Lending support to mothers

MUGGS now in its 12th year

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ MUGGS (Mothers Under God’s Grace & Strength), a free, interdenominational Christian-based support group for moms, recently held its first session of 2018. Now in its 12th year, the group offers fellowship and encouragement to moms at all stages of life. Left to right: Kate Pergande (and child), Claire Mayo, and group co-leader Anna Kodis during a group discussion.

Fellowship. Food. Discussion. Support. Encouragement. All elements to be found in MUGGS (Mothers Under God’s Grace & Strength), a free, interdenominational Christian-based support group for moms.

“Our group started in January 2006, after a group of moms that attended a women’s conference together the previous fall, said how we really needed a moms’ group in Marshalltown, so we started one,” said the group’s leader Jenn Pedersen.

The ladies meet at New Hope Christian Church on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month during the school year, from 9:15-11:15 a.m.

Pedersen is aided by co-leader, Anna Kodis.

“My family and I moved to Marshalltown 1-1/2 years ago, and I’d been part of mom groups ever since my oldest was young, so I wanted to join one here. I have five children. A lot of it is about connections with other moms — knowing you’re not the only one struggling with kid things,” Kodis said.

The group prides itself on being informal and open to moms at all stages of life, with children ranging in age from newborn to teens. Many attendees are also pregnant.

“We’ve even had women come to our group who have grown children, just for the support,” Pedersen said.

The first hour consists of sharing breakfast, with members trading off on who supplies the food. The second hour offers a combination of listening to guest presenters, small group discussions, videos, and working out of a lesson plan.

Most of the moms bring their children along, as free childcare is provided.

While attendance ebbs and flows depending on how busy the moms are in their personal and professional lives, on average, 15-20 people attend a session.

“We have a lot of people who just follow us on Facebook too,” Kodis said.

MUGGS also facilitates “Mom’s Night Out” and “Date Night” events.

“We encourage moms to get together outside the group,” Pedersen said. “Some have coffee together and do play dates with their kids.”

MUGGS will meet next on Jan. 26 with the theme of “Lighten Up, De-Stress & Lift Your Spirits.” To learn more, contact Pedersen at: 641-751-1464, or Kodis at: 319-671-0253.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com