Photo courtesy of Sharonda Medina/ Originally published January 2018
Friday mornings are sacred for the women of the Mom Life small group. During the week, they are teachers, accountants, nurses, and, above all, mothers. But from 9:30-11 a.m. on Friday mornings at First United Methodist Church of Clinton, the women gather over coffee and snacks to simply be themselves.
“It’s a group for moms of all ages with kids of all ages,” says Sharonda Medina, Connection Minister at FUMC Clinton.
Medina and Rachel Cooley founded the Mom Life small group two years ago when both of their sons were in preschool together at FUMC Clinton. They decided to start meeting at the church because they wanted a space to hang out and talk about the daily challenges that come with being a mother. Seven women attended their first meeting, and now, the group has grown to about 20 moms.
“We have women from all different walks of life and personalities,” says Medina. “But we come together around our common bond of motherhood. It’s a great way to connect with someone going through a similar life stage.”
Medina says their “mom tribe” centers around helping each other be the best moms they can be. “We share our life experiences and challenges,” she says. Having members in various stages of motherhood allows the group to offer different perspectives and solutions.
“Being able to share and get advice has impacted my relationship with my kids and made me a better mom,” says member Marti May.
While the group focuses on forming relationships with other moms, the emphasis is on raising children with a faith mindset. “We believe there’s no more important ministry than what moms do,” says Medina. “Generations are being impacted by the day-to-day work of moms right here in our own community, and we want our faith to be important in our households.”
The meetings usually revolve around a book or video study. Medina says, “The study jumpstarts deeper discussions about how we can address issues through a faith filter and apply it to our daily lives.” The topics have included rediscovering marriage in the midst of motherhood and child discipline.
The hour and a half is spent talking, sharing, praying, and laughing. “We do a lot of laughing,” says Medina. “It’s easy to become isolated. We have to be intentional about finding time to breathe.”
Mom Life member Cara Holifield says, “It’s like a mini vacation every Friday morning.”
Many of the moms are new to Clinton and don’t have any family in the area. “Simply having someone to list as an emergency contact has allowed them to anchor themselves in the community,” says Medina. “They can know they don’t have to do it by themselves. They have a support system.”
“When we come together and share our similar struggles, we don’t feel so alone,” adds member Fran Peacock.
Mom Life is also a network of resources for women to share anything from potty training tips to how to handle teenagers and cell phones. The group’s private Facebook page acts as an online community where they post prayer requests and parenting blogs.
The fellowship has also gone beyond Friday mornings. “Mom’s Night Out” has included dinners, paint parties, and trips to the movies. During the summer, the group often hosts playdates with their kids at a local pool or park. “It’s a way to also connect our families,” says Medina.
The moms in the group attend different churches and come from various denominational backgrounds, but Medina says it’s become a place where the group can be open and transparent with each other. “It’s a special thing to be able to come together as a community of believers,” says Medina. “And whatever stage of your faith, you are welcome.”
The Mom Life group is open to any mothers in the community. Childcare is available at no cost to members of the group through FUMC Clinton. Contact Sharonda Medina at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.