“Educate the women and the men will be educated. Let the ladies understand the great doctrine of seeking the greatest good, of loving their neighbors as themselves; let them indoctrinate their children in this fundamental truth, and we shall have wise legislators.” ~ Mary Lyon
What Is It?
Cottage Minis are especially designed for moms of young children in mind but moms at any stage of life can enjoy this fun, easy way to connect and discuss liberty-promoting principles in any venue. Whether it’s getting the kids together for a playgroup or coffee with the girls, this is “mommy time” you’ll totally enjoy!
Cottage Minis are a pretty simple concept.
You just gather with a group of moms and discuss an article, story, or video you’ve all shared. We have provided a library of articles, stories, and/or videos to choose from or you can choose your own. You can meet as often as you like in whatever format works best – playgroups, park days, or coffee just with the girls.
How Does It Work?
Cottage Minis helps you turn any article or current event into a course in liberty! Gather with your fellow moms to dig deeper into the news, commentary, and articles that you see around you every day. Our outline guides you and your friends into a meaningful discussion about topics that matter most to you. Forming a Cottage Minis group provides opportunities to put the information you’re learning into action, as well.
The Cottage Minis format is also great for creating a politically-oriented mommy and me playdate! This format is about as simple as it gets, so it’s great for busy moms who don’t have a chance to prepare beforehand, or moms with little ones who aren’t a good fit for more formal political gatherings. Your Cottage Minis group can meet in a living room, at the park, or just with a couple of girlfriends over coffee.
The first thing you will need to do is decide what kind of a Cottage Minis group you want to create. If you have toddlers at home, a playdate group may be the best option. However, if you’re looking for a little time away from the kids, meeting with your girlfriends over coffee while the kids are at school may be the best option for you. The day and time you meet, how often you meet, and the way you meet is completely up to you. As you meet you may decide a different day, time, or format will work better for your group. That is totally normal. It doesn’t mean you are failing, it means you and the ladies in your group are figuring out what works best for your own group for the best experience and greatest success.
How often do we meet?
Some Cottage Minis groups meet during on a weekday morning for an hour or two. Others meet on Saturday for coffee so the hubby can watch the kids. Some Cottage Minis groups meet weekly, some meet monthly. If you are enjoying it, it is the right day and amount of time. This is meant to be an enjoyable experience. If it becomes a hardship, that isn’t a sign you need to throw in the towel but simply that an adjustment needs made. Maybe you need to reconsider what time you meet or how often you meet. There is not right or wrong way in how often you meet as long as it works for you.
How many moms should I include in a group?
We recommend keeping your group small and manageable. 3 to 9 moms is an ideal number depending on the kind of group you choose. For instance, you are meeting as just moms taking time away from the kids, then 5 to 9 moms would be a great number. However, if you decide you want to do a playgroup format, you should consider the number of children each mom will be bringing to the meetings. If each mom only has one or two children under 5 years old, then 3 to 5 moms is a good number. How many children are involved and what ages the children are, should definitely be considered.
You will also want to consider the ages of the children. If you have one mom with a seven year-old and all the other children are two years and under that might not work for a play date. Of course where and how you meet would all factor in as well.
Where do we meet?
This, too is based on how you decide to form your group. If your goal is to have stimulating conversation with other moms without the kids, a coffeehouse may be a great place to meet. If you are doing a playgroup format a park is a good option in nice weather. Meeting at playgroup friendly locations, such as family fun centers or community centers are good option during colder weather. And of course your home is always a great option. You can even take turns meeting at each other’s houses to make it more fun for the kids.
How do I build my group?
You would be surprised how many moms there are in your own circle of influence who are looking for an opportunity to meet in a group like this. Just look around you at the moms you know in your church, neighborhood, community center, school activities and wherever you meet other moms. When building your group make sure to keep the kind of group you are forming in mind. If you are using a playgroup format you might want to find moms with kids around the same ages.
Another way to build your grow is through social media. You can post your group and see what kind of response you get. You may be surprised at how many moms like the idea. Social media is also a great way to communicate with the moms in your group. You can start an invite-only group page on Facebook. Texting and email are great ways to communicate as well.
Bottom line is, this is your group. You are starting it and devoting the time to lead it so it should first and foremost work for you and your schedule. If the group gets too big to manage you can always split the group and give one of the moms an opportunity to lead the other group. If more groups are created from yours you may decide to meet altogether once or twice a year for a night out just to enjoy the friendships you’ve created through your MomLink connections in your own community.
What do we do when we meet?
