Originally published March 10, 2014.
There are times when raising young children can be a challenge even for the most experienced mothers.
One group in town wants moms to know they're not alone.
MOPS - Mothers of Preschoolers - offers fellowship, support, spiritual hope and training for mothers of all ages, sharing from mom to mom helpful hints on everything from addressing temper tantrums to making time-saving meals.
Jean Landers, the coordinator of the MOPS group in Huntington, first joined a group in Fort Wayne when her oldest daughter was 1 and she was expecting twins.
"I was like, ‘Please somebody help me!'" she says. "I started up there and felt like it was a good thing and would be beneficial here in Huntington. So now my girls help out."
Landers says the current year's theme is "A Beautiful Mess."
"We're talking about things that moms might think as rather messy," she says. "We have different speakers who will be coming throughout the end of the year and doing different things."
The group is part of an international grassroots movement that provides an outlet for moms who have youngsters from birth through kindergarten.
Meetings allow the women to share, cry, laugh and learn how to cope with the trials, tribulations and joys of raising their children.
Jennifer Stults, of Huntington, a foster parent, says the group helps encourage mothers.
"We have a break from our kids. We are up here and they are down there," she says.
Another mom, Dawn Kerlin, of Huntington, says the moms in the group support each other.
"So you know that you're not alone, in your messy house, wanting to pull your hair out because your kids won't behave," she says.
One Saturday evening per month the group has "Mom and Pop's Night Out," in which free child care is provided so parents can go out on a date or just enjoy quality time together.
Becky Kendall, of Huntington, says being in the meetings has ministered to her personally.
"They keep saying I'm the mom God chose for my kids, and I need to keep hearing that," she says. "Some days are so frustrating. I've been coming about six years."
She says MOPS is forseveryone, from expecting moms-to-be to moms of kindergartners.
"Plus we can use mentor moms, too," she adds. "They can come and share their stories."
In Huntington, the group meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month from 9 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. at Liberty Christian Fellowship, 1511 College Ave.
Child care is provided at the group that meets at Liberty Christian Fellowship, often allowing moms to get the breather they need. Refreshments are served, a speaker may address the group about a topic or give instructions on how to make crafts.
The Huntington MOPS group has been in existence about four years, but recently started back up after a hiatus over the winter.
The group always welcomes new members. There is a cost to join MOPS; however, scholarships are available. For more information about MOPS contact Landers at 417-0041 or visit online at www.mops.org/ .
Complete caption: Members of Mothers of Preschoolers — known as MOPS — take a moment from their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Pictured (from left) is MOPS Coordinator Jean Landers, Becky Kendall, Jennifer Stults and Dawn Kerlin, all of Huntington. The group meets twice per month at Liberty Christian Fellowship church.