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Why MomCo might be just what you need as a mum

Have you heard of MomCo? Although motherhood is a privilege, it is also really hard. We can feel lonely and isolated. We can feel judged for our parenting choices. Lack of sleep and time for ourselves affects every part of our being. Motherhood puts a strain on our careers, finances, relationships and marriage. It’s hard to care for ourselves when we are busy caring for our family.

Some would argue that parenting becomes harder as children get older. The issues become more complex and the parenting role shifts. It becomes about juggling hormones, later bedtimes, extra-curricula activities, part-time work, driving lessons, subject choices, career pathways and relationships.

I have not yet experienced the joys of tweens and teens but I do know this. Each season has its challenges. There is no easy season. I think some parents gloss over the early years with fond memories and tell us to enjoy each moment because it goes by so fast. Yes, it does. That also doesn’t help us when life is super challenging and we are simply trying to survive.

We need people around us who are going through the same stage. Who get it. Who aren’t telling us to wait until.

This is what the MomCo is all about. Meeting mothers where they are, in the season of young children.

What Is MomCo?

There is no shortage of activities and groups for mums and their young children to take part in. Between mums groups, baby sensory classes, library programs, music programs, kindergym and playgroups out there, we are spoilt for choice. I’ve found that you really have to find the one that is right for you.

One group that is seldom known in Australia is MomCo. Previously known as MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), it was often confused with cleaning or housework. It is a Christian organisation focusing on women and mothers.

Although the roots are Christian, you don’t need to attend church or have a faith to attend. MomCo is all about inspiring and enabling you to be the best mother that you can be.

While MomCo has an engaging program for little ones, the real focus is on mothers.

When Did MomCo First Start?

MomCo (originally MOPS) originated in Colorado in February 1973. A group of eight mums with young children met together. They wanted to help and encourage each other in their parenting journey.

They organised care for their little ones so they could have coffee, cake and a chat. They wanted to be real and talk about the challenges of parenting. They had a discussion, did some crafts and had a short devotional.

Is The MomCo International?

Yes! Although originating in the States, MomCo has grown and is now reaching women across the globe. At the time of writing, they are partnering with churches and organisations to run in over 68 countries. It has a global reach and local impact.

Who Is MomCo For?

MomCo is for any mother of young children up to the age of 6. This counts if you are pregnant, have multiple children or ‘just’ one. Mothers may attend the year their youngest child starts school and then graduate to MOMS Next.

What Can You Expect At MomCo?

At MomCo, you can expect to find a warm, welcoming environment. Each group does things differently.

Groups generally meet fortnightly. Children are invited to a creche so that mothers can sit down and have a coffee. Women take turns bringing morning tea to share with the group.

Depending on the group, a typical morning might look like this:

  • Time to settle children into creche, get a coffee and a plate of food, find a seat
  • Welcome and announcements
  • Birthdays, anniversaries and pregnancy announcements
  • Icebreaker game
  • Guest speaker on a theme
  • Discussion groups
  • Craft
  • Pick up children

I love that MomCo has an engaging creche. They have wonderful volunteer carers for the children. MomCo Kids have playtime, songs, story, snack, craft and fun activities. It’s not just a babysitting service. The carers have the required checks and take wonderful care of our children.

We look at a variety of topics throughout the year and have similar topics that we revisit every year.

Topics like:

  • CAFHS nurse – post-natal depression
  • Midwife – baby massage
  • Hairdresser – hints on caring for and trimming children’s hair
  • Dental hygienist – dental hygiene for families
  • NAWMA – reducing household waste
  • Meal planning
  • Sleep
  • Keeping children occupied on road trips
  • Saving money tips
  • How owning less stuff can help reduce the overwhelm
  • Toilet training tips
  • Scrapbooking
  • Library programs
  • Getting your child ready for school
  • How to make low-tox cleaning products
  • Love languages
  • Marriage
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Easter
  • Christmas

These topics are shared via:

  • Visiting speakers
  • Someone from within the group
  • Panel (interview style with 3 mums)
  • The MomCo International videos

MomCo groups sometimes have an inbuilt op shop. This enables women to clear out their stuff and bring it with them. It also means women can take what they need to. Any leftovers go to the church op shop or can be dropped off at a nearby one. It’s a brilliant way of reducing the excess in our homes while filling a need that others may have.

