Group offers refuge for moms

RANGELY — With four children under the age of 6, Tarrah Patch knows what it’s like to be a busy mom.
That’s why Patch believes in MOPS — Mothers of Preschoolers, a support group for moms. She is co-coordinator, along with Amanda Davies, of the MOPS group in Rangely.
“Because mothering matters, we try to nurture the mom,” Patch said. “We give them time to make friends and take an interest in themselves.”
The Rangely MOPS group meets from 9 to 11 a.m. the first Thursday of the month at Grace Baptist Church.
“It’s not necessarily tied to our church,” Patch said. “It’s for anyone.”
Patch said MOPS was a non-denominational Christian organization. It began in 1973 in Wheat Ridge, a Denver suburb, and has now expanded to other countries.
Moms can bring their kids, up to the age of 5, to the MOPS meetings. Child care is provided.
“We meet downstairs, where there is a big area for the kids,” Patch said. “We have child care there, so the moms can have a few hours away. And we serve a breakfast for the moms.”
MOPS is good for moms and it’s good for kids, said Davies, a mother of two under the age of 4.
“It’s a wonderful experience,” Davies said. “You get to meet a lot of wonderful ladies, plus it’s really good for the kids to get together and make new friendships. So, it’s not only the moms who get to make new friendship, but so do the kids.”
Patch and Davies started the MOPS group in Rangely last spring.
“When we held our first meeting, we had just me and two other women,” Patch said. “I was disappointed at first. But the last meeting (Oct. 1) we had 14 moms. So, it’s starting to go. I anticipate we will have up to 20 by year’s end.”
Heather Zadra, another mom of young children, is glad the MOPS group is available.
“It’s a valuable asset to the area,” Zadra said. “Tarrah and Amanda have put a huge amount of time and energy into getting it going.”
Patch is trying to spread the word about the group to moms in Rangely.
“We posted fliers around town and we joined the chamber, so our information is on their Web site,” she said. “We’re trying to advertise as much as we can — get our name out there and network.”
There’s a fee of $15 per semester for moms to be involved in MOPS, but the first meeting is free. The fall semester runs September through December, and the spring semester is January through May, with play dates during the summer.
“The small fee goes for crafts, food, it goes toward the group,” Patch said.
Older women, who have raised their families, serve as mentors for the younger moms.
“These are ladies in the community who have been moms,” Patch said. “They have raised their family, so they have a few hours to spare for us moms. They volunteer their time, which is great.”
Donna Petersburg is one of those mentors. A retired school teacher, she has two grown children, who are both married.
“We are available for questions on raising children and the role of motherhood and what our experience has been having preschoolers,” Petersburg said. “A lot of the women are here without parents. They have my telephone number, so they can call if they have a question. We are here just to be a support and give guidance when asked for.”
Petersburg wishes there had been a MOPS group when her children were preschool age.
“That would have been delightful,” she said. “We moved out here with the national parks service, so I had surrogate mothers (who also lived in the park housing) who were older, and they would come and steal my kids for an hour or so to give me a break. But it would have been nice to have had a support system (like MOPS).”
Another mentor, Donna Kennis, agrees.
“It’s really catching on,” she said of the local MOPS group. “We (the mentors) are there for support. Lots of times, we can say, ‘We’ve been there. We’ve made those mistakes. You just keep going on.’”
Kennis knows what she’s talking about. She has seven grown children, 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Not only is Patch one of the local coordinators, but, as a busy mom herself, she believes in MOPS.
“It helps me to get to communicate with other ladies,” she said. “MOPS is a great organization for that (support). So often families move into this community and they don’t know anybody, or they don’t have family here. It takes a village to raise a child, and that’s true.”
For more information about the Rangely MOPS group, contact Patch at (970) 778-5278 or jtkpatch@yahoo.com. To learn about the organization, visit www.mops.org.