A couple of local mothers (and their friends) are starting a Mothers of Preschool group at the Lakebay Church. Pictured here, from left, is Amy Walker with her niece Kayla Tudor, 4, and daughter Charlee Walker, 1, and Sarah Jones and son Caleb, 3. Photo by Scott Turner, KP News

Sarah Jones thinks moms on the Peninsula need more opportunities to relax and feel supported.

So the Lakebay mom has started a MOPS program at Lakebay Community Church.

MOPS –– short for Mothers of Preschoolers –– is an international organization with the slogan “Better moms make a better world.”

“MOPS is about nurturing moms, meeting them where they are and encouraging them and just bolstering them up,” Jones said.

She said that 100 percent of moms need encouragement.

“And when they come to MOPS theyre going to get that. Theyre going to get a time to just be themselves and take a moment where theyre not answering 100 questions or doing 100 different tasks –– theyre just being cared for. Its really vital. When a mom leaves MOPS, shell be encouraged and lifted up and energized to go back into her home,” Jones said.

Childcare is provided at every MOPS meeting as participants eat breakfast together and listen to a speaker discussing a parenting-related topic.

“And then theres just a time for building relationships with the other women whore there. Its not like a play date. Its geared totally to the moms,” she said.

“When I had a new baby, I had postpartum depression and I went to my first MOPS meeting when my daughter was just 7 weeks old.

“A mom right next to me held my baby so I could eat breakfast and just let me take a deep breath. And when I left, I had a little bit more energy to go back and just deal with it all again,” she said.

Jones emphasized that although MOPS is a Christian-based organization, its not about church or Bible study. Anybody can come to MOPS, she said, “because all moms need to take a break and have breakfast and need encouragement and someone to tell them theyre a good mom. Thats really the key.”

Every year, MOPS has a worldwide theme. This years theme is “A fierce flourishing,” Jones said. “Were taking a year to choose to live ‘flourishing, not just surviving. Were going to work on thriving in this stage of life.

“The description on the MOPS international website says that flourishing ‘looks a lot like celebrating lavishly, embracing rest and noticing goodness.’ We become more ourselves when we celebrate, rest and notice and that looks a lot like flourishing,” she said.

Vaughn resident Amy Walker is helping Jones coordinate the local MOPS group.

“I think that being a parent is really, really hard and I think there are days when youre discouraged and think youre a terrible parent,”Walker said.

“And little do you know that your neighbor feels the same way and we all need just a little fellowship to bring everybody together and just to realize that were all on the same page feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

“Its nice to have somebody in your corner who knows what youre going through and somebody older whos been there and understands. Getting together with other moms who really understand is a wonderful thing,” Walker said.

Dan Whitmarsh, pastor at Lakebay Community Church, welcomes the new organization back to his fold, noting that there was a MOPS group at Lakebay many years ago.

“Its going to be a good thing for the church and for the community,” Whitmarsh said. “Sarahs mother has been a part of our church for a long time so there are some connections going back.

“Sarah brings fresh energy and fresh passion. The church is here to serve –– but its always exciting to have someone here who is also interested in serving and not just being served. Its nice to have people who are ready to give back and dont just come to receive,” he said.

For Whitmarsh the MOPS group is at the heart of what he wants his church to be about.

“Its creating a space where people can connect and find a place. Im excited we have another opportunity for people to be connected and feel supported and cared for and give people the opportunity to make some real friendships,” he said.

The MOPS group will convene on Sept. 14. For information visit facebook.com/pages/Lakebay-Community-Church-MOPS/645546638914240 or call the church at (253) 884-3899.

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