Purpose Statement

MOPS Purpose Statement: MOPS International exists to encourage, equip and develop every mother of preschoolers to realize her potential as a woman, mother and leader in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What Did You Do Today?

Today I left some dishes dirty,
The bed got made around 3:30.
The washing soaked a little longer,
The odour grew a little stronger.
The crumbs I spilled the day before
Are staring at me from the floor.
The fingerprints there on the wall
Will likely be there still next fall.
The dirty streaks on those windowpanes
Will still be there next time it rains.
Shame on you, you sit and say,
Just what did you do today?
I held a baby till he slept,
I held a toddler while she wept.
I played a game of hide and seek,
I squeezed a toy so it would squeak.
I pulled a wagon, sang a song,
Taught a child right from wrong.
What did I do this whole day through?
Not much that shows, I guess that's true.
Unless you think that what I've done,
Might be important to someone
With deep blue eyes and soft blonde hair,
If that is true...I've done my share.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Let Us Know What You Think of Our New Blog

So... what do you think? Do you like our MOPS @ MBC Blog? Anything else you would like to see on here or any feedback for us? We want to keep this Blog relevant and useful to MOPS Mums so your input is valued and we would love to hear from you. To add a comment, click on the word "COMMENTS" below any of the posts you wish to comment on and follow the prompts from there. You can also email Michele (look for her email in the MOPS newsletter).

18 July - Visiting the GP

Dr Roger Morris, local GP and father of two, was our guest speaker today. Main points that I can recall from his talk were:
  • GPs thinking on/treatment of fevers has changed in recent times
  • Fever is not to be feared, is bodies natural way of fighting a virus or infection
  • Really only need to be concerned if a fever is over 40 deg
  • GP will take into account whole presentatin of the child not just "the number"of the temp. So a child who is generally well in themselves, sitting up, making contact with the parents/GP is generally less of a concern that one who is still and crying or listless etc
  • Good idea to strip your child off so GP can do thorough check for rashes etc
  • Many rashes are caused by viruses
  • Difference in a rash that fades then returns when run finger across skin (less of a concern) than one that stays red even when a finger run across it (more of a concern). This type of "stays red" rash may possibly be a blood infection such as pneumococcal. meningococcal. V rare but could be indicative of. The rash is a late sign of these conditions. Treatment needs to be rapid. Ambulance called and antibiotics given immeditately by the GP. If ever concerned about a rash see your doctor asap as they will be able to diagnose and treat accordingly
  • Most accurate way to check temp is with one of the infra red in the ear type thermometers. Most accurate as inner ear is closest to core body temp (can be quite expensive but a few MOPS Mums have got them from discount chemists and look out for them when on sale as can drop in price from around $100 down to $35-50)
  • Babies can check temp under arm (but may be around half a point cooler than actual temp), older children under tongue ok if they will sit still long enough
  • A fever that sticks around longer than 72 hours (3 days) should be looked at
  • If in doubt do go to your GP
  • If cooling a baby or child ALWAYS use TEPID water (not cold as will make them shiver which will in turn actually raise temp) and ALWAYS STAY AND MONITOR A CHILD IN THE BATH (babies/children should always be monitored anyway but an extra risk of febrile convulsions leading to drowning). Perhaps give a tepid sponge bath instead
  • Febrile convulsions quite uncommon. Thought to be caused by the rapidity of the rise in temperature not just how high the temp is
  • No real difference between Nurofen and Panadol in terms of reducing fever or for pain management. Equally as effective. Nurofen may taste better and therefore be more palatable for children. Nurofen cant be used until 6mths of age but Panadol from 1 mth
  • Chemist brands and other brand names identical and may be cheaper
  • Do not alternate doses of Nurofen and Panadol as can lead to overdose
  • Follow directions for dosage amounts and frequencies and on the packet. Remember age and weight effect dosage also
  • Cough mixtures (cough suppressants) for children no longer reccommended. Ineffective and can perhaps do more harm than good. Decongestants/decongestants with antihistimine still ok. Speak to your GP/Pharmacist
  • Avoid Phenergan (and similar sedatives) for children under 2-3. Only use occasionally when needed for older children. Definitely not to be used for babies/infants as maybe linked to an increased risk of SIDS
  • Remember antibiotics ineffective for viral infections
  • Contagion - if your child has caught it then it is contagious. Most things are most contagious in first few days. If in doubt stay away from others to minimise spreading the germs and practice good personal hygiene - regular hand washing, use tissues and dispose of immediately etc.
As a friend of mine recently spent a sleepless night in Emergency with her 4 year old who had overdosed on Panadol I would like to add a reminder to ALWAYS KEEP MEDICINES AND POISONS OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. Best to be locked away and/or in a high up cupboard where children can not access.

