Local Mom Spotlight: Michelle Baxter of Mom Jaunt

We’re so excited to bring you our Local Mom Spotlight — Michelle Baxter who runs the Newport News Mom group, Mom Jaunt.

The Mom Jaunt host play dates geared towards getting new moms out and meeting new moms, especially in Newport News.

Mom Jaunt promotes Moms getting out to meet Moms and make friends emphasizing the value on adult conversations, laughter, joy, fun and adventures to coexist with the dirty laundry, stack of bills, poop diapers and fussy little ones for Moms everywhere.

With a 7 month-old on her hip, Michelle has created the successful group Mom Jaunt that offers play dates, brunch and even a stroll and sip at Oozelfinch Brewery.

The Mom Jaunt
  1. What is a Mom Jaunt?

The Mom Jaunt is a Facebook network group intended to connect Hampton Roads moms with the goal of getting both mom and their little one(s) out of the house and into a community. One jaunt at a time; “jaunt” is a short excursion or journey for pleasure and therefore a “mom jaunt” is a mom excursion or mom journey.

2. How did Mom Jaunt get started?

A positive pregnancy test started the vision for Mom Jaunt; which was later created after the transition to mom life. As a new mom, a social butterfly, and event coordinator, I wanted to help network with other mamas. To me, motherhood isn’t about perfection, it’s about surviving through the mistakes and what better than having other moms to journey the milestones with!  The result: a social network where moms, specifically new moms, could find companionship and relatability with other new moms.  Hampton Roads is saturated with young military families and Mom Jaunt is a huge value for military moms, that don’t have a local family support system.

  1. How many events do you host a month?

The number of events per month isn’t defined. The count of group members has grown quickly and there isn’t a defined “norm” yet for the number and type of events hosted monthly. I would say on average 2-4 events a month are currently being posted and that should grow as additional members start hosting Mom Jaunt events of their own.

  1. What type of events do you host?

Whether a walk in the park, a conversation on the beach or a shared table covered in food, Mom Jaunt events are intended to connect moms with more than the tiny fingers we know and love as our kids.  Almost anything a Mom Jaunt mama can do with their baby in tow qualifies as a worthy event.

  1. What age groups are you geared to?

The Mom Jaunt’s ideal audience is mamas with infants and toddlers, with a special focus on new moms that have the biggest need for transitioning. The goal isn’t to exclude moms with older kids, however older kids will have a hard time being entertained in most of our environments due to catering toward infants.

  1. What big events do you have planned?

The Mom Jaunt is still in the infant stages of growth itself.  There are not currently any big events on the calendar, although we look forward to partnering with other parent focused organizations to attend like minded events; for example: ‘the Hampton Roads Mom Prom’.

  1. If a Mom wants to join a play date, how would they do it?

Moms can request to be a part of the Mom Jaunt by searching for our Facebook page and answering the quick questioner confirming that they are in the Hampton Roads area, they have a little one and that they plan to join us for an outing at some point.  Once a part of the Facebook group moms can access all posted comments, pictures and events.

  1. Where is your favorite place to have a play date?

Personally, my favorite play dates involve water; including: the beach, neighborhood pool or backyard fun.  I find that my little man, currently 7 months old, has the most fun independently when He is splashing and playing with toys that float.

  1. You’re a new Mom and run a play group.  How do you do it?

By nature, I’m a coordinator. I am also blessed with the opportunity to be a stay at home mom so I have time available when it comes to getting out of the house any day of the week.  I found that getting out and about was necessary for my development as a new mom, and my mental sanity let’s be real. I have made it a priority since week one, literally, to not only plan Mom Jaunt outings for myself but to also include others that may otherwise not have the ability to create the social environment that they need to be a part of.

  1. As a Mom, who or what inspires you?

As a woman and as a mom my faith in God inspires me more than anything. The key principle of having no limitations in life motivates me to make whatever visions I have become a reality.

  1. What’s in your diaper bag?

Neatly packed in my Skip Hop diaper bag, which believe it or not is on the smaller end of the size scale, are the following objects: a loaded changing pad/diaper clutch in the large outside back pocket; a grooming kit with nail clippers, nail file, nasal aspirator, a baby spoon,  a micro-steam sterilizing bag; a wet bag, including butt paste and coconut oil in the storage pocket; a little zip up pouch holds a spare outfit, a receiving blanket and a burp cloth; another fabric container holds additional diapers and wipes for refilling the clutch; an ‘emergency backup diaper kit’ with a mini wipe pack, one disposable diaper and a plastic bag is pressed against the bottom of the bag; a spare roll on deodorant for mom; a tube of baby lotion; and a baby hat and sunglasses in a smash proof case are in one the front outside pocket and hand sanitizer in the other.

I’m sure I have forgotten something, but this gets the point across; I like to be prepared and so far, every baby-blow-out situation has had the right supplies to recover!

I would highly recommend using my idea for the ‘emergent back up diaper kit’. Then when all the diapers are gone you know you always have at least ONE more to buy you time. I use the cute fabric container that the crib sheets came in to organize. Bonus they match the theme for the nursery and they sit flat in the bottom of the diaper bag.

  1. Favorite kid snack you secretly enjoy?

It’s not a secret that animal crackers will quickly disappear if I get a hold of them and that was the case long before becoming a mom.

  1. What is your favorite way to relax?

I not much of a relaxer, sleep when I can get it is the biggest win. Otherwise I enjoy taking and editing pictures and mentally running through event plans as a way of slowing down. Sometimes events with just my husband and I, like a fire in the back yard once the baby is asleep, help me wind-down too.

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