Most local MomCo groups have a way for mums to give back. Our group supports Operation Christmas Child. Our children can help choose some special items for a child in need who may have never received a present before. These are packed into boxes and sent overseas to be distributed.

The MomCo International set a theme for each year.

My Journey To Discovering MomCo

Whilst attending antenatal exercise classes, I met a first-time mum, pregnant with twins. We clicked straight away and chatted our way through classes. Eventually, we exchanged numbers and caught up for lunch.

Once our babies were born, she was really good at finding out about things in the community to go to. She invited me to come to MomCo. It sounded a bit weird. I’d never heard of it before.

I politely declined citing that I already had a mum’s group and other programs to attend during the week.

She persisted and kept asking me to come along. Eventually, she wore me down. I had run out of excuses. I thought perhaps if I attended once, I’d get her off my case. She’d find someone else to hassle.

I remember how wonderful it was the first time I went. The mothers at MomCo were so lovely and non-judgemental. (Not all mum’s groups are like that).

The first few times I went, I found myself crying because I was just so sleep-deprived. I’d look at the floor and desperately want to lie down on it, to hide under some chairs and just close my eyes. Having a newborn is so wonderful but is so exhausting.

I was grateful for a kind community of other mums who got it. They didn’t tell me to wait for the next stage or wait until I had more children, that I couldn’t complain because they had it harder (you hear this a lot). Most mums at MomCo had either been there, done that so understood what it was like, or were going through the same stage and were tearing up too.

It’s a hard stage and one that you need a supportive group around you. I like that we are all at differing stages of the journey. There are first-time mothers with a newborn and others home-schooling with five. Those who have older children are often wonderful mentors to the brand-new mums trying to figure it all out.

I’m so grateful that my friend kept asking me. Sometimes we need to be asked more than once.

How Has It Impacted My Mothering Journey?

I feel that with MomCo, I’ve found my tribe. I’ve found my people. I have a group of wonderful, godly women who strive to do life better, to be the best mums that they can be without aiming for perfection. We give ourselves grace, laugh at our mum brain moments, at our mum fails, about how messy our houses are but how we made it out of the house somehow.

I love that MomCo is all about enabling mums to be the best versions of themselves. If women are happy, supported and encouraged, they are more likely to be happier wives and happier mothers.

We are all in this season of motherhood together and although it is hard, we realise it is a privilege. Such a privilege. Now that I know how wonderful MomCo is, I can’t help but spread the word. I tell everyone about it.

I have found a mum’s group where I truly belong. I have found my people.

What if my youngest is now at school?

Don’t despair! The MomCo has thought of you. They offer a program called Mom’s Next. It’s all about supporting you in the next season of parenting.

Please note that not all MomCo groups offer this program. Some may be open to starting one so it’s always worth asking. I know that when it’s time to finish up at The MomCo, I want to continue my journey of learning and connecting with other mothers in the same season.

What other programs does The MomCo offer?

In addition to MomCo and Mom’s Next, they offer:

  • Military Moms
  • Teen
  • Working Moms
  • Spanish speaking
  • Mom’s in prison
  • Mom’s of special need kids

You can find out more info on these by searching for different affinities here.

Where can I find my local MomCo group?

The MomCo meets in more than 68 countries. You can find links to one near you here or on Facebook.

Where can I find more information?

You can find a link to The MomCo International website here.

Have you heard of MomCo or MOPS? I’d love to hear from you below or connect with you on Instagram or Facebook.

Melanie Wegener

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