Being a stay-at-home parent can be lonely and isolating at times, so it’s important to regularly interact with other women.
MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) is an international non-denominational Christian organization with minimal fees. In one typical pattern, groups meet one morning a month, with volunteers providing childcare while the women enjoy a carry-in brunch, guest speaker, and craft activity.
For your own group, you might hire a teenage babysitter or take turns watching the children. Good places to meet include a member’s home, churches, public halls, or parks.
In order to make newcomers feel welcome and to include all members in your group life, take time to celebrate the milestones of your lives. For example, you could give out small (donated) gifts such as candles, bath gels, and potpourri to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries that will take place during the coming month. After the birth of a baby, offer to arrange meals for the mother and her family.
A craft project can be a fun way to occupy children. Loads of ideas can be found on the Internet. Bible Crafts and More (Standard, 1999) categorizes craft ideas by books of the Bible, so it’s easy to correlate them with a Bible study.
Wiggle Tamers: 101 Ideas for Keeping Kids Focused by Jolene Roehlkepartain(Group Publishing, 1995) has great activity ideas for both preschoolers or elementary children, which can be helpful if your group includes home-schoolers or meets when kids are out of school. Nursery Smart Pages (Gospel Light, 1997) provides information on organizing a nursery and has songs, Bible studies, and simple crafts.
Local libraries and parks departments are terrific sources of low-cost or free children’s activities in a fun and educational environment.
Keep track of the costs your group incurs and divide the total among members. Having fun doesn’t have to be costly. By donating goods and sharing childcare you can keep costs down and still have a great time.
—Marti K. Troyer, Bayshore Mennonite Church, Sarasota, Fla.