Don't be complacent about child proof caps etc. Her 2 year old climbed up on the kitchen bench and opened the "child-proof" lid and passed it to her brother who then ingested the large amount ending in a visit to emergency and stay in hospital (no long term results thankfully).

Same goes for household products including bleach, dishwasher powder etc which can cause terrible burns to throat/lungs etc when ingested . Please keep locked up or out of reach of children.

A handy number to have near the phone is the POISONS Info Line.

Poisons Information is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on 13 1126.

I have made use of this number when in a sleep deprived state I misread a label and gave Gus many times the dosage (bleary eyed and brain in neutral read the dosage on the label as something like as 1.0ml instead of 0.1ml).....they were exceptionally helpful and reassuring as I rang them at 3 in the morning in a panic with my heart in my mouth wondering what the effects would be of this overdose.

Poor Gus! Again he was fine but it was a reminder to be extra careful around our kids and medication.

If anyone has any other points they can recall from Dr Rogers talk please email them to me at hillme@virginbroadband.com.au or add them in the comments section of this post

Thanks and see you at Pioneer Park Landsborough for our next MOPS in 2 weeks time (August 1, from 9.30). Event cancelled if it rains.

New Arrivals

Congratulations to MOPS Mum Kylie on the birth of twin girls Poppy and Lily.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

From the Couch - Time for an Emotional Health Check-Up?

