MOPS: General 411

I first heard about MOPS four years ago via my Facebook newsfeed. A good friend often mentioned MOPS in her status updates, and I couldn’t help but wonder what this MOPS thing was that I kept hearing about. At the time, Harper was barely a year old—the era of playdates and preschool still far off into the future—and though I loved being at home with my daughter, I also admittedly felt somewhat isolated as a first-time mom who spent 95% of her time talking to someone who could not yet respond. Curious, I asked my friend: “What exactly is this MOPS gig?” After giving me a brief run-down, she encouraged me to join the following year. “You’ll love it!” she insisted. Turns out, she was right.

I’ve been a MOPS member at UUMC for three years now, and my experience there has been so positive that I want to introduce this amazing organization to other moms in San Antonio!

My MOPS group last year at UUMC

My MOPS group last year at UUMC

What is MOPS?

MOPS is an international, non-denominational Christian organization with over 3,000 local chapters throughout the U.S. The acronym “MOPS” stands for “Mothers of Preschoolers,” although that is somewhat misleading because your child doesn’t have to be of preschool age to be a member; mothers of Kindergarten-aged children and younger are welcome at all MOPS groups.

MOPS groups are started through local churches, and they vary in size from 10 to 200 women. San Antonio is home to 26 local MOPS groups, so no matter where you are in the Alamo City, odds are that there is a MOPS group nearby. Certain MOPS groups even cater to specific sectors of moms. Teen MOPS is designed to accommodate teen mothers; Military MOPS appeals to moms on military bases; and because the challenges of motherhood certainly don’t end with Kindergarten, MOPS offers MOMSnext, a group for mothers of elementary-and-older children.

All MOPS groups aim to provide mothers of young children with a support team of other women from the same geographic location through which they can develop friendships, openly and honestly discuss parenting challenges and techniques, gain insight and inspiration from guest speakers, strengthen their faith as Christians, and frankly, catch a break from mommyhood—at least for a few hours each month.

Who can join MOPS?

All moms of children ages newborn through Kindergarten can join MOPS. While MOPS welcomes mothers of all faiths, it is a Christian organization, so it wouldn’t be ideal for those who might feel uncomfortable around prayer and related themes. It is intended for those looking to find a support system of other moms while strengthening their faith in Christ. According to the Web site, “MOPS International exists to equip and develop every mother of preschoolers to realize her potential as a woman, mother, and leader in the name of Jesus Christ.”

MOPS Leadership Retreat

MOPS Leadership Retreat

What happens when you join a local MOPS group?

Local MOPS groups generally meet twice a month; the specific dates and times of meetings vary by group. Whenever you join, you are randomly assigned to a table, which will serve as your table for the duration of the year. Tables usually consist of about six to eight moms, with one serving as a “DGL” (Discussion Group Leader) and another serving as a “Mentor Mom.” DGLs are there to do just what their title implies: lead group discussions, set up group outings, serve as the main contact for the table, and keep things organized and running smoothly. “Mentor Moms” are mothers whose kids are now grown, and their wealth of experience makes them amazing sources of guidance and support as moms who have already “been there, done that.” Upon joining MOPS, your DGL will contact you to welcome you to your table and provide you with further details about upcoming meetings.

What are MOPS meetings like?

While there is no set curriculum, MOPS International selects an annual theme that forms the basis for all local MOPS meetings. This year, for example, the theme is “A Beautiful Mess”: helping moms to understand the value in the work they do for their children and families, even if it’s not always pretty or Pinterest-worthy.

Keeping the annual theme in mind, each local MOPS group creates its own schedule of events and activities at meetings. Although MOPS meetings can vary in format depending on the group, they are similarly structured. For example, most begin with an opening prayer and brunch or snack (each table rotates hosting for the entire group by bringing in potluck dishes to share). After some time to chat, an ice-breaker activity often takes place to help members become better acquainted, and usually there is a witness testimony prior to that day’s “event.” A planned activity takes place at every meeting, and these vary in content. In the past year alone, my MOPS group has touched on topics such as children’s diets, parenting with confidence, and how to better communicate with your spouse, among others. During a particularly memorable meeting at UUMC MOPS last year, all of the Mentor Moms from each table sat up in front of the room and answered our parenting questions in a discussion panel format. During another, volunteers stood up in front of the group and shared their stories of experience about God working in their lives. Truly powerful stuff.

Sometimes meetings involve fun crafting activities, and other times they include guest speakers or presentations. After the day’s “event,” table members discuss topics and themes relevant to that day’s activity. Sometimes table members might play an applicable game, sometimes not. Meetings usually end with a few moments of free time to chat before members circle up with a closing prayer.

Ladies taking some time to pamper themselves at a MOPS "Spa Day"

Ladies taking some time to pamper themselves at a MOPS “Spa Day”

Is childcare provided during MOPS meetings?

