An international organization that began in 1973, Mothers of Preschoolers is designed to meet the needs of every mom whether she's a stay-at-home or working mom, a teen mom, single mom or married mom. They may have different lifestyles, but they share a similar desire to be the best mom they can be.
Now local and area moms of preschoolers have an opportunity to receive the encouragement and support they need from other mothers of young children through MOPS.
Beginning Sept. 17, the newly formed local group will meet from 9-11 a.m. on the third Tuesday of every month at the First United Methodist Church, 1307 N. Main.
MOPS stresses many values, including the importance of respecting the dignity of each individual mother of preschoolers, no matter where she's been, what she's done or how she chooses to live her life.
Although the organization is Christian based, it welcomes both believers and nonbelievers and all ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
"MOPS spiritually nurtures mothers of preschoolers," explained Janet Boner, a member of the MOPS steering committee which has been meeting since December. "We all know our children are gifts from God and we love being moms, it's just that sometimes we kind of run out of steam. MOPS is designed to give moms a couple of hours for ourselves and that makes us better moms. Nobody knows what it's like to be the mother of a preschooler unless they're the mother of a preschooler," said Boner, mother of 3 1/2-year-old Luke and Claire, 17 months. "In MOPS we're all at the same stage in life so we can support each other and share with each other. It's a sort of support network."
MOPS meetings offer instruction relating to womanhood, marriage, children and home from a Biblical outlook. Through creative projects and presentations, women are encouraged to experience the sense of accomplishments that comes with trying and finishing new things.
"I think it's going to be great," said Tara Hux, mother of 6-month-old Nicholas. "I'm excited that it's a Christian organization and that it's going to give mothers a chance to get a break and be together. Just being around other moms has really helped me already and there are a lot of wonderful programs within MOPS that will be very beneficial. There will also be people brought in to speak on various subjects which will be really informative as well."
While moms are learning in MOPS their young children will be kept busy in a counterpart program called MOPPETS, where carefully planned activities will enhance the youngsters' social, physical, creative and spiritual growth. Infants will be cared for in a nursery setting.
"MOPPETS is kind of like a Vacation Bible School and I think it will be fun for the kids," Hux said. "They'll follow a curriculum so it will be structured and I just think it's important for children to be around other children to socialize them at a young age. It will hopefully help Nicholas learn that it's OK to be away from mom's side for a little while."
"MOPS is basically a fellowship where we share our faith," Boner explained. "It's a Christian organization but it's open to anyone. It's not a Bible study or anything like that but we have direction and instruction from a biblical perspective. We're really excited about this opportunity for our whole community and we at the First United Methodist Church are excited about being the chartering church."
Being a part of MOPS will first be offered to First United Methodist Church members. The opportunity will then be open to the public after Aug. 1. Registration will be from 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 14 at the church and forms are available in the church office at any time.
For more information call the church at 471-3283.