Cortelyou Moms

Cortelyou Moms

Cortelyou Moms was founded accidentally. Photographer Kristine Foley was sitting in Connecticut Muffin with her then 5-week-old watching a group of moms with 6-month-old babies have fun. She thought, “It would be nice if I could find moms with babies the same age as Owen.”  Kristine posted such to Flatbush Family Network, and within a day Angela had responded.

Many moms consider Kristine the founder of Cortelyou Moms. But Kristine is quick to spread credit. Sam Lambert simultaneously organized a group of women to meet with Freda, the local lactation consultant. Kristine and Sam joined their groups and soon about 10 moms were emailing and meeting up regularly. Another mom, Anita Bulan, suggested a Yahoo group and a name. Cortelyou Moms was born.

Who are Cortelyou Moms?

The original intention of Cortelyou Moms was to meet other women with babies the same age. Angela Sbano, a classical singer and current moderator said, “We were just a bunch if moms having babies for the first time. We wanted other moms to talk to.” Everyone was new to baby-raising and Cortelyou Moms became a safe place to bring up trials. Instead of Googling a breast feeding question, moms asked each other.

Does Ditmas need both Flatbush Family Network and Cortelyou Moms?

Legion are the parenting groups in Brooklyn, with Park Slope Parents leading the pack in fame. Ditmas has three groups—Ditmas Family, Flatbush Family Network, and, as of 2009, Cortelyou Moms—with some residents belonging to Park Slope Parents and Kensington/Windsor Terrace as well.

Cortelyou Moms’ intimate intention of moms meeting moms makes it necessary. Cortelyou Moms get together; they are raising their kids together. Cortelyou Moms use the Flatbush Family Network to look for a plumber. But they ask each other if its okay to give Benadryl to a 6-month-old.

Who can join?

Initially, Cortelyou Moms gained new members when a current member met another mom pushing a stroller along Cortelyou Road. Once Cortelyou Moms switched formats to a Yahoo group, new membership skyrocketed. The next batch of first-time moms seeking support found Cortelyou Moms Yahoo group through the internet.

“There has been a baby boom in Ditmas,” Angela explained. What began with about 10 moms now has over 150 members. Moms with babies two and under are welcome to sign up.

What’s a “meet up”?

To maintain the original intent, Coretlyou Moms formed “meet up groups” based on seasons. Moms with babies born between January and April join the spring group. Moms with babies born May to August join the Summer group. Fall babies, September to December, are in another group. Belonging to a group means you interact with moms going through the same stages you are experiencing.

Is Cortelyou Moms the next Park Slope Parents?

Kristine doesn’t anticipate Cortelyou Moms becoming what Park Slope Parents is. She has a point: Cortelyou Moms is intimate, while Park Slope Parents is ubiquitous. Yet, she also didn’t expect 150 other moms in Ditmas all yearned to meet up. Cortelyou Moms is chock full of community-minded women—like Angela, who now hosts a meet up, a music group, and a Mandarin language group in her home—walking their strollers around Ditmas every day.


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