Sit back, relax and enjoy time together – childcare provided.
That’s the message a new group, Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS), is sending to women looking to connect with other moms in a relaxed, comfortable setting. MOPS meets from 6-7:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month at First Presbyterian Church Athens, 405 E. Corsicana St. Childcare and dinner are provided.
“I wanted to be able to connect with other moms who were having the same experiences I was,” group founder Melanie Endsley said of why she started the local MOPS chapter. “It’s easy to feel isolated sometimes as a parent. When your children are young – that’s when you need a support system the most.”
Originally intended to serve mothers with babies and toddlers, MOPS of Athens has expanded to include children up to age 12. First Presbyterian Church Athens (FPCA) provides babysitters, and church members prepare meals for MOPS mothers and children.
Attendees sometimes make crafts or have discussion topics, but often there is no agenda, Endsley said.
“Sometimes you just need that time to visit with other moms,” she said. “We swap stories, bounce ideas around and compare notes on all kinds of topics.”
The Rev. Charlie M. Hornes, FPCA pastor, attends MOPS with her two sons and said she hopes mothers will see the group as a network of support.
“MOPS is such a unique opportunity for moms,” Hornes said. “Just having that brief respite from having to care for little ones is a relief. Throw in a good meal and good company and it’s just an incredible time of refreshment.”
Outside of their twice-a-month meetings, members often meet on weekends for other kid-friendly outings, such as the park and splash pad, the zoo or sporting events.
“The relationships you can build through MOPS are the kind you can rely on,” Endsley said.
MOPS of Athens will meet Oct. 5 and 19 at FPCA in Athens. For more information, find the group on Facebook or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.