From the Couch – Time for an Emotional Health Check-Up?
Today we have Dr Roger Morris, a local GP, joining us as a guest speaker and this prompted me to ask you – is it time you had an emotional health check-up?
We tend to be more mindful of looking after our physical health. We go to the doctor for regular check ups or at least get there when something is physically wrong with us but how often do we take stock of our mental and emotional health? Chances are the answer would be not often, or not until there is a crisis and we hit rock bottom.
Perhaps it is time to stop for a moment and do a quick self assessment. How often have you felt stressed, angry, frustrated, sad, down, depressed, anxious, guilty, or overwhelmed lately? Would it be every now and again? Or pretty much every day? And how intense are these feelings on a scale of 0-10 with zero being ‘Not at All’ and ten being ‘Extremely High’?
It’s easy to say “well that’s just the way I am. I have always been an anxious person” or “isn’t feeling like that just part of life as a busy Mum of (insert how many children), who doesn’t get enough sleep, rest, intimacy, free time (insert whatever it is you think you are not getting enough of)”. Well yes, we all have different personality types and parenting can certainly be stressful and taxing at times but it doesn’t have to be and you don’t have to always feel this way. You can take control over your emotions and operate on a more even keel.
You don’t want to eliminate all emotions totally. It is healthy to experience and express the whole range of emotions. We need to feel sad when something bad happens, a bit of anger gives us the fire in our belly to stand up for ourselves, a touch of nerves before we perform gives us that motivation or edge to focus and concentrate and so on. However, sometimes we can feel an unpleasant emotion too often, too frequently, too intensely and it can start to interfere with functioning in our everyday life. Perhaps your emotions are affecting your relationships or overall enjoyment of life. Remember also that there is a very strong and direct connection between emotional health and physical health. Too much negative emotion such as stress can negatively impact your immune system leaving you open to picking up every little cough and cold that goes around.
It is important to note too that they way we express emotions and handle things that life throws our way strongly influences our children. They are like little sponges soaking up what we do and say and how we behave. When there is no milk in the fridge for the third time this week do we curse and slam the door or do we just calmly deal with it. When someone cuts us off in traffic do we take a calming breath and just move on? When things aren’t going our way and we are frustrated ….what do we do? Do we bounce back resiliently or do we wallow and moan and sulk? How do you want your children to behave both now and and adults of the future?
So what is the “prescription” or “cure”? There are no quick fixes or miracle cures but you can learn a few techniques that can help in this area. Never underestimate the impact of ensuring you are meeting your basic needs. Sometimes easier said than done but focus on what you can do today to ensure you get more sleep, healthy food, sufficient water and exercise. Just concentrating on these things can make huge changes in mood. We also covered Relaxation Strategies in an earlier MOPS meeting. You can find these strategies elsewhere on this Blog if you want to print them out and put into practice.
Another popular and effective technique used by psychologists is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). Here is a taste of CBT that you can start using today. First ask yourself what is it that you are saying to yourself? What is your self-talk or ‘inner dialogue’. Is the dominating tone of these internal messages positive (“I’m a great mum, I can do this, stay calm, tackle one thing at a time, it will be alright) or negative (I’m hopeless, I’m a bad mum, I can’t handle this, this is so stressful, I can’t cope)?
CBT looks at something called Common Thinking Errors. They are called ‘common’ for a reason. You are not the only one that falls into these thinking traps. And they are called ‘Thinking Errors’ as they are exactly that – false ways of thinking. They are also known as Unhelpful Thoughts or Distorted Beliefs. In short they are lies that we tell ourselves that we believe and that can shape our feelings and behaviour in a negative direction.
Here are some of the Common Thinking Errors taken from Dr David Burns book “The New Mood Therapy”. As you read this list, try and identify which of these Thinking Errors you are most prone to fall into?
· All or nothing thinking – seeing things as black or white, something is either totally perfect or totally awful, nothing in between
· Overgeneralisation – generalising from one area to every area, from one mistake to your whole life. You cook a meal for your in-laws that isn’t the best meal you have ever cooked and you say to yourself “I can’t even cook a meal right. I’m hopeless”
· Mental Filter – filtering out anything good or positive and only focusing on the negative. You have taken your children to visit a friend and your youngest has an almighty tantrum as you leave. You think to yourself “Well that was a disaster. I can’t take him anywhere” and concentrate on that last portion of the visit filtering out all the good behaviour that also occurred
· Disqualifying the Positive – when you do something well or something good happens dismissing it as a fluke or that it didn’t count for whatever reason
· Jumping to Conclusions – Assuming you know the outcome, how something is going to turn out, what someone is thinking when you don’ t really know the facts and haven’t checked. You predict that the family outing is going to be terrible “The kids are going to play up and I won’t cope” when it may just turn out to be great fun. Your friend is very quiet when you catch up for coffee and you think to yourself “She’s angry at me because I was late” when her quietness may be for some other reason.
·Magnification/Catastrophising or Minimisation – Blowing things out of proportion, making mountains out of molehills, everything is a disaster or catastrophe or the opposite is shrinking something like a good quality down so it doesn’t mean as much
· Emotional Reasoning – assuming that just because you feel a feeling it is true, letting your emotions take over from fact or logic: “I feel anxious so therefore this is something I should be worried about”
· Should Statements – Operating in terms of Must, Ought, Shoulds. Setting up unrealistic expectations and behavioral rules for your self and others ”I should be able to stay calm at all times”
· Labelling and Mislabelling – putting yourself or others into categories or boxes rather than seeing someone or something as multi-faceted (lazy, bad, naughty etc)
· Personalisation – seeing things as all your fault, totally caused by you and not influenced by other contributing factors
Once you start to tune into your thinking and identify these patterns of negative thinking you can learn to challenge these thoughts and replace them with more healthy, realistic thinking and in doing so take more control over your moods. Here is a list of questions to ask yourself whenever you catch yourself experiencing an unpleasant mood or falling into a Common Thinking Error trap.
    • What am I saying to myself (thinking) that may be leading to how I am feeling?
    • How strongly do I believe this thought? (Rate the strength in the belief from 0-100%)
    • · Is this self-talk helpful or unhelpful? Which ‘common thinking error(s)’ is it falling into?
    • Is there any evidence for this thought? (list it out)
    • Is there any evidence against this thought? (list it out)
    • Is there an alternative explanation or another way of looking at the situation? List these out.
    • What is the worst that could happen (worst case scenario)? Could I live through this?
    • What is the best that could happen/best case scenario?
    • What is the MOST LIKELY or MOST REALISTIC outcome?
    • What impact does this thought/self-talk have on my life? In other words, what happens to me OR what happens in my life OR what do I do (or avoid doing) because I believe this thought?
    • What might happen if I change my thinking?
    • What can I do about it? Is there any action I can take? (Use Problem Solving steps if get stuck here)
    • If a friend was in the same situation, or had the same thought, what would I say to them? Could you say the same thing to yourself?
    • Now re-rate your belief in the original thought (0-100%)
    • Finally, after working through all these questions, re-word or re-write the original thought as a more helpful/realistic thought? Write this down.
    These strategies take a bit of effort and practice to learn, and, like any prescription - if you leave them sitting in the medicine cabinet and do not take them regularly then you will not get their powerful healing benefits.
    Give them a try. Let me know how you go.

