Having trouble potty-training your child?
Are the “terrible twos” driving you mad?
Do you feel like you’re the only mom who’s ever had to deal with the challenges your children are presenting to you on a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week basis?
Relax – you’re not alone.
In fact, if you’re a mom of a child of ANY age (even those teenagers who sometimes bring a whole new level of crazy to the family dynamic), or are about to become one, there’s a group of mothers here in Wayne who get together to share their experiences and provide a sense of fellowship that every mom would welcome.
Mothers of Preschoolers is a national organization that originated in Colorado in 1973 when a group of moms came together in friendship and started meeting on a regular basis. It is now an international organization with two groups that meet at Journey Christian Church in Wayne every Tuesday.
A morning group meets on the first and third Tuesdays from 9-11 a.m., and a group geared more toward working moms meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. About 20 local women are part of the Wayne MOPS chapter.
Melissa Hansen, coordinator of the Wayne MOPS group, said the Wayne group started when Spring Dahl saw a need for local moms to get together and share their common interests.
“There were a lot of new moms that moved here in town, and she felt there was a need for a group of moms to get together and meet with other moms with the same age of kids and the same interests,” she said.
A mother of children ages 7, 5 and 3, the group started right around the time Hansen and her husband, Tony – a native of Wayne – moved to town with their first child.
“We moved here from Montana and Tony is from here originally, but I’m not so I didn’t know anybody,” she said. “This was a great chance for me to get to know other moms in the community who were stay-at-home moms like me and needed somebody to connect with.”
A number of the moms in the Wayne MOPS group are like Hansen in that their husbands are from the area, and the group helps to connect those mothers who may not have a local family connection here outside of their in-laws.
“I like that this group is here so that other moms who move into the community can have that same connection,” Hansen said. “Some of the moms here grew up and stayed here, but a lot have moved into town and this group helps them feel more of a connection because they can talk with moms who are at the same stage of life they’re at.”
The group has evolved and includes mothers of children from all ages, from newborns on up to teenagers. Even pregnant moms are welcome to the group.
“It’s good for them because there are big changes coming in their lives and it’s an opportunity for them to talk with other mothers and ask questions,” Hansen said. “After the kids go to school, a lot of moms will stay in the group and enjoy the fellowship and camaraderie.”
As kids get older, the more experienced moms will sometimes stay on as “mentor moms,” Hansen said. They serve as a sounding board for the younger mothers who deal with the changes in their kids’ lives as they grow older and share some of the things they did to get through those changes.
The morning group rolls in slowly as moms drop their older kids off at school and bring their younger ones to the daycare at the church, which the local MOPS group pays for. They enjoy a light breakfast, share family news events, and take part in a short prayer and videos provided by MOPS International that are based on an annual theme the group works on.
The evening group, which is geared toward working mothers, gets together on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month and is involved in many of the same activities that the morning group takes part in as part of the Wayne MOMS organization.
The group is also involved in some local service projects. They recently helped out with The Shoebox Mission and helped build shoeboxes of items to give to children in less-advantaged countries around the world, and they are also running a local coat drive with boxes at several downtown locations to provide coats for local children whose family may not be able to afford a coat.
Their annual MOPS Family Jubilee in October serves as the local group’s fundraiser, which cuts down dramatically on membership costs.
“Some MOPS groups will charge up to $100 to help with things like food and crafts, but our jubilee serves as our fundraiser, so all we charge is the MOPS International fee of $24.95 per year,” Hansen said.