Andria Somers on Being United for Better Parenting
Andria Somers is the executive director of the Holistic Moms Network (HMN), which connects families interested in positive, holistic parenting, health and green living, providing them with helpful information and other support. The organization was formed in Essex County, New Jersey, in 2002 by a handful of mothers seeking to associate with others sharing the same goals. One of the moms, Nancy Peplinski, decided to expand the vision of the informal group and established it as a nonprofit in 2003.
Rapid growth made apparent the need for community support of naturally minded families across the country. In its first year of operation, HMN evolved from a local group to a nationwide organization with more than 25 chapters in 14 states. Founded on the cornerstones of community and connection, the mission of HMN is to provide a safe, supportive environment in which families can access resources and experience camaraderie in attaining natural living and gentle parenting.
How has HMN impacted your life?
I attended my first HMN meeting in 2012, after my oldest daughter was born. I became a member after learning about the organization and all that they offered. That was a life-changing moment for me. HMN very quickly became a central aspect of my mothering journey. I joined the national team in November of 2012, and my role evolved to executive director in 2017. Parenting has been my most transformative experience thus far, and HMN inspires me every day on this journey with all that its volunteers, members and advocates give as far as support, knowledge, ideas and most importantly, community.
What is holistic parenting?
Holistic parenting begins with an understanding and respect for how all living things are connected and how we impact one another. Holistic parenting embraces green and non-toxic living, non-violent communication and natural health. We believe there are seven guiding principles for holistic parenting which we follow: make informed and educated parenting decisions; seek respectful and nurturing relationships with others; actively participate in one’s own healing process; balance and integrate physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of being; teach children how to respect and care about the natural world; limit children’s exposure to advertising, marketing and a consumer-driven culture; and live more simply and consume less.
How does HMN differ from other parenting groups?
The heart and soul of HMN is to connect families through volunteer-led chapters and intentional communities across the country. We are authentic, passionate about our purpose and committed to our mission. HMN is how we bring together local parents for support and join our voices as a national community. We recognize that everyone is on their own path, yet on this journey together. Members are encouraged to respect one another’s views, offer support and learn from each other. HMN wants to generate national awareness, education and support for holistic parenting and green living. Our groups meet about once a month in a public venue where all are welcome. We provide nurturing, open-minded and respectful local community networks that encourage families to share these ideals and learn from each other.
What advice would you offer to a new parent just beginning their journey of holistic parenting?
As a parent, it’s important to have a network of support. Being connected to like-minded individuals who do not judge makes all the difference in the world. It truly does take a village to raise a child, and you can choose how you build your village. There will be countless people offering advice, so be discerning and see what resonates with you. I truly believe that we are all here to help and support one another. HMN is a way to build relationships and connect with other parents to form friendships that last a lifetime.
For more information, including on becoming a member, visit HolisticMoms.org.
This article was written by a KnoWEwell (KWW) staff member. Holistic Moms Network and Natural Awakenings are collaborative partners of KWW, a benefits and services company that operates the global Regenerative Whole Health community and marketplace platform.