By Stephanie Ryan
Refresh seeks to encourage moms of young children that what they do matters and is important. Here’s one mom’s story.
In the Spring of 2007, I joined Riverview’s MOPS group (in 2008 we renamed the group to Refresh). At that time I had only one child and she was about 15 months old. I had heard about the group but assumed that I could not join since my daughter was not a preschooler (MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers). Later I learned that the group is open to all moms with children from infants through Kindergarteners.
Back then I was searching to get involved in some kind of group outside of the house. We had no family in the area and most of our friends at the time were either single or recently married, so I had very little interaction with other moms with young children. On top of that, my husband was working full time and taking classes at night. I was starting to feel isolated and needed to find a way to reach out to other moms. We had only been going to Riv for about 3 years at that time and were still trying to get connected within the church.
Finding this group was just what I was looking for. I was able to connect with other moms that had children the same age as my child but also to learn and gain insight from moms with children older than mine. It was refreshing to go and join in fellowship with other women who understood the joys and struggles of being a mom. The format of the group helped to promote connections with others but also to learn and grow spiritually and personally.
There have been some amazing speakers come to talk at Refresh. Some of the topics have been about marriage, schooling choices, forgiveness, health and fitness, and also some competitive times playing Minute-to-win-it games; all topics that are relevant to life with young children. Many of our speakers come and talk on a faith-based topic, but we also have speakers that talk about ways to run your house more efficiently or different activities that you can do with your children.
I love coming to Refresh and meeting other women and making connections through our common bond of motherhood. Being a part of Refresh has helped me to grow as a mom, ask for advice, and celebrate the small successes. It has also helped me appreciate that while being a mom can seem redundant and mundane, I am the heart of the house and the glue that keeps it all together. Now that I have four children, I really look forward to Refresh. It is wonderful spending time with friends, enjoying a cup of coffee with breakfast, and listening to some amazing, uplifting speakers while my older children are at school and the two younger ones enjoy their time in Zoo Crew.
We also need childcare workers for our Zoo Crew program during Refresh meetings. You can email [email protected] for more info.
Image Credit: Stephanie Ryan, featuring her four children