The short answer is: Yes. At almost all MOPS groups, childcare is provided for moms who need it during meetings. How this is accomplished varies from group to group. In some, moms take turns watching the children in the nursery area; in others, members pay higher dues to afford the cost of paid childcare staff provided by the group.

How much does it cost to join MOPS?

Membership fees vary depending on the group. However, as a basic guideline, the annual dues for MOPS typically range from about $75-$130.

What can you gain from joining MOPS?

  • Develop friendships. Making new mommy friends who live nearby is beneficial to all moms. Whether you’re new to town or a native San Antonian, MOPS is a great way to expand your social circle.
    MOPS Moms Night Out at Painting with a  Twist

    MOPS Moms Night Out at Painting with a Twist

  • Compare experiences. Because MOPS members all have children in the same age range, MOPS provides an outlet for moms to discuss the similar experiences and issues that come with raising little kids. Whether you’re battling with a two-year-old who won’t sleep through the night or you’re struggling with how to effectively discipline your four-year-old, odds are that someone else at your table is experiencing or has experienced the exact same thing and can offer some words of advice or encouragement.
  • Learn new parenting skills. MOPS aims to equip members with tools to be the best moms they can be, through the knowledge of guest speakers and/or the insight of Mentor Moms and fellow table members. Listening to others’ perspectives is a sure-fire way to learn something you didn’t know before.
  • Take a break. As we all know, being a mom to small children is tough work…and yet, as the “glue” of our families, we moms often neglect our own needs for the sake of our children. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to rationalize taking “me” time even when I know it’s necessary. That’s why MOPS’ childcare program—dubbed “Moppets”—is such a lifesaver. By providing childcare during meetings, MOPS gives mothers the opportunity to take a break from motherhood and focus on themselves. Even if it’s just for a few hours a month, the time spent away from your kids can have a dramatic impact on your attitude and result in a much less-stressed mama.
  • Get involved through service. Giving back to the community is so important, and MOPS provides service projects, fundraisers, and leadership opportunities through which all members can get involved and contribute to the greater good.
  • Strengthen faith. When you have little kids who keep you running on empty constantly, it can be a challenge to get to church every Sunday. As a result, many moms—myself included—can feel as though their lives are somewhat spiritually lacking at a time when faith is most needed. I personally didn’t realize how much I’d missed this aspect of my life until MOPS. While it doesn’t replace church services, MOPS is a wonderful way to reconnect to God while at the same time learn some tricks of the parenting trade.

My personal experience with MOPS

When I first joined MOPS three years ago, I was very nervous and completely unsure of what to expect. I’d heard great things about it, and I had a friend already involved, but I wanted there to be some kind of guarantee that I could be assigned to my friend’s table so I would have someone I already knew there to cling to. (Cue 6th-grade insecurity!)

I also started to worry that perhaps MOPS might be a bit too “churchy” for me. While I am a Christian, I am one who enjoys a margarita on a Friday night and who loved Fifty Shades of Grey for all the same reasons that Brooke mentioned, so I was nervous that maybe the women at MOPS wouldn’t be the types with whom I’d normally bond. But it’s funny: how motherhood connects people, how you can almost always find common ground with other moms, and how God leads you down the right path, because I can honestly say that joining MOPS has been a wonderful experience for me.

After three years at different tables with moms from all walks of life, I’ve met a lot of amazing, empowering women, and some have since become my closest friends. The wealth of experience that each woman literally brings to the table every week is inspiring. Each meeting supplies me with perspectives that I hadn’t yet considered or new ideas and knowledge that I’m not sure I would’ve otherwise learned. MOPS has also helped me to renew my relationship with God at an otherwise chaotic time in my life and encouraged me to incorporate my faith into my roles as both a mother and wife. And of course, it’s hard not to love 2 ½ hours of “mom time” every few weeks, especially when it’s coupled with delicious food! Amiright?!

MOPS brunch = heaven on earth!

MOPS brunch = heaven on earth!

I know that MOPS will not appeal to everyone—and that’s totally OK. But for those who might be interested in this amazing organization, listed below are all of the MOPS groups in San Antonio and the surrounding area. Click on any of the following links or visit the MOPS International home page to find out how you can join a MOPS group in your area today!

MOPS GROUPS:

Alamo Heights United Methodist Church
825 E. Basse Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78209
Meetings: 2nd Wednesday of each month, 6:00–8:30 P.M.

Bulverde United Methodist Church
28300 US Highway 281 N.
San Antonio, TX 78260
Meetings: 2nd Friday of each month, 9:00–11:45 A.M.

Castle Hills First Baptist Church
2220 N.W. Military Hwy.
San Antonio, TX 78213
Meetings: 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of each month, 9:00–11:30 A.M. 

