One thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that making friends is so much harder now! Life after kids makes it harder to get everyone on the same schedule, and playdates where I try to connect with mom friends end up with us both chasing our kids the whole time. Enter: MOPS! I found this group when a couple of friends from my church asked me to come and check it out. I have since served on leadership as a discussion group leader and a local group coordinator, and I have made some incredible friendships along the way!
From the MOPS website, here’s a quick introduction:
Here at MOPS, we gather and support moms. We believe in the simple but revolutionary idea that remarkable things happen when moms come together. Our acronym stands for “Mothers of Preschoolers” because we began in 1973 when a group of moms with young children banded together to share their lives and parenting journeys. Over the past 45 years, MOPS has expanded our community to include moms with school-aged kids.
There really is a spot for everyone! MOPS groups typically meet in churches, and in the San Antonio area, there are around 20 different locations! There are also options for morning or evening meetings. MOPS generally does have a Christian focus, however, you do not have to be a Christian to join or attend meetings, and you will definitely still get a lot out of being together with other moms!
Here are the top five things you need to know:
1. MOPS Meetings
Most MOPS groups have all-group meetings 1–2 times per month. These are always on your assigned meeting day and usually include some form of childcare so you can focus on being with other moms and not having to chase your kiddos around! These meetings usually include time to talk and get to know other moms, a speaker or some type of teaching, and discussion time. The morning groups usually enjoy a potluck brunch. (Who doesn’t love brunch?!) Sometimes these meetings include a craft or a service project to do together. Most MOPS groups also have “Mentor Moms” who are a step ahead of the younger moms in their parenting journey. I love the wisdom and advice they bring to relationships and parenting!
Membership in MOPS also comes with scheduled playdates. These can be park hang-outs, someone’s backyard, the zoo, a children’s museum, a splash pad, really anything! Playdates are planned by the leadership of your MOPS group, and they are a great opportunity to get out of the house and spend time in the community. Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed bringing your kids out of the house. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed extra hands at these meet-ups and another mom has stepped in to help me in one way or another! We’re all in this together, and I promise no one will look at you and just say, “Wow, you have your hands full!” without actually doing something to make your load a little lighter.
3. Mom’s Night Outs or MNOs
My personal favorite part of MOPS is this right here! Mom’s Night Out, baby. This means leave the kids home with a spouse, partner, or sitter and go wild! And by “wild” I mean eat your whole dinner without having to cut up anyone’s food, or have a full conversation without being interrupted, or have no one’s bathroom trips to manage but your own. Just imagine!
4. Leadership or Steering Team
Okay, if you’re just jumping into MOPS, you don’t need to worry much about this. We want you to just come, enjoy the journey, and make some new friends along the way. Just know that all the people who are running the MOPS groups, both in front of everyone and behind the scenes, are all mamas just like you. They all joined a MOPS group, learned how valuable it was to them, and then decided to volunteer their time and talents to help keep the group going.
Looking for an excuse for a girls’ trip? MomCon is it! It’s a conference with music, speakers, and breakout sessions aimed at growing your faith, cultivating relationships, and improving and encouraging your mothering. When I went to MomCon, it was at Walt Disney World! You also have plenty of off-time to explore whatever city you’re in. My favorite part was hanging out at the pool with my friends and going out to dinner in Disney Springs. I even tacked on an extra day to my trip so I could finally visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. I came back refreshed and ready to jump back into loving on my kiddos!
I asked some of my friends if they would share what being a part of MOPS has meant to them. Here’s what they said:
“I love that MOPS is a place I can go to for advice and prayer, community with other moms & mentor moms, and it provides playdates/events for my preschool-aged kids to participate in.”
“It’s been awesome meeting other working moms in a similar life stage!”
“MOPS has been an incredible way to meet other moms in the same stage of life. I didn’t know anyone when I moved here and became a brand new mom. It helped me connect and provided fellowship and support!”
“MOPS has been a blessing to myself and my little one. When moving here, I knew if I could find a MOPS group that I would be ok. My group has not disappointed. They are wonderful and supportive and everything I needed. These women truly care for each other and I’m so happy I get to know them.”
If you’re ready to check out a group, click here to visit the MOPS website and select “Find a Group” to search for groups near you! Don’t be afraid to jump in headfirst. I promise you won’t regret it!