By Amy Stogner
Special to the Recorder Online
Maybe it’s the sweeping view of Longs Peak from the large picture window behind the altar at Berthoud Family Church, maybe it’s the hot coffee that is always waiting there and maybe it’s the laid back camaraderie with other moms, but somehow I always leave the Berthoud Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) meeting feeling refreshed and ready to resume my responsibilities as a mom.
Two area moms, Jenna Conover and Kira Hershman, started the new MOPS group in Berthoud two years ago when they felt like something was missing in another very large, over 100 members, MOPS group they were in. “We had a Wednesday play date with six of us and decided to start a smaller MOPS group,” Conover said. “The idea really started around the sandbox at that play group.”
At about the same time that Conover and Hershman were contemplating starting the MOPS group, Berthoud Family Church, where Conover’s father-in-law is pastor, was building a new, much larger building off County Road 23 outside of town. “I am the events coordinator and children’s leader for the church. I asked the events leader if we could start a MOPS group and she said it was fine,” Conover said jokingly. “Our MOPS group started the year the new church was built.”
The Berthoud Family Church MOPS group is not huge, having maintained a membership of approximately 10 to 15 moms since it started, which is just how Conover and Hershman like it. “This allows us the time to be able to help each and every one of our moms,” Hershman said.
Another goal of the new MOPS group was to have a group that members do not feel pressured to put in extensive amounts of time. Conover and Hershman decided that most moms already are very busy and don’t need added commitments. “We’re just all here and we’re doing stuff that we like to do,” Conover explained. “We are here to feed you and restore you and get that kind of ‘aah’ moment. It’s a refreshing time.” With activities such as simple crafts, inspiring speakers and an Aveda spa day coming up this spring, the Berthoud MOPS group offers ample opportunity for fun, relaxation and fellowship.
One common thread among all the MOPS members I talked to is the incredible juggling acts they perform in their lives as they care for their families, volunteer and work at various jobs. “We are hybrid moms,” Conover said. “The 1950s housewife is gone, but so are the bra burnings of the 1960s when women all wanted to go to work. We have lit our candles at both ends and are trying to do it all.”
Conover started her own business called Savvy Mommy, selling colorful nursing covers that go on like aprons and provide privacy for nursing mothers. In addition, she does some day care, is a blog writer and does part-time bookkeeping. Hershman supplements her family’s income by working as a dental assistant and office manager and selling Pampered Chef products.
Wendy Bailey, who has been with the Berthoud Family Church MOPS group since it started, maintains an equally busy schedule doing graphic design, selling Party Lite candles, mystery shopping and designing hardwood floor medallions. She will also be teaching clean energy at Front Range Community College next fall. Bailey said she also enjoys the Berthoud MOPS’ laid back atmosphere and smaller size. “I went to a big one and felt lost,” she said. “This one is smaller and more intimate.”
Bailey had been the guest speaker that day for MOPS, her topic being how to let God help us with the sometimes-overwhelming tasks that we are faced with in our lives as women. When asked what her favorite aspect of MOPS is, Bailey answered, “I enjoy the fellowship and the comfort of being with other moms. I can just be real.”
Melinda Beal, another MOPS member, who joined this year also came from a larger MOPS group and said she also enjoys the “low key” environment of the Berthoud Family Church MOPS. Beal keeps herself busy with various volunteer pursuits, including as a Girl Scout leader, member of a quilting club, as a committee member for Relay for Life and volunteering at her church.
With women leading such busy lives today, it seems all that much more important to take time out now and then and the Berthoud Family Church MOPS provides just such an opportunity. The group meets the first and third Friday of every month from 9-11 at the Berthoud Family Church, located three miles west of Berthoud just off Country Road 23 at 3982 Nations Way. For information, call 532-0717 or visit www.berthoudfamilychurch.org.