An upcoming “Prom for Parents” in Tempe aims to take East Valley parents back in time where they can dance the night away dressed up in their fanciest attire and maybe even be crowned prom king or queen.
The prom, on Sept. 28 at Embassy Suites by Hilton Phoenix Tempe starts at 7 p.m. and will last until 11 p.m. This is an annual event organized by MOMnation, a group that helps moms connect and develop friendships.
This is the third year for the prom, whose theme is “The Enchanted After Party.” Parents can attend alone, with their partner or with friends.
“It has brought together so many people that have had so many enjoyable moments. Friendships blossom and relationships blossom from this,” said Katie Halle Lambert, founder of MOMnation.
After the birth of her son in 2014, Lambert experienced what she said many first-time mothers experience – feelings of anxiety and isolation from her friends, especially those without children.
“Moms have this weird social anxiety. For some reason, we have a kid and then we think everybody’s judging us,” she said.
Out of this anxiety, Lambert created MOMnation.
The Arizona group has approximately 7,300 members. Over the last five years, MOMnation has grown to nine states, and Lambert hopes it will be nationwide one day.
MOMnation also has sponsored events like a speed dating night for moms to find their “soul moms,” a pancake breakfast with Santa and plenty of nights out at local restaurants.
“This is a non-judgmental zone. We’re all going through the same thing; everybody wants to meet new people and mingle. There’s no ‘Mean Girls’ type mentality,” Lambert said.
Though only one of many activities MOMnation holds throughout the year, the prom is particularly special.
“It’s a night that parents can go out – or relive their prom that they wished they would’ve had but didn’t get the chance to,” said Jessica Nelson, one of the prom planners.
Nelson, a mom of four, has helped plan the last two proms, after first getting involved with MOMnation about five years ago.
Her first interaction with the group was photographing a movie night they hosted. She soon began taking pictures at future events before becoming a member herself.
“My favorite part is the friends that I’ve made along the way. We have a group that our families have all connected well. We now come together for Fourth of July, Halloween, we’ll go to kids’ birthdays,” she said. “We got really close.”
The prom isn’t just a night of dancing. Outside, attendees can play beer pong, corn hole, and yard Jenga, all while connecting and socializing with other parents.
A tarot card reader will be making the rounds at the prom, as well as a photographer, and each attendee will receive a free professional photo.
Plenty of other photo opportunities will be available, including a giant moving tree which Lambert said will be great for selfies.
Parents can also enter the raffle, which will include prizes that will be given away throughout the night, such as a Ring 2 Doorbell, a Kindle, and a Nest thermostat.
Appetizers and drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, will be available as well.
“The entertainment this year is going to be like nothing we’ve ever had before,” said Lambert, a professional singer, who added with a laugh, “Rumor has it that I might be on stage.”
Although still two weeks away, 120 tickets have already been sold. Last year, Lambert said, 88 total tickets were sold.
A portion of the ticket sales will be donated to Lily’s Pad, an indoor playground planned by the Arizona Cancer Foundation that will be accessible for children with cancer and other immune system issues.
The playground will include handicap-accessible equipment and a specialized cleaning procedure that will protect children with weakened immune systems.
The prom’s doors will open at 7 p.m., and the appetizers, drinks, music and activities will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at eventbrite.com/e/momnationaz-presents-prom2019-tickets-61415064110