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MOPS – making time for mums

Toddler groups are communities of parents … but when do we ever have time to talk to each other? Jane Whitehorn introduces us to MOPS, a style of parent-toddler group that focuses on enriching us mums as well as our children!

JPEG_MOPStaglineParent and toddler groups are amazing.  They can give focus to a long day, provide connections to isolated parents and show God’s love through their warm welcome, songs and stories.  They can be a lifeline.

Despite this, however, there can be a frustration for parents who attend. We long to find friendship and support with our fellow mums, but can’t seem to finish a conversation or even get past “How are you?” before we’re dashing away to prevent a collision or change a nappy.

As leaders, we may yearn for a way to deepen and develop the relationships within our groups, as well as developing our members’ relationships with God.  We want to serve our families, but we also want to introduce them to our Saviour’s love, hope and truth.  If this all sounds familiar, then maybe MOPS (Mothers of Pre-schoolers) could be for you and your church.

MOPS provides space.  Space for a tired mum to enjoy a hot cup of tea.  Space for her to be encouraged in her mothering.  Space for a conversation to go deeper.  Space to think about a loving God.

This all happens through the provision of a safe environment that we call the MOPPETS crèche.  Babies are cuddled and toddlers have fun with toys, snacks, songs and crafts.  Once the mums know that their little ones are happy, they can relax and enjoy an hour or so that’s about them – and that’s when it gets exciting!

MOPS may stand for ‘Mothers of Pre-schoolers’, but don’t let that fool you.  MOPS is about meeting the needs of every mum from their child’s conception through to pre-school. It produces an amazing curriculum of topics and crafts every year, all designed to raise biblical discussions by meeting a mum exactly where she’s at. These materials encourage mums to ‘Be you bravely’, to ‘Love as if your life depended on it’ and to ‘Embrace your story’.  You can use the materials as they are, or ask speakers to develop them especially for your group. This group could be new, or it could be run alongside one that already exists. The heart of MOPS is passionately Christian, but it is intended for every mother, no matter her background or beliefs.

What’s the best thing about MOPS?  Well, that’s easy.  It’s the conversations. It’s the opportunity for mums to be heard, to connect with each other and have the peace and time to think a little deeper. The early years of being a mum are just as foundational to you as they are to your baby, and those years are filled with unique needs that other mums instinctively understand. Whether the talk has been about playful parenting, having the courage to forgive or what Christmas means to us, it’s during the conversations that friendships are forged. A wealth of leader training and support is provided, so that MOPS can remain a safe place where everyone has a voice and can speak from the heart.

So what do mums think about MOPS?

“A wonderful group to meet new mums, for your children to meet other children, and where you also get help with your role as a mother.”

“Go! It is a warm, supportive group which is so friendly. The topics are very interesting and thought-provoking and actually very useful. I think sometimes people who have no relationship with the church may be put off, but I felt no pressure at all.”

 “MOPS has helped me make more friends, made me feel less isolated and brought me back to church.”

“MOPS has truly influenced my life – I’ve found Jesus and plan to live the rest of my life as a Christian. I’m very excited, thank you.”

If you would like to find out more about MOPS please go to www.MOPS-uk.org.