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Moms Are Networking

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Mayra Ruiz-McPherson, editor of the Loudoun Moms Network, is pictured with her youngest son, Brandon Alexander.

Author Lisa Alther once said, "Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease." Moms today are busier than ever and although mothers’ neighborhood coffee klatches are not as abundant as in the past, they still exist along with playgroups, lunches, Bunco groups and book clubs. The Internet plays a vital role in how moms communicate with each other today. Ninety-five percent of mothers check the Internet daily to communicate with each other via e-mail, message boards and blogs, according to research findings from Market Tools, based in San Francisco, Calif. A blog is an online journal where individuals or groups can share events and personal insights. Although moms remain active as always, they still stick together through new communication systems.

MAYRA RUIZ-MCPHERSON, newcoming editor for the Loudoun Moms Network, understands technology trends and revamped the format of the Loudoun Moms Network free bimonthly newsletter.

"The letter is now infused with a lot of technology to bring the group’s communications into more modern times," Ruiz-McPherson said. After taking over the newsletter in May, subscribers jumped from 283 to more than 600 mothers, more than doubling original membership. The newsletter remains free and new moms continue signing up each week.

"I try to provide information relevant to all types of moms — not just toddler moms — and keep it as diverse as possible. Moms of teens are just as welcome. This is a resource for any mother living in Loudoun County," Ruiz-McPherson said. The polished, eye-catching online newsletter is full of community events relevant to families, personality pieces, ideas from moms, child care and employment information. The online letter is now available by subscription only for circulation ease and the newly added blog is also receiving a good response.

Ruiz-McPherson volunteered to keep the network going when founder Susan Ferguson announced she was resigning after 10 years as editor. Ruiz-McPherson felt it was important to continue the network because it’s a valuable informational resource and support system for mothers. Putting together the letter is a great amount of work, but rewarding. "When a mom sends me a nice note after reading something from the newsletter, it’s like receiving a paycheck," she said. In addition to putting together the bimonthly letter and blog updates, Ruiz-McPherson is a mother of four, cares for her elderly grandmother and works full time in the marketing and consulting business.

LOUDOUN MOTHER Ghada Afandi said the network helped her launch her home day-care business. "It is a good place to post an ad and get the latest information about Loudoun. Even the latest birthday ideas are mentioned. Susan Ferguson was the founder and was eager to help any mom with any concern. I started subscribing to the newsletter when I saw how much she cared about the Loudoun moms and helping her community absolutely for free. Today Mayra Ruiz-McPherson is continuing and we appreciate her hard work and dedication," Afandi said.

"It’s 100 percent virtual," Ruiz-McPherson said, "but the moms still develop a sense of belonging and community." They can log on day or night to get updates and post items on the blog. Information trades save moms time and money.

Loudoun County Board of Supervisors member Sally Kurtz (D-Catoctin) said, "I think the Loudoun Moms Network is a great idea. With the neighborhoods changing and people working, it’s a fantastic idea."

Ruiz-McPherson’s future goals for the network include launching a plan for advertising and obtaining possible sponsor support to raise money for a mother’s scholarship. The scholarship would be used to help a nominated mom brush up on technical skills and her resume so she could work from home.

Go to http://loudounmomnetwork.blogspot.com/ to subscribe to the Loudoun Moms Network online newsletter.