    After further help in this area? Look up Psychologists under P in the Yellow Pages or go to the APS website and click on Find a Psychologist.

    Please feel free to email me if you want further information on this topic
    or advice on where to seek additional help in this area hillme@virginbroadband.com.au .

    The Importance of a Tidy Home - Focus on the Family 96.5

    I just caught a segment on Focus on the Family (on the radio station 96.5) about the importance of having a tidy home and was somewhat challenged and inspired when I heard the guest speaker (Organizational expert Sandra Felton) mention some research that showed children raised in tidy homes ended up as more productive adults with both higher education and income levels than those children raised in so called "messy" homes. Not sure how exactly they measured tidy vs messy but looking around my place today (and most days if I am honest!) I think I know what category my home would have fallen into when those researchers dropped in.

    Of course it wasn't just the neatness itself that led to these positive outcomes but the organizational skills and work ethic that the children learned from parents who kept an organized home.

    The segment also mentioned a neat and tidy home that is only that way because of the adults in the family does not lead to such great outcomes. It is the direct involvement of the children in the organizing and tidying up roles of home management, not just passive observation that leads to the development of important life skills.

    One of Sandra's books that was mentioned was "The Messies Manual".

    See Focus on the Family at family.org for more info or look it up on Amazon.

    Monday, July 07, 2008

    Operation Christmas Child - Start Here Go There

    Our MOPS theme for 2008 The Home Factor - Start Here Go There. What better way to put that theme into action than by getting involved in Operation Christmas Child. 
    What is Operation Christmas Child?  
    Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes.
    This program of Samaritan's Purse provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple, hands—on missions project while focusing on the true meaning of Christmas.
    The simple idea is that you fill a shoe box with small gifts to send to a child living in poverty. (Boxes are made up for either boy or girl and split into age ranges 2-4, 5-7 etc xxxx EDIT THIS.). This gift is then delivered to them in time for Christmas. 
    Things to include:
    • small toys
    • pencils/crayons/note pads
    • tennis balls
    • clean new clothing (cap, tshirt etc)
    • personal hygiene items (soap, toothbrush and toothpaste etc) 
    • can include a letter/photo of your family if you wish

    Things to avoid including:
    • Anything related to war (guns/soldiers/tanks etc) 
    • breakables/glass products etc
    • makeup/beauty products
    • things that will melt/leak etc 
     MOPS @ MBC has some shoeboxes you can contribute too, just bring along your bits and pieces to any MOPS meeting and we will ensure they are included. Perhaps you want to work on a shoebox with your family. It is a great way to teach your children about important social values such as helping others and learning about giving and sharing etc. Or you may want to work together as a table with your Discussion Group to compile a shoebox to send off.
    Items for boxes/complete boxes must be collected and ready to send by xxxx TO BE EDITED

    Thursday, July 03, 2008

    Did You Know About ....Round the Clock Support for Parents 13-HEALTH number

    At last - a number you can call any time of day and night with questions and concerns about your baby or child.

