CONTRIBUTED BY MEGAN PARKER
Your three-year old spilled his orange juice, and while you are on your hands and knees cleaning it up, you notice the stale Cheerios from days gone by hugging the floorline that meets the wall. You crawl farther under the table, promptly bang your head, and eventually pick up the Cheerios, miscellaneous small toy parts, and a ball of crusty socks. The socks remind you that you need to switch out the laundry, but before you can make it to the laundry, a fight breaks out between your toddler and your 3-year old. *Sigh.* And these are the days of our lives…
If this sounds even remotely familiar, it means you are the mother of a preschooler. Alas, have no fear… you are in good company! In fact, there is an actual, legitimate organization called Mothers of PreSchoolers right here on this very island, where you can find other women just like yourself with whom you can have a relaxing, stress-free two hours of adult conversation, uplifting speakers, uninterrupted crafting, and great food twice a month! The kicker? Childcare is provided! Read on for details.
Mothers of PreSchoolers (MOPS) is a Christian organization with chapters all over the world. The Okinawa chapter holds its meetings at Koza Baptist Church, though you need not be a member of the church to participate in MOPS. While our kiddos play together and do crafts in the nursery rooms, which are grouped by age – they even have a nursery for infants! – the moms get away from motherhood just long enough to become human again.
Meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. Each person is assigned to a small group and the groups take turn providing dishes for breakfast. We know what’s important (food!), so we eat first and then launch into the day’s activity. During the first meeting of the month, there is usually a speaker on a particular topic – for example, conflict resolution, secrets to a happy marriage, family organization strategies, etc., although we have done other things, too, like a Zumba class! During the second meeting of the month, there is typically some sort of craft for everyone to complete. Do not be alarmed if you are not crafty! These are always easy and fun, and shown step by step. We have done glass etching, coaster making, cards for troops, and more.
In addition, there are monthly activities held outside of the Tuesday meetings. Sometimes these are play dates and other times these are mom’s night out. There has been karaoke, pedicures at Cocok’s, and a Progressive Dinner just to name a few!
There is a semester fee for all this fun, but it is very reasonable.