C.S. Lewis once said: "Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work." To an expectant mother this quote could be inspirational or a lot of pressure.
To a new mother this quote could seem completely far fetched when her child is screaming in her ear for the umpteenth time that morning, her toddler is running around getting into everything and she hasn’t showered in three days.
To some mothers, the scene of mischievous toddlers and screaming babies is all too familiar and, depending on how removed they are from that stage in their children’s lives, they can cringe and give a chuckle or they can have a full-on panic attack.
No matter what the age of the mother, most of them will admit to feeling completely alone at some point in their child-rearing careers.
Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) is an organization that strives to protect mothers from the alone feeling that they sometimes experience in the middle of their toddler’s anti-nap fit.
The women in the Conway area chapter of MOPS are moms of all types from various backgrounds.
Once a month these ladies come together over brunch and compare notes, visit with other moms, learn about tools to help raise their kids like self-defense and car seat safety and most of all enjoy the company of people who don’t still drink from a sippy cup.
The child care available to the mothers of MOPS is unique to this organization.
In keeping with the "it takes a village" philosophy, these women calm infants while the fussy infant’s mother is taking a much-needed break with a breakfast pastry and a cup of coffee.
They support each other by listening and telling each other about the crazy things their children did last week and forming connections.
As a transient society, some families are without the support of extended family such as grandparents, aunts and uncles which is where MOPS comes in.
MOPS Director Kristin Patton and Public Relations Specialist Amanda Poole said they got involved with MOPS for similar reason.
"When my oldest was 3, he was wanting to play with friends so I did a search and I found it," Poole said. "I was doing it for him but it turns out I needed it more than he did."
Socialization is the main goal of MOPS and especially the Conway chapter.
The motto of the Conway area MOPS chapter is "mothering matters."
Though MOPS international is based in a Christian faith belief system, the Conway area chapter welcomes any denomination or background.
"[We try] to make sure that all the moms that come in feel welcome. Sometimes its awkward to try to form bonds as a parent," Patton said.
Though the organization is focused on building relationships and a community of moms, it also gives some of the focus to the child care.
MOPS strives to give mothers a break so providing moms a break from mothering, child care is offered.
This is different from the other "mom groups" in the area because many of the other groups are focused on the children.
The moms will do a craft with their child or help them build something but in MOPS the children are taken and grouped all together and taken care of by someone other than their own mothers.
This lets the mothers more easily form relationships with others and remind themselves of who they were before they became someone’s mother.
The curriculum within the child care is designed to be beneficial for the children as well. In this curriculum, they are able to work on fine motor skills and play outside as well as build relationships and socialize with other children close their own age.
Because the kids are usually around preschool age, this socializing is able to help them to adjust to a public-school setting for kindergarten.
The most important philosophy of MOPS as an organization is its mission to ensure that mothers know they are not alone in their joys or their frustrations.
The women of MOPS strive to build relationships with other moms to support them and offer help to each other as mothers but as women as well.
In spite of most of these women being stay-at-home mothers who spend most of their day with kids under the age of 10, they make the effort to keep their individuality and better themselves as mothers through MOPS.