    I remember those foggy early days (or more usually nights) particularly in the first few weeks when you just wanted to be able to pick up the phone and ask a question or two to sort something out or stop worrying unnecessarily. How much milk should my baby be having and how do I know they are getting enough, What do I do about this rash. Should I get it checked out?, What's the best way to settle the baby when nothing seems to be working?

    You'd pull every Parenting and Baby book of the shelf and frantically look through the index trying to find the information you wanted or spend a sleepless night waiting until standard office hours and bad luck if you had an issue or question over a weekend or a public holidays as most of the usual services were closed ......

    ......but now you can call 13-HEALTH (13 43 25 84) as this Queensland Government service is about to be expanded to give parents 24 Hour access to information about their newborn babies.

    The existing 13HEALTH number is getting a $3.5 million upgrade as part of government efforts to improve postnatal services. The original Child Health Hotline 1800 177 279 will be incorporated into the 13HEALTH number by the end of the year, trebling its capacity from 50,000 parenting calls each year to 150,000 calls.

    Extra child health nurses will be employed to take the calls. Good news Mums and Dads!

    Did You Know About....Parentline and the Triple P Positive Parenting Program

    Parentline is a confidential telephone counselling service providing professional counselling and support for parents and care-givers in Queensland since 1996, and to the Northern Territory since May 2004.
    Available 8am to 10pm, seven days a week for the cost of a local call.

    Call Parentline on 1300 301 300 or visit the Parentline Website

    As well as all the other stuff they provide, Parentline can also take you through Triple P strategies and even send out Triple P Tipsheets on over 40 topics to do with parenting and child behaviour ranging from Infants to Teens.

    Triple P is the Positive Parenting Program developed by Professor Matt Sanders at the University of Queensland. It is one of the only properly evaluated parenting programs in the world and actually has published evidence that it works.

    The principles and strategies taught via Triple P have been shown to prevent, minimise and manage child behaviour problems such as tantrums, non compliance, defiance etc.

    Triple P can be delivered in many ways, over the phone, in person, one on one or in seminars or groups.

    It is suitable for parents of infants through to teens and there are even adaptations for Step Families, and families with children with special needs.

    Triple P programs and information available through local Child Health Centres delivered by trained Child Health Nurses, as well as Early Intervention Specialists (Social Workers and Psychologists).

    For more information on Triple P see here

    Did You Know About....New Car Seat Legislation to be introduced?

    Taken from Issue 27 July/Aug Kids on the Coast magazine:

    "Latest figures show that about 500 Australian children are killed or seriously injured in car accidents each year. Of these accidents, 2 in every 5 are as a direct result of an incorrectly fitted child restraint....A child who is incorrectly restrained is SEVEN times more likely to sustain life threatening injuries than one in a correct restraint. With research indicating that children are moving too early into bigger seats that are not suitable for their weight and height, new legislation from the National Transport Commission will significantly change the way Australians transport their children aged seven and under in their cars. The new laws aim to educate parents and carers about when it is safe to transition their children from rear child seats to boosters and adult seat belts. For more information visit www.ntc.gov.au

    Did You Know About ... raisingchildren.net.au

    raisingchildren.net.au is another great site with plenty of quality information about child development and parenting

    Did You Know About ...The Australian Childhood Foundation Website and Resources?

    The Australian Childhood Foundation website can be found here. It contains ideas and articles on children and parenting. Lots of good stuff on there. They also put out a free booklet a while back for parents called "Every Child is Important" that has pages about seeing things through a child's eyes, being a parent, the early years, the importance of play, the importance of love, how words and actions can hurt, shaping children's behaviour, why children misbehave, siblings, accepting differences, helping children cope with stressful events, keeping children safe from harm and a useful resource listing at the back . See the website or call 1800 176 453 for a free copy.

    Theme Scripture

    Psalm 139

    1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.
    2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
    3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
    4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
    5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
    6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

    7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
    8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
    9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
    10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
    11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
    12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

    13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
    15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
    16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
    17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
    18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand — when I awake, I am still with you.

    19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
    20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
    21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
    22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
    23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
    24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

    Annual MOPS Participation Fee

    The annual MOPS Participation Fee of $10 assists MOPS Australia in covering the cost of training for Regional Coordinators to help other MOPS groups to develop around Australia. It also allows more MOPS group leaders around Australia to access regional training.

    This will go a long way to helping MOPS Australia bring MOPS to more Mums around Australia.

    When you register for MOPS each year, you will be handed an Annual Participation Fee form, and we ask that if you are able to pay this $10 participation fee, please do so before the end of April 2011.

    The payment options are...
    1. Direct Debit to MOPS Australia bank account
    2. Credit card
    3. Cheque payable to MOPS Australia
    4. Cash to MOPS@MBC front desk

    Thank you, from the MOPS@MBC team.

    How did MOPS begin?

    It was a Tuesday morning, at about 9.30. They each had faced spilled cereal, tangled hair, and a few had even been forced to change their outfits due to a last-minute baby throw-up on a shoulder or lap. They had driven, or pushed strollers, to the church and had dropped their little ones off in the creche. They had made it!

    And now they sat, knees almost touching, in the circle of children's chairs from the Sunday school room. Hands held hot cups of tea and biscuits in utter freedom because this treat did not have to be shared with a child's sticky fingers. Mouths moved in eager, uninterrupted conversation. Eyes sparkled with enthusiasm. Hearts stirred with understanding. Needs were met.

    That morning in 1973, was the first morning of MOPS, or Mothers of Preschoolers. Little was it known that from this small beginning in a church in Colorado, USA, the seeds of the MOPS concept and format had been planted. The needs of the women were met even then, through the opportunity for friendship, creative outlet and spiritual emphasis. MOPS International now charters approximately 2,500 MOPS groups in churches in the United States and 13 other countries throughout the world.

    How did MOPS begin in Australia?

    How did MOPS begin in Australia?

    Nineteen years later and thousands of kilometres away, the same mutual need for sharing was realised by a group of mums with children under school age in Melbourne. After reading about the MOPS concept in the US, leaders introduced the program to the Clayton Church of Christ Fellowship in early 1990 and MOPS was born in Australia. From this small beginning, the seeds for future growth were planted, resulting in the formation of an affiliated body to support the ever-increasing number of Australian groups and the mums they served.

    Since its formation in June 2000, MOPS Australia, Inc has grown rapidly and there are currently over 100 groups throughout Australia. In the last year alone, 35 new groups have commenced, with groups starting up regularly throughout different Christian denominations. Groups now meet in every state and territory in Australia, with an estimated ministry to approximately 2500 mums and 3000 children.

    How did MOPS begin at MBC?

    A Brief History of MOPS at MBC by Karen Askey-Doran (COordinator of MOPS til 2008 and currently Regional Coordinator).

    In 1999, the leader of MBC’s women’s ministry caught the vision of MOPS. At that time I was a new Mum with little inclination to help; I was interested but not convicted!

    Roughly a year later another meeting was held to generate interest. At this time I had another little baby girl, a 16-month-old toddler and, although I was unaware of it, Post Natal Depression. And once again people were interested but not compelled to lead.

    In 2005 Holly, caught the vision of MOPS and began to sow the seeds of interest throughout the young Mums in our church. Robyn Robertson came to our first meeting and inspired us into action…the seeds Holly planted took hold!

    People came slowly at first to fill the positions, it seemed there were a lot of blanks for a long time! Holly was going to be our Coordinator and when she filled out the charter she realised that a Mother of Preschoolers should really fill that role…. So she called me! Very graciously, Holly took a side step into a Mentoring role (very appropriate really).

    God was moving in our midst, we had been blessed with an inspired team of 15 Mops Leaders and 9 Moppets Leaders, each one having a testimony about how God had lead them to this ministry!

    I suspect that God has big plans for our group. I still feel very inadequate sometimes but I do trust God and I want to serve him and to reach out to Mums who are hurting, to support them. I want to encourage, you know, to build up… to make a difference in people’s lives, especially my children’s!

    I know I’m not alone… In Romans 8:28 it says “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” He planned for my girls, my twins, my battle with PND. He planned for MOPS - at this time - in our church! The door has literally been flung open!

    What happens at a MOPS meeting?

    When a mum enters a MOPS meeting, she is greeted by a friendly face and escorted to MOPPETS, where her children enjoy their special part of the MOPS program. In MOPPETS, children from infancy through to school age experience a caring environment while they learn, sing, play and make crafts.

    Once her children are settled, the MOPS mum joins a program tailor-made to meet her needs. She can grab something to eat and not have to share it! She can finish a sentence and not have to speak in words of two syllables!

    The program typically begins with a brief lesson taught by an older mum who's been through the challenging years of mothering and who can share from her experience and from the truths taught in the Bible. Then the women move into small discussion groups where there are no "wrong answers" and each mum is free to share her joys and struggles with other mums who truly understand her feelings. In these moments, long-lasting friendships are often made on the common ground of finally being understood.

    From here, the women participate in a craft or other creative activity. For mums who are often frustrated by the impossibility of completing anything in their unpredictable days, this activity is deeply satisfying. It provides a sense of accomplishment and growth for many mums.

    Because mums of preschoolers themselves lead MOPS, the program also offers women a chance to develop their leadership skills and other talents. It takes organisation, creativity, and management skills to run a MOPS program successfully.

    By the time they finish the MOPS meeting and pick up their children, the mums feel refreshed and better able to mother. MOPS helps them recognise that mums have needs too! And when they take the time to meet those needs, they find they are more effective in meeting the needs of their families.

    Meeting the needs of Mothers of Preschoolers

    The MOPS program is dedicated to meeting the needs of mothers of preschoolers. These needs have been identified by Elisa Morgan and Carol Kuykendall in their book, What Every Mum Needs:

    The need for Identity: Sometimes I'm not sure who I am

    The need for Growth: Sometimes I long to develop who I am

    The need for Relationship: Sometimes I long to be understood

    The need for Help: Sometimes I need to share the load

    The need for Perspective: Sometimes I lose my focus

    The need for Hope: Sometimes I wonder if there's more to life

    Here's How Some Mums Describe MOPS

    "MOPS means that I am able to share the joys and frustrations and insecurities of being a mum. Our meetings provide the opportunity to hear someone else say, "I was up all night," or "They're driving me crazy!"

    MOPS mum, Perth

    "As a single mum, this is the first group I've felt accepted in for who I am."

    MOPS mum, Canberra

    'On my first day at MOPS, I knew my life had changed forever! The women made me feel so relaxed. I had a peace I hadn't felt for a long time. They were so caring, pleasant, helpful…the list goes on! I just want to say, "Thank you MOPS!" If it weren't for MOPS, I wouldn't be where I am today.'

    MOPS mum, Melbourne

    'When I first started MOPS, I was very, very lonely. MOPS gave me a chance to get out of the house which I was grateful for. The talks were very informative. I found out a lot through these talks. My problems seemed to become smaller. When I first started at MOPS, I thought I was a Christian. I wasn't. Through MOPS I can now say, 'I am a Christian.' MOPS to me is not only Mothers of Pre Schoolers, but My Own Private Salvation!'

    MOPS mum, Canberra