Christ Fellowship United Methodist Church
10555 Tezel Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78254
Meetings: 2nd Tuesday of each month, 6:30 P.M.

CityChurch
9355 Bandera Rd., Ste. 124
San Antonio, TX 78250
Meetings: TBA

Community Bible Church
2477 N. Loop 1604 East
San Antonio, TX 78232
MOPS 13 meetings: 1st & 3rd Fridays of each month, 9:30 A.M.–noon
MOPS 24 meetings: 2nd & 4th Fridays of each month, 9:30 A.M.–noon
MOPS Tuesday 13 meetings: 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of each month, 9:30 A.M.–noon 

Concordia Lutheran Church
16801 Huebner Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78258
Meetings: Every other Friday, 9:00–11:30 A.M.

Forest Hills Presbyterian Church
13200 Bandera Rd.
Helotes, TX 78023
Meetings: 1st & 3rd Thursdays of each month, 9:30–11:30 A.M.

Laurel Heights United Methodist Church
227 W. Woodlawn Ave., Room 105
San Antonio, TX 78212
Meetings: 2nd Saturday of each month, 10:00–11:30 A.M.

Northeast Bible Church
19185 FM 2252
San Antonio, TX 78266
Meetings: 1st Thursday of each month, 9:15–11:30 A.M. 

San Antonio Moms @ The Park 
2659 Eisenhauer Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78209
Meetings: 2nd Thursday of each month, 6:30 P.M.

Shearer Hills Baptist Church
12615 San Pedro Ave.
San Antonio, TX 78216
Meetings: 2nd & 4th Mondays of each month, 10:00 A.M.–12:30 P.M.

University United Methodist Church
5084 De Zavala Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78249
Monday MOPS meetings: Select Mondays, 9:30–11:45 A.M.
Tuesday MOPS meetings: Select Tuesdays, 9:30–11:45 A.M.

Wayside Chapel Evangelical Free Church
1705 NW Loop 410
San Antonio, TX 78213
Meetings: 2nd Thursday of each month, 9:00–11:30 A.M. 

Westover Hills Assembly of God
9340 Westover Hills Blvd. in Student Center Building
San Antonio, TX 78251
Meetings: 2nd & 4th Fridays of each month, 9:30 A.M.–noon

Zion Lutheran Church
9412 Geronimo Oaks St.
San Antonio, TX 78254
Meetings: TBA

First Baptist Church of Boerne
631 S. School St.
Boerne, TX 78006
Meetings: 2nd Monday of each month, 9:00–11:30 A.M.

Schertz United Methodist Church
3460 FM 3009
Schertz, TX 78154
Meetings: 2nd & 4th Tuesday of each month, 9:00–11:00 A.M.

First United Methodist Church of New Braunfels
572 W. San Antonio St.
New Braunfels, TX 78130
Meetings: 1st Thursday of each month, 6:15–8:30 P.M.

New Braunfels Bible Church
652 Loop 337
New Braunfels, TX 78130
Meetings: 2nd Thursday of each month, 9:30–11:45 A.M.

 

MOMSnext GROUPS:

University United Methodist Church
5084 De Zavala Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78249
Meetings: 4th Monday of each month, 9:00–11:00 A.M. 

Westover Hills Assembly of God
9340 Westover Hills Blvd.
San Antonio, TX 78251
Meetings: Typically 2nd & 4th Thursdays of each month, 9:30–11:30 A.M.

First United Methodist Church of New Braunfels
572 W. San Antonio St.
New Braunfels, TX 78130
Meetings: 4th Tuesday of each month, 6:30 P.M.

 

MILITARY MOPS GROUPS:

Freedom Chapel Military MOPS
2200 Truemper Rd., Building 1528
Freedom Chapel
Lackland AFB, TX 78236
E-mail: [email protected]
Meetings: 1st & 3rd Thursdays of each month, 9:30–11:30 A.M.

Randolph AFB MOPS
2 Washington Circle
Randolph AFB, TX 78150
Meetings: 2nd & 4th Thursdays of each month, 9:15–11:15 A.M.

 

TEEN MOPS GROUPS: 

Community Bible Church
2477 N. Loop 1604 East
San Antonio, TX 78232
Meetings: 1st & 3rd Saturdays of each month, 5:00 P.M.

Wayside Chapel Evangelical Free Church
Healy Murphy
618 Live Oak
San Antonio, TX 78202
Meetings: Every Wednesday, 10:52–11:38 A.M.

 

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One Response to MOPS: General 411

  1. Amy March 10, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    Great information. Thank you for sharing! Also agree with the flavor of “christian” you are – and worrying it would be too churchy! Haha! Thanks again. Sounds like a great resource! (And, I LOVE your starry starry alamo night painting!!!!)