No mom left behind

by Carol G. Stratton

Members of the Lake Norman Baptist Church Mothers of Preschoolers pose for a photo earlier this month. The group meets twice monthly and is meant to encourage mothers of young children.

Where does a new mom go for help when extended family lives out of state? What does she do when baby cries all the time and she’s clueless as to what’s wrong? Where does she find “mommy friends” as a stay-at-home mother?

Katie Norman found her answers when someone pointed her to a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. As a newcomer to the Lake Norman area, she immediately connected with other moms at the Huntersville United Methodist Church, where twice a month they meet to hear a speaker, do devotions, eat and talk while their children are in childcare.

“MOPS has been my family here,” said Norman, who is now the coordinator for her group. “It has helped me grow as a mother and wife, as well as spiritually.” Even though MOPS has a spiritual bent, Norman stressed women from any church or those who don’t attend are welcome in MOPS groups.

MOPS International was founded in 1973 in Wheat Ridge, Colo. It has birthed groups all over the world that meet in local churches twice a week.

Amanda Hall, coordinator for the Lake Norman Baptist Church group, constantly gets feedback on what MOPS has meant to her group. During a talk at the January meeting, Hall told the story of a mom who moved here from Chicago after fleeing a dysfunctional family. She found immediate friendship and support. She didn’t feel like she was alone anymore.
Support isn’t all that MOPS offers. The bi-monthly meetings feature educational speakers with subjects such as children’s learning styles and medical care. In addition, groups organize play dates, and raise money for charities such as Lake Norman Baptist’s fundraising project for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

And for practical wisdom some MOPS groups have Mentor Moms, such as Donna Early who moved from Tulsa, Okla., with her husband to start a church. She tells her Lake Norman Baptist group, “You teach what you know, but you reproduce who you are.” She and her husband have raised four of their own.

Dorothy Sutton, one of the founders of the Huntersville United Methodist group sums up the MOPS experience.

“I thank God for bringing me to this MOPS group when I so desperately needed it. It gave me an instant source of friendship and knowledge I was not the only one whose child didn’t seem to be following the book. It was a great relief to find there was nothing wrong with me or my child; what I was going through was normal. Even now my kids are older (her youngest starts kindergarten next year), I still have so much to learn from MOPS.”

MOPS International’s motto is “No mom left alone.” If Julie Maher of the Huntersville United Methodist Church’s group is any measure, they’ve certainly succeeded. She says, “I’ve found my place as a child of God, wife and mother. MOPS will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Want to join?

Huntersville United Methodist Church MOPS meets from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. each Friday. For more information contact Katie Norman at or call the church at 704-875-1156.

The Lake Norman Baptist Church MOPS meets from 9:15 until 11:30 a.m. the first and third Thursday of the month. For more information call the 7921 Sam Furr Road church at 704-892-0143 or visit

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