to
choose to stay at home or have a
career without feeling guilty.”
With this decision, many
mothers face new obstacles
because they are well
TTiey usually hold a different
perspective on many issues than
moms who juggle both career and
home responsibilities. They often
feel alone in their viewpoints and
miss the camaraderie they had
shared with fellow employees.
One mother who gave up her
career as a biological research sci
entist to raise two children called
the Berks County Extension and
asked, “Where is a support group
for full-time mothers?”
She was new in the area, away
from parents and friends. She
wanted to meet other women, like
her, who were devoted mothers,
and faced adapting to a family
income that was cut in half from
giving up her job.
Trixie, as she prefers to be
called, said that this was the first
call she received in her job as a
family living program assistant for
the Berks County Extension. Sur
prisingly, one week later, a second
call came in for an identical
request from a woman who did not
know the first caller.
Trixie decided to meet with the
callers and discuss some of their
The most prevailing concern
seems to be the desire to meet other
mothers like themselves.
In the next extension newsletter
mailing, Trixie included a little
write up about mothers who stay at
home. She added a clip and mail
coupon and asked if there were
other mothers interested in joining
a support group.
Twelve mothers wrote to say
they were interested. To plan a
support group, Trixie asked the
respondents why they decided to
stay home, frustrations they faced,
and why they thought they could
benefit from a support group?
“Child care is a large issue,”
Trixie said. “Who pays and what is
proper care? The government has
fantastic ideas but assume all
mothers ate working. They aren’t.
These ate the mothers we want to
Trixie set up her Erst meeting in
July with the woman who had
called in with the original request
for a support group.
Together they came up with
ideas and a format for a support
group. They decided the group
would meet once a month, alter
nating between day and evening
The day meetings would be held
in a home or at a park or play area
where mothers would bring along
their children. Trixie would distri
bute parenting information and an
informal exchange of ideas would
be shared. Some subjects would
deal with keeping children busy,
self-esteem in children, nutritious
snacks for children, and subjects
the group suggest.
The evening meeting would be a
sit-down meeting that focuses not
on mothering but on being a
Trixie said, “The problem these
women expressed is that they often
become so wrapped up in being a
mother 24 hours a day, that the
woman inside the spouse, the
lover tends to get buried.
Women’s self-esteem is one
subject for an evening meeting.
This week an evening meeting was
held with the theme on “Fanning
the flames to keep romance alive in
“Often, when children come, the
first thing to go is romance,” Trixie
The women filled out a survey
that asked them to rate on a scale of
1 to 10 how they rated their
romance b.c. (before child) and
a.c. (after child).
The participants shared tips they
found that worked in adding more
romance in marriage.
“Although a lot of parenting
material is available from Penn
State Extension, not much is pub
lished on subjects such as
romance,” Trixie said.
She researched the subject, and
found the 14 women who attended
the meeting were eager to share
“I’m amazed,” Trixie said of the
participants’ bonding. “The group
just clicked from the beginning.
I’ve never seen a group of indivi
duals click together so quickly.”
The first meeting had only three
participants, the next 14, and now
there are 70 women who asked to
be on the mailing list.
Despite this positive growth,
Trixie said that there are many
things that still need to be worked
For the day meetings, the group
needs a large place where children
can play with the other children.
Trixie is looking for a hostess that
has a large play area or has access
to a community building or park.
There is no charge for the meet
ings at this point, but a minimal
charge may be needed in the future
to pay for the mailings.
A great concern is that Trixie’s
job with the extension is only part
time and is funded on a non
“I am not an extension agent but
a family living program assistant,”
said Trixie who graduated from
Liberty University with a B.S. in
home economics. She began work
ing for the extension in July 1993.
Trixie and her husband recently
celebrated their second wedding
“I was raised by a mom who
stayed at home, and my husband
and I decided that when we have
children, I will be a stay-at-home
mom. However, we both decided
that it is important for me to focus
on career for quite a long time
before we have children.”
Berks Countians who are inter
ested in the Moms-at-Home sup
port group or to arrange a speaking
engagement, should contact Trixie
at (215) 378-1327. Those outside
of Berks County should contact
their county extension office listed
in the phone directory under Penn
State Cooperative Extension.
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