Making parenting peachy

Linda Perry has been featured in the New York Times. She’s been on the Today Show. Nintendo has recruited her to hawk its Wiis. She’s basically big time.

But within about 20 seconds of meeting her, she’ll most likely invite you out for Happy Hour with her, her two kiddos Amber and Jasmine, and her husband Michael.

Linda has social butterfly in her DNA, and it’s a trait she’s passed on to her kids without question. But it’s also a trait she’s used to bring almost 10,000 moms in the sometimes-isolating city of Los Angeles together.

In 1997, using the power of email, Linda started reaching out to moms from Amber’s Mommy & Me group and rallying them socially.

“I’d send an email out saying that I’m going to be at this park, who wants to come and everybody would come out,” she said. “Everyone wants to get out, they’re just not motivated to do it on their own. I always say, get one person to plan something and everybody else will follow.”

Linda quickly became known as Peachhead because that was the email address she borrowed from her husband, a die-hard Allman Brothers Band fan, when making her early contacts. When the network of moms got bigger and bigger, they all assumed the title of Peachheader to signify membership in this very intimate yet very open community.

Linda said that from the very beginning she took solace in the support she got from the women she met through Peachhead.

“I had never changed a diaper before having Amber, so these moms were my buds,” she said. “You call them up and you say, ‘I can’t put her down, she cries all the time.’ They’d say, ‘Me too!’ You had that connection of going through everything together.”

The spirit of that conversation and the good-natured support is one of Peachhead’s best assets. Linda moderates the group and keeps the messages tempered and friendly, and when things do flare up, she’s moves the discussion to a debate forum rather than censor it altogether. More than anything, she wants Peachhead to be helpful — to help other moms feel a sense of support and to help them maintain a sense of themselves.

Being able to harness thousands of friends and their children is no small undertaking, especially when you’re a working mom with two high-energy girls of your own. But for Linda it’s worth the extra investment.

Not only does she catch the attention of the country’s most esteemed newspaper and the absolute coolest video gaming console ever made (seriously, try the boxing! [and Nintendo didn’t give us a penny to write that]), she also gets a sense of satisfaction knowing that she is making life easier for other moms.

“When I go out and meet moms and they find out I’m ‘Peachhead,’ they can’t stop telling me about how the group has changed their lives and helped them out,” said Linda. “We had a mom who had leukemia and needed platelets and blood donated. When one was sick, another mom started a food chain for bringing food. No matter what you need there is always a solution, there is always somebody there willing to help and give advice.”

For a glimpse at the “momraderie” at work on Peachhead, visit its website or reach out to Linda to have her set up a subgroup for your community. Sure, you may have to send out the initial emails to rally other mothers, but once you do, you’ll finally have that village it takes.

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