Seattle is one of 90 cities hosting a Mom Prom. The event is Saturday, May 20, and benefits Perinatal Support Washington.
On Saturday, May 20, the Fremont Abbey Arts Center will be decked out in balloons, lights, and decorations. Attendees will be in glamorous gowns, wear their best hair and makeup and dance the night away.
But this isn’t a high school prom. It’s the Seattle Mom Prom.
Since 2010, women in the Seattle area have held a Mom Prom, an all-female dance party that benefits a local nonprofit organization. In addition to music and dancing, activities include free hair and makeup services, a candy bar, a photo booth, raffles, and a silent auction.
Seattle Mom Prom
8 p.m. Saturday, May 20, Fremont Abbey Arts Center, 4272 Fremont Ave. N, Seattle; sold out, www.seattlemomprom.com
“There’s no male gaze, there’s no competition, there’s no performing perfection,” said organizer Myla Rugge of Redmond. It’s about “having the night off, being free of responsibility, and having fun.”
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Seattle isn’t the only city with a Mom Prom. According to Betsy Crapps, who organized the very first Mom Prom in 2007 in Canton, Michigan, there are 90 proms planned throughout the country.
“This was really my dream when we started this,” Crapps said. “I thought women around the country would have a blast with this. It’s amazing to have a dream and see it fulfilled.”
Rugge decided to start Seattle Mom Prom while rocking her son to sleep in 2008. She had been meeting other new mothers who were facing challenges of parenthood and wanted to do something to honor them.
“I had this deep sense that I wasn’t being appreciated for all the hard work I was doing,” Rugge said. “In that moment, I really wanted a party.”
After Rugge found a venue and a DJ, built a website, and researched charities to support, the first Seattle Mom Prom took place in April 2010 and had 100 attendees. Tickets sold out for the first time ever this year, bringing the number of attendees up to 300.
Angel Brave attended the first Seattle Mom Prom alone in 2010. Though she was nervous about going by herself, she quickly found a group of women to join for the evening.
Brave described herself as an introvert, but she said Mom Prom is a welcoming space for all types of women. (You don’t have to be a mother to attend.) She has gone to almost every Seattle Mom Prom since 2010.
“I honestly think that anybody who goes and experiences Mom Prom won’t regret it,” Brave said. “I’ve never been around a more supportive group of women.”
Rugge said the age range of attendees has been a pleasant surprise.
“All moms, no matter how old their kids are, can relate to the challenges of motherhood,” Rugge said.
Proceeds from Seattle Mom Prom go to Perinatal Support Washington, a nonprofit that supports those affected by perinatal mood disorders. Rugge said some of her family members and friends had experienced PTSD, depression, or anxiety after giving birth, and she wanted Seattle Mom Prom to support women like them.
Mia Edidin, director of Perinatal Support Washington, said many parents experiencing perinatal mood disorders fear judgment from friends and family members. She said events like Seattle Mom Prom help women learn about support services in a comfortable setting.
“It’s a low-barrier way of creating awareness,” Edidin said.
Crapps and Rugge said mom proms give women the opportunity to take a break from work and motherhood while supporting a worthy cause.
“You really need a night out with your girlfriends,” Crapps said. “Women and men are so different, and women need to have that camaraderie. To be able to have a super fun night, to dance and be silly, to feel like you’re 16 again, and help people at the same time.”