How MOPS and Mentor Moms Saved Me From Lows & Loneliness
Updated: Feb 15, 2019
By the time I blew out my 31 candles I had a baby bouncing on each knee, all while trying to pack up the house into moving boxes. We were headed to a "big town" for a job promotion. Way larger then where we were living, the small town my husband grew up in in western Ohio. Although I was quite sleep deprived, I was also very excited and hopeful for a bigger town with more things to do, places to eat, and Oh, please, Lord, let there be a Starbucks!
After settling a bit and celebrating our first Christmas in Indiana, I'd heard a fabulous rumor! The church where Jeremy was working was starting up a MOPS program, Mothers of Preschoolers. Oh really?! I'm listening! I'd heard of this program from a good friend in Washington who'd raved about it, so I was psyched! (I was also super lonely and needed girlfriends in a big way!) I couldn't wait until launch day! Seriously, I couldn't. So, I decided to join the Steering Committee and go all in! To my great delight, I'd found the friends I'd been looking for! My people! (Sound the Hallelujah Chorus.)
My monthly MOPS meeting became an absolute lifeline! Wild horses couldn't keep me away! (Only a vomiting child could!) What was so great you ask? Well, there was childcare for my two squirmy toddlers, which was enough reason to go, right?! It was also lively and stimulating for us dragging and deprived mamas (many of us stay-at-home moms). But it also calmed me and gave me just enough escape from Babytown for me to find the strength to keep putting one flip flop in front of the other. Not to mention a good fix of friend-time! We had smart speakers who shared nuggets of gold, we made cool craft projects (Yes, please!), enjoyed HOT breakfast and coffee, and best of all: girl time without kids! Don't underestimate the power of uninterrupted conversation! It's a beautiful thing!
But the MOPS meetings that we always looked forward to, and got the most out of, were the ones with the Mentor Mom panel. (Mentor Moms: sweet ladies a bit older than us, who were a regular part of our group and were always available to provide extra encouragement, support and even prayer.) At these couple-times-a-year meetings we could ask them any questions we were dying to know. Like, "How will we survive this exhausting baby stage?", “What does ‘quiet time’ look like with wailing babies?”, “Will my husband and I ever get a real date again?” Their answers didn't fix our issues, but it was encouraging to know that they had lived to tell us, "It's gonna be ok." Those mentors nurtured me and gave me the hope I needed to keep chuggin' away and not throw in the blankie. ;-) THANK YOU, MOPS Mentor Moms for ALL your wisdom and support! It made a difference to this often disheveled mama!
After several years of soul feedings from these wiser women, I found myself dreaming of one day picking up my own set of pom poms; turning to cheer on other young mamas in their busy messy seasons. Sharing encouragement and tips to help on the often treacherous journey. Things I wished I'd known before.
Well, my kiddos are teens now and talking about drivers ed, career goals, and wedding dresses. Gulp! Unbelievable, I know! I’m about a decade removed from that crazy “littles” season now. Hallelujah, I survived! Those mentor moms were right! “This too did pass!” No more non-stop training and correcting, blending homemade baby food, begging baby sitters for a needed break, and dealing with tears all night; or all day. Ok, so there's still a bit of that. ;-) Some quiet mornings and times to reflect and pray, really do return! And when you make it happen, so do date nights with your man, or yourself! (Novel, right?!) It feels good! But if you find yourself in the frazzled scenario described above, hear this:
You too will survive! Yes, you will! Your time’s comin’, Sister!
Kiss your babies. Give yourself grace. Lock arms with a friend. And for goodness sake, pour another cup of coffee!
How many of you found/find “your people” at MOPS?
Are you lonely? Check out MOPS as a potential place to connect and make friends, or find a needed mentor.