Motherhood often ushers in a period of “muddle-hood”, and many Christian mothers struggle to upkeep faith practices while meeting the demands of child-rearing. With seemingly endless night-feeds and sleep deprivation to contend with, it is perhaps understandable that we go through a lull.
Even mothers with older children face their own challenges too. When spread thin, it can be tough to prioritise your walk with Christ.
Several churches have come to recognise the need to start support groups for mothers. If you are thinking of starting up a group or mooting the idea to your church, here are five factors to consider to effectively engage mothers and help them grow spiritually while juggling the balls of parenthood.
Decide on a location and frequency
Some mothers groups meet in church on Sundays, straight after church service. It makes it easier for busy mothers who would find it close to impossible to meet on a weekday night for fear of upsetting family routines.
I’m in a small support group that meets informally every month or so. Though we may not meet frequently, we keep in touch through whatsapp chats, where we are free to share our prayer requests and needs. It has been wonderfully uplifting to have a group of like-minded mothers to confide in.
Promote support groups actively
Advertise in the church bulletin, or put up a poster on church premises. Request for a time to introduce the support group to members of the congregation during church services. Get mothers to spread the word to other mums too, and get them added to the online group chat for the support group.
Recruit volunteer baby sitters and ask for toys to be donated or to be on loan
Reach out to other members of the congregation to help with childminding services. The old adage, “It takes a village” still holds true today. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; you may be surprised to see even young adults stepping up to volunteer to help with the children.
If your church has a play room for tots, it may be natural to hold the meeting there, so that there are toys for the little ones to play with. If not, simply call for toy donations from the congregation; explain that the young ones need to be kept occupied as their mothers take some much-needed time off for fellowship and discipleship.
Search for resources that give adequate structure
Source for a book or multimedia resource that provides a framework to address common faith challenges encountered by mothers. Speak to friends from other churches who might have support groups for mothers to get recommendations on resources, or approach organisations that provide Christian resources, such as Focus on the Family.
Reach out to different mothers!
Mothers need to know that growing in their faith while meeting the demands of parenthood is possible. To this end, it can be immensely valuable to have mothers from all walks of life and at various parenting stages come together to share their stories, challenges and personal experiences with one another.
This helps to generate a greater variety of insights, which in turns deepens and enriches each mother’s parenting and faith journey.
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