Saturday 17th May was a beautiful day for Perth’s inaugural Better Mums Conference. Mums carpooled from all over the metro area, and some had even driven for three hours to arrive before 9:00am! Our hosts at Riverton Baptist Church greeted us with smiles, hot drinks and a bag absolutely chock full of goodies.
The Better Mums Conference was a whole day of MOPS-style encouragement and inspiration, and we were all able to return home to our families, feeling rested for the time away, and ready to tuck in our little ones.
WA Area Co-ordinator Cherie Macchiusi opened the day, speaking about Better Connection: A simple, spicy solution to transform your marriage. I didn’t feel reprimanded for what I do or don’t do; predominantly, I felt encouraged to start afresh, to “make passion a priority.”
Griffin Longley, CEO of Nature Play WA, presented his thoughts (and research) on Better Kids: Why our kids need to take more risks. There were some staggering statistics on the change of childhood experience in the last one hundred years, and the guidelines for children’s physical activity. Again, I felt encouraged to take charge of this for our family, rather than feeling overwhelmed by the data. As a result, this week we have carried home a variety of very large sticks from the park – the average person would never suspect they were mowers, edgers or stump grinders!
“Join in. Turn off. Meet up.” Thanks Von Kilpatrick for the challenge to achieve a better balance in our relationship with social networking, so that we can achieve healthier friendships. Spellbound by technology, it has become so easy to think that clicking a button creates and maintains a friendship. Von reminded us that we need to “plan to be close.” So simple, and yet so profound, in the tightly scheduled lives many of us lead.
We enjoyed scrumptiously catered morning tea and lunch, with plenty of time to chat and browse in the mini market. I think all fifteen stalls were well attended, but I found myself continually drawn to the stand of hairclips – longing to buy them all for me, although they wouldn’t work with my wardrobe; and to the wooden toys. I achieved mum of the week status upon arrival home when I presented our son with a toolbox.
The panel of experts opened our afternoon session, answering questions that we had opportunity to submit anonymously during the day. The experts included a psychologist, a nurse, a MOPS mentor and a GP specialising in women’s sexual and reproductive health. I think we all loved the opportunity to have a straightforward answer, without having to read through a whole book or three to maybe find something that might work!
The next half an hour flew by with Sandra Barnsley, an image consultant, as she whizzed us through some style basics, namely the importance of aligning our colouring, style, and personality with our lifestyle to “dress our best for every day.” It was great to have confirmation that the latest trend in colour or shape doesn’t have to be in my wardrobe, not every style suits every body.
I was thankful for the tissues in my goodie bag, as Nicole Bryan shared her story. What a courageous woman to share her darkest times with all of us, and also how she met Jesus in the depths of that valley. Jeremiah 31:13 says, “I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Nicole is living in the truth of a fresh start with Jesus, with hope for the future.
The major sponsors, 98.5 Sonshine FM and Enjo, donated some generous prizes for the raffle at the close of the day; with additional door prizes and prizes just for fun donated by some of the stall holders. Notably, vouchers for Intimo to the woman who had breastfed longest and the woman who was still wearing a maternity bra, but no longer breastfeeding!
Thank you to Miranda Miller, Conference Convenor, and her committed team for creating a brilliant day enjoyed by 160 mum delegates, more than a third of whom were non-MOPS mums. I can say with confidence that I think the goal of encouraging and equipping us to be better mums was achieved, and I am sure that the venue will be bursting next year as the word spreads that Better Mums Conference is THE day out for Perth mums.
Publicity, MOPS Whitford