No, I’m not talking about that handy device that keeps my floors nice and sparkly, I’m talking about MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers), a group that gathers and discusses and encourages women in all things motherhood. Seriously ya’ll this is like the AA for Moms. If you are feeling like you are drowning in the valleys of