Got a Mom in Your MOPS Group Who Has a Child with Special Needs? Here are 6 Simple Ways to Make Her Feel Welcome at Your Meeting
You can expect that there will be at least one mom in your MOPS group who has a child with special needs. What is considered special needs? Simply put, any child who needs special accommodations to help them function in their environment. This could be something like providing a child with extra snacks because he has diabetes or giving a child a stress ball to squeeze to help her with her anxiety. No matter the need, big or small, the moms to these kids are thirsty for your acceptance. Let’s make it easier for them to feel that much better about attending a MOPS meeting. Because I’ve been there, I can tell you first-hand that the following 6 suggestions will make a world of a difference to this mom (or moms) in your group.
- Have an authentic smile when she walks through those church doors. She may look put together with her fancy purse and well-dressed children, but what you don’t know, is that she just had to watch her son get sick that morning from the new medication he is on for his ADHD. Talk about mommy guilt. She needs that smile more than you know.
- Offer to help her. If she’s in MOPS, she has children. Ask her if you can walk her child to his classroom so that she can get settled in. This mom probably doesn’t get a lot of help each day so your simple offer to do so, will be a welcomed surprise to her.
- Give her a card. Cards are such an easy way to show someone you care. Just a simple note to tell her you’ve been thinking about her and praying for her is such a blessing. I’ve been on the receiving end of not just one of those cards but tons of cards and I can tell you, I have kept every single one of them and I pull them out when I need a boost.
- Love on her kids. Moms with kids who have special needs already feel lonely. They feel like no one gets them. And the worst thing you can do is make her feel like her kids are a nuisance to you. Love on them, hug them, say hello to them and ask her how they are doing. I keep these types of friends as close as I can because they make feel accepted in every way.
- Ask her how you can be a blessing to her and her family. If this mom has been on your heart for one reason or another, tell her. Ask her face-to-face at your next MOPS meeting, “I’ve been thinking about you. How can I be a blessing to you?” This might mean you being her prayer warrior or her accountability person.
- Invite her to a playdate. This is a biggie. Playdates can be a sore spot for those moms who have children with unpredictable behaviors. However, if you can invite a mom and her kids to play and you don’t blink an eye when her child talks back, misbehaves and makes random noises, well, you’ve just made yourself a friend.
MOPS meetings are a great way to fellowship with other women but they can also be a way to serve other women. Parenting is tough stuff and it’s even tougher when your child requires more attention than another. At the end of the day, we all just want to be loved and liked. Let’s be proactive about this. Let’s include every mom, special needs or not.
Meagan Ruffing is a freelance parenting writer living in northwest Arkansas. She is a MOPS Ministry Coach in her area and loves getting to know the moms in her local group. Visit her at www.meaganruffing.com and say hello!