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MOPS meetings an 'oasis' for mothers
Emmalyn (left) and Jessica Rahn work on a craft project during a recent Effingham MOPS meeting at First Baptist Church Rincon. - photo by Submitted

RINCON — Their meeting place is far from exotic. Still, it is considered an oasis.

Once a month from September through May, dozens of women in Effingham MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) gather in a room at First Baptist Church Rincon. The space is teeming with things they need — including friendship, advice and, yes, a respite from their daily chaos.

“MOPS is a place I can go as I am,” said Heather Weaver, a MOPS mom for one year. “I don’t have to dress up or pretend to be something I’m not. I’m surrounded by other women who are in the same boat as I am.”

MOPS is an international program that was founded on the idea that remarkable things happen when mothers get together. Soon-to-be moms, first-time moms and even seven-time moms from any church — or no church — are welcome.

“There are all different ages, races and political views represented,” Weaver said. “The one thing we have in common is that we are all exhausted moms trying to figure out the motherhood thing. There’s no book for this — really.”

Weaver, who has two children, relishes MOPS meetings for multiple reasons.

“I’ve met a lot of people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise because I’m kind of an introvert,” she said. “Being at home can be lonely, but MOPS is a safe place where I can meet people.”

MOPS meetings, which occur every second Tuesday of the month from 9-11:30 a.m., are devoid of pretentiousness. The participants are generally attired in T-shirts and yoga pants.

“And lots of messy buns and ponytails, too,” Weaver said. “That’s just fine.”

Meg Conway, a four-year MOPS veteran and mother of two, also approves of the casual, non-judgmental atmosphere.

“We have the moms who come in because it’s their one chance to get out of the house so they take advantage of it and their hair is done and their makeup is done,” she said, “but we also have the mamas who are like, ‘I’m just lucky to get out alive.’ They are the ones who show up in yoga pants or whatever.

"Either way, you are accepted. Nobody looks at you any differently.”

MOPS meetings start with a tasty breakfast, which Weaver appreciates greatly.

“It’s very good because we are always running out the door and moms are the last one to eat,” she said. “We also have prayer, a speaker and a little short devotional. The speakers are very encouraging.

“They talk about marriage, managing finances, parenting, nutrition and all kinds of things.”

MOPS features “Mentor Moms,” women who have many of years of mothering experience.

“That’s one of the best parts,” Weaver said. “They’ve been there and done that, and offer a lot of insight. My cup is always filled after I leave there.

“Being a mom can be kind of draining but they are very encouraging.”

See the July 11 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.