2017-05-14 / Insight

MOPS a lifeline for new moms

810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

Erin Viers and her son, Corbin, hang out at Lapeer Community Church where she’s helping establish Lapeer’s newest MOPS chapter. 
Photo by Phil Foley Erin Viers and her son, Corbin, hang out at Lapeer Community Church where she’s helping establish Lapeer’s newest MOPS chapter. Photo by Phil Foley LAPEER COUNTY — Nothing changes your life more than having a child.

It’s 24-7, 365 and there are no holiday weekends or vacations. There are tons of books on parenting, but they’re contradictory and they don’t cover everything. The whole thing can be overwhelming.

For the past two decades MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) have given new moms a place to take a breather; share experiences; and find support. In September, the group will be expanding for the first time in 10 years.

Starting with a group of new Colorado moms in 1973, the group has grown to reach 33 countries and to thousands of chapters, including three in Lapeer County in the City of Lapeer, North Branch and Imlay City. In September Jodie Hunt and a leadership team will be adding a new group in Attica Township at Lapeer Community Church.

“It changed my life as a parent,” said Dianne Craig, who joined the first MOPS group in Lapeer County at Trinity United Methodist Church. “If it hadn’t been for MOPS, I would have put my kids in daycare.” She said 100 years ago new moms had sisters and mothers close by, but modern mothers find themselves more isolated and with little or no support networks.

Hunt said MOPS provides that support for women from the time they discover they’re pregnant to when their child enters school. She said many woman find the group so much fun that the joke is, they have another child to keep from aging out.

She said one mom, North Branch’s Peggy Harrison, has been part of the Trinity group for 18 years and another, Eva Davis has been in three different groups over the past 16 years.

Although MOPS meet in churches, it’s not a church group per se, though it has a decidedly Christian bent. “For me,” Hunt said, “it’s not so much about the kids. I love seeing women changed by Christ.”

Craig recalled that at one point when she was in the group at Trinity, all of the members were church goers, just not Methodist.

Elba Township’s Erin Viers, who’s helping for the Attica Township group, said she considered herself Christian, but was unchurched when she found MOPS. She had a year-and-a-half old and was pregnant with her second child.

Like a lot of moms new to MOPS, the felt like a terrible mom, but the support and common experiences she found in the group helped make her feel normal.

MOPS meetings begin with brunch. “I don’t get breakfast anywhere else,” Hunt laughed. The meetings, which are held two days a month from September through May include small group talks, a speaker covering an aspect of motherhood and some sort of artsy craft. Viers laughed that MOPS brunches feature “cheesy potatoes and always something chocolate.”

The new Attica group will be meeting from 9 to 11:30 a.m. the second and fourth Thursday of the month being Sept. 14. But Hunt added, they’ll be running play dates at the nearby Attica Township Park from 10 to 11:30 p.m. the same days over the summer.

Hunt said moms in other areas can find the MOPS group closest to them at www.mops.org. For information about the new MOPS group in Attica, call Hunt at 810- 627-4352.

Hunt said MOPS was a life saver for her when she had kids. She noted that women who met at the first MOPS meeting in Lapeer are still best friends. She said the group’s alumni Facebook page has more than 260 women.

She said the current Imlay City, North Branch and Lapeer chapters have about 175 members.

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