Facing the challenges of motherhood with support from MOPS
By Jodi Hersey
Special to The Weekly
It’s back to school for kids everywhere and while some moms are doing a happy dance, others are wiping away tears as they send their little ones off to the bus stop. However, for stay-at-home moms, the start of the school year, school vacations and summer breaks can often feel like Groundhog Day.
That’s why new moms as well as moms of infants, toddlers and preschoolers are encouraged to join Bangor MOPS which stands for Mothers Of Preschoolers. The community group meets twice a month for a cup of coffee, conversation, encouragement and to support one another through the daily challenges of raising little ones.
“It’s a period of calm and relaxation with other adults that a lot of people don’t get when you have small children in your house,” explained Megan Bridges, a Bangor MOPS member. “I’ve met so many friends through MOPS; people that understand what I’m going through. To have an open conversation, uninterrupted, with these other women who may have different ideas and beliefs than me has been meaningful to me.”
MOPS is a Christian non-profit organization that supports mothers with strong, little or no faith at all. The Bangor First Church of the Nazarene on Union Street opened its doors five years ago to let the group use its gymnasium for meetings and classrooms for childcare. Several church and community members, who have all passed background checks, have volunteered year after year to watch the children while the MOPS members meet to discuss various topics including time management, meal planning and potty training.
Kelsey Swan began attending Bangor MOPS when she was a mother of one. Now the mother of two, Swan said she can’t imagine her life without it.
“Personally I’ve found an outlet where I can breathe. When I first had Jim, I was stuck, suffocated almost. When I found MOPS, I was able to take a deep breath and relax. And having childcare is what kept me coming back,” Swan said.
Many MOPS groups also have MOPS mentors. These are moms of older children or grandmothers that can offer insight, advice or even a listening ear to first time moms navigating their way through the infant and toddler stages of life.
Sandy Fuller is just one of the Bangor MOPS mentors.
“I’m 25 or 30 years older than most of the moms [at MOPS], and I’ve been through everything they’ve been through and survived,” said Fuller. “So I try to come alongside them and encourage them, answer questions they have, connect them with resources [if needed] and pray for them.”
The group also invites guest speakers to stop by the meetings throughout the year to share more information on things like homeschooling, do-it- yourself projects, health and fitness and area shelters that could always use a helping hand.
“I’ve learned a lot more about what it means to serve others through MOPS,” said Bridges. “We do various volunteer projects throughout the year, and I’ve joined other small groups through the women I’ve met at MOPS. I’ve sort of been inspired by all these different women – work-at-home moms and homeschool moms that I’ve met.”
Bangor MOPS meets the first and third Thursday of every month from 9:30- 11:30 a.m. from September to May at the Bangor First Church of the Nazarene. Moms of young ones are invited to come check it out.
“Everybody is a new mother learning the ropes at one point. This is just a way for women to come together to face the challenges of motherhood and support each other in the things we do on a day to day basis,” explained Bridges.
For more information, log onto www.mops.org.