MOPS, International: Mothers of Preschoolers Support Group
MOPS, International is a non-profit Christian ministry of support groups for mothers of preschoolers. For MOPS qualifications, this encompasses children ages birth to Kindergarten. The main goal of this program is to meet the needs of all mothers with children in this age group. Mothers can join a MOPS group whether they are single, married, a working mother, a stay at home mother, adoptive mother, teen mother, rural mother, or urban mother. The only requirement is that their children have not yet passed the kindergarten age.
History of MOPS, International
MOPS first came to life in a small town in Colorado in 1973. Eight mothers and their children came together to support each other during a time when all of them were facing the same issues as mothers of young children. It was incorporated in 1981 as MOMS Outreach, but by 1988, went international and the present name of MOPS, International was chosen. The groups are chartered by local faith-based organizations and meetings are usually held in churches.
There are currently more than 3,900 MOPS, International support groups in the United States and the groups also exist in thirty-five other countries. If there is not a MOPS, International group in an area where a mother is searching for one, it is possible to start one in any state in the U.S. There is a packet available for mothers who can find a sponsoring faith-based organization, and a start-up fee is required. An informational packet is provided to the founding mothers, as well as ongoing support while the group is being formed.
Groups can consist of anywhere from ten to two hundred members. They meet anywhere from once per week to once per month, depending on the individual group members and what they prefer. There is an annual MOPS, International Convention, and also an annual Leadership Summit.
Mops, International has foundational principals which include communication, mentoring, practical instruction and leadership development. The way these principals are carried out during the meeting time is first by discussion. Mothers share challenges, and then there is teaching which helps mothers learn about certain age-appropriate issues or challenges. There are also creative activities that take place at each meeting so the mothers can leave the meeting feeling good that they have accomplished something or learned a new skill. While the mothers are in their meeting, the children are in a "Moppets" session which is similar to a pre-school setting. The result is that both the mothers and the children will leave having had a chance to socialize and learn from their peers in an enjoyable setting.
Benefits of Joining
Mothers of preschoolers who want to join a Mops, International group, must pay an annual membership fee of $23.95 per individual mother. This includes the membership to the group, events, and a quarterly magazine entitled, "Momsense." It also includes a reusable shopping bag, bookmark and magnet all with a cute MOPS logo, and a weekly inspirational email.
Many mothers who have joined a MOPS, International group site the value of support and lasting friendships formed when their children were young as huge benefits to becoming members. These friendships often last a lifetime and the camaraderie that comes with sharing the challenges of motherhood is worth its weight in gold!
Drawbacks of Joining MOPS International
The only drawback may be that for some women, once their youngest child ages out of the pre-school years, a mother may feel a loss at no longer being able to be part of the MOPS group. This could lead to her feeling isolated and grieve the loss of an important time of socialization and support, especially if she chooses to be a stay-at-home mom.
It would be important for these moms to create new opportunities for personal socialization once their children start school and are fulfilling their needs for socialization by attending school.
You Can Listen to Moms Talk About How MOPS has impacted Their Lives Positively in the Video Below
MOPS, International Poll
Have you ever heard of Mops, International before reading this?
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© 2012 Karen Hellier