The best part about these meetings is what we do – talk. Because that’s something all moms like to do. This is an opportunity for us to share our thoughts and opinions about what we all read. You as the group leader can lead the discussion or you can have each mom take turns hosting and leading the group. You can use our discussion resources and articles or choose an article from current news/events that interest you. We have created a Cottage Minis Discussion Guide to help you plan and lead your discussions so your meetings are meaningful and inspire thoughtful conversation.
How to Use the Cottage Minis Discussion Guide
We have intentionally kept this format as simple and flexible as possible to give our hostesses the opportunity to best fit the needs of their group. Hostesses can feel free to select more than one article, send out the article ahead of time, use as many of the questions as time allows, or simply discuss one question for each step. Our hope is that no matter the size or experience of your group, this guide will provide a perfect launching point for meaningful and informative discussion!
We know our Cottage Minis hostesses are busy moms too, so we’ve kept the preparation for this format to a minimum. Once you’ve chosen a date, time, and place, and invited your guests, all you will need to do is select material to discuss in the group. Our Cottage Minis Resource Library provides several topics and articles to choose from. You can also choose your own. The Cottage Minis discussion guide is a great resource to help you decide which questions are best suited to the material you and your group will be looking at.
Walk through the questions together over coffee or a playdate for your kids. First, our discussion guide focuses on understanding what the article has to say. Next, we seek to weigh the ideas that were presented against a fixed standard. Then, we focus on the long term effects of the ideas presented. Lastly, our guide directs your group to think about ways they can make a positive impact in the areas discussed in your meeting. Once you have discussed the questions you select from the guide, talk about what action points you are going to take based on what you’ve learned.
Take a few minutes at your next meeting to talk about how you put the info from last week into action. This time is not about judgment! We’re all busy moms and our families are our absolute first priority! Celebrate baby steps like sharing the article you read with a friend, inviting a friend to join the group, writing an email to your congressman, or donating a few dollars to an organization that supports the principles you discussed. This group isn’t about being super mom and doing everything, it’s about doing something more this week than you did last week and it’s about doing more together than we could do by ourselves.
Cottage Minis Resources
Everything you need to get your Cottage Minis group started!
Anchored in Hope
This presentation will introduce you to Moms for America®, provide an overview of the MFA mission, and introduce you to the four fundamentals of liberty. Click on the links shown here to download the PDF Documents.
No Place Like Home
This presentation will introduce the significant role of the home and family in society, introduce the Pillars of Liberty, and established the principle that liberty begins at home.
This presentation will help women realize their powerful influence in their home and family, the community, and the nation; that if we are to heal our nation, we must begin by first educating ourselves.
Foundation of Faith
This presentation will illustrate how God and faith were instrumental in the founding of America; that Faith is the Pillar of Liberty which laid the foundation where liberty could grow and prosper.
Valor of Virtue
This presentation will introduce the second Pillar of Liberty – Virtue, illustrate how and why a virtuous citizenry is vital to sustaining liberty, and introduce the concept of “public virtue”.
This presentation will introduce the Pillar of Patriotism as a matter of the heart, manifested through devotion to a cause higher than oneself – not for what the Patriot knows in his mind, but for what he understands in his heart. This leads to lasting dedication to living and promoting the principles of liberty.
America, Share the Story
This presentation will introduce the powerful influence of stories in promoting liberty and raising patriots. Stories are a powerful medium to teach the three pillars of liberty and is the most effective method for planting seeds in the heart.
Capture the Sunshine
This presentation will introduce the essential need of “Sunshine” in our lives, just as a plant needs sunshine to grow healthy and strong. We will discuss why expressions of gratitude and recordings of inspirational thoughts are essential to capturing the sunshine in our lives.
Time to Sow
This presentation will introduce the power of family dinner hour and quality family time to strengthen your family and promote a foundation of freedom in the home. The concept of self-government will also be introduced.
Wheat and Chaff
This presentation will introduce the Constitution of the United States as established by our Founding Fathers. It utilizes the analogy of separating the wheat from the chaff to distinguish between the original Constitution and the misinterpretations of today.
Law of Harvest
This presentation will introduce the concept of family reliance and escape government dependency. You will discover how a free people can use the principles of economics to gain prosperity. The most effective department of health, education and welfare for the nation begins in the home.
Raising a New Generation of Patriots
This presentation will introduce activities and learning experiences that can be used to teach the next generation. Whether your family participates in public school, private school or home school, this presentation will boost your confidence in educating the next generation about the principles of liberty.