Mothers of Preschoolers, MOMSnext group helps mothers, community

CRAFT TIME: Pictured (from left) Becky Ek, Jenny Hardesty and Kwang Westrate paint backing boards for a spare change holder project. The Mothers of Preschoolers and MOMSnext group meets twice a month and meetings rotate among a craft project, a service project and a speaker. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

CRAFT TIME: Pictured (from left) Becky Ek, Jenny Hardesty and Kwang Westrate paint backing boards for a spare change holder project. The Mothers of Preschoolers and MOMSnext group meets twice a month and meetings rotate among a craft project, a service project and a speaker. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

BIG RAPIDS — Parenting can sometimes feel like a lonely task, but one group of women is working to create an outlet for mothers to find adult conversation, camaraderie and an opportunity for community service.

Mothers of Preschoolers and MOMSnext, for mothers of school-aged children, meet jointly twice a month at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Big Rapids.

“We rotate between a craft meeting, a service meeting and a speaker meeting,” said Carrie Krause, co-coordinator.

For example, at Thursday’s meeting, the group was creating a decorative board to hold a loose change jar and at the next meeting on Nov. 5, they plan to pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

MOPS and MOMSnext of St. Peter’s meet from 9 to 11 a.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at the church, located at 408 W. Bellevue, Big Rapids. Due to Thanksgiving, the group will meet on Nov. 5 and 19 next month. The program is open to all mothers, regardless of religious background. More members are always welcomed, said Krause.

SNACK TIME: Members of the Mothers of Preschoolers and MOMSnext group get a snack before settling in to discuss the day's topic, raising boys. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

SNACK TIME: Members of the Mothers of Preschoolers and MOMSnext group get a snack before settling in to discuss the day’s topic, raising boys. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

The theme for this year is “A Fierce Flourishing” and the Bible verse for the year is Isaiah 55:12 (NIV): “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst forth into song and the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

During meetings, there is a brief prayer and information about upcoming community events is shared in addition to the planned activities.

Currently, the group is comprised of about 30 women, including “mentor moms,” more experienced mothers who provide a listening ear and advice to younger mothers. Child care is available on-site and within view for infants and older children, including homeschooled children if applicable.

“We welcome the nursing babies to come sit with their mothers at the tables,” Krause added.

Official group meetings are twice a month, but the support doesn’t end there.

“Once a month we do a mom’s night out or a family day,” said Susan Miedema, one of the group’s mentor mothers. “Once a week, there’s a play date, just to get the kids together and provide some mom time. These are all informal — by no means mandatory. Whoever is available and wants to come can come.”

Anyone interested in more information about MOPS and MOMSnext can call St. Peter’s at (231) 796-6684 or find MOPS/MOMSnext of St. Peters – Big Rapids on Facebook.

BUSINESS ITEMS: Mothers of Preschoolers and MOMSnext group co-coordinator Carrie Krause (at podium) shares information about upcoming community and group events with members at a recent meeting. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

BUSINESS ITEMS: Mothers of Preschoolers and MOMSnext group co-coordinator Carrie Krause (at podium) shares information about upcoming community and group events with members at a recent meeting. (Pioneer photo/Candy Allan)

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Posted by Candy Allan

Candy is the Pioneer's associate editor. She also coordinates the Family & Friends, Religion and Parenting pages. She can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8386 or by e-mail at callan@pioneergroup.com.

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