Coastal Empire support groups unite moms to keep new parents sane
By: Anne Hart for the Savannah Morning News
Baby talk all day long.
Thatâ€™s how Christy Johns described her days at home with her newborn son.
While she relished spending time with her baby, she also longed for connections with other moms who have children of similar ages.
Enter Islands MOPS â€” one of many local, active branches of the international group Mothers of Preschoolers. Johns went to one meeting and knew she had found a welcoming group of moms with insight into her many, many questions involved with mothering a newborn.
At her first meeting, Johns stood up and said, â€śHi, Iâ€™m Christy and I do not know I what I am doing.â€ť
Being a mom of young children who are not yet school-age can be deeply isolating, lonely and downright confusing. You daily ask yourself if you are doing it all correctly â€” disciplining, potty-training, tummy time, time management, coping with colic.
Which is why organized social moms groups are becoming so popular.
MOPS and other local moms groups have grown beyond just offering a weekly rap session for moms to chat and meet. Many now offer spa nights, schools nights for moms to learn about local schools, family game night and fun outings â€” all with child care provided.
Call it a play date for mommies.
â€śBeing a mom can be a thankless job,â€ť Johns said. â€śMOPS provides a place where we can come and we all know what we are going through.â€™â€™
MOPS is open to all mothers of children ages newborn through kindergarten.
MOPS has become so popular that three years ago, a new group launched for the moms who graduate from MOPS: MOMS Next is for moms with children school age through 12th grade.
Frankie Brooks joined Islands MOPS five years ago when she moved to Savannah. She had two kids and no friends with children, no play dates except taking her kids to her husbandâ€™s office.
That all changed after joining MOPS.
Brooks has said sheâ€™s seen MOPS grow in many ways over the years, including becoming more diverse and offering more informative events and activities.
This year, Islands MOPS is waiving its regular $5 meeting fee and offering free meetings to encourage even more moms to join.
â€śWe donâ€™t want to stop any moms from coming,â€™â€™ Frankie said.
Sandy Manley joined Island MOPS when she moved from New York with her husband and two children. She said she was painfully shy. But her husband encouraged her to attend a MOPS meeting and it was a life-saver.
Manleyâ€™s message to moms who might be on the fence about attending a MOPS meeting: â€śJust do it.â€ť
â€śYou will leave with more friends that you can imagine.â€ť
CONNECT WITH MOMS
The start of a new school year means local moms groups start meeting regularly again. Here are a few to check out:
6613 Johnny Mercer Drive
Savannah, GA 31410
Meets: Second and fourth Wednesdays from 9:15-11:30 a.m.
Memorial Chapel of First Baptist Church Rincon
Will meet Oct. 9 from 9-11:30 a.m. The meeting will feature a speaker, a craft activity, discussion time, and refreshments. Child care is provided.
1115 Highway 80 East,
Pooler, GA 31322
Meets: First and third Wednesday of the month from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Pooler. Planned play dates on the fourth Wednesday.
Richmond Hill MOPS
First Baptist Church Richmond Hill
9184 Ford Ave.
Richmond Hill, GA 31324
Meets: First and third Tuesday of each month
Henderson MOPS at Savannah Christian Church
Meets second and fourth Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m.-noon, in the Kids Auditorium 2 at the Henderson Campus.
Child care drop off begins at 9:15 a.m.
RSVP required for childcare: email@example.com or 808-258-1641.
MOPS Savannah Christian East
Meets: First and third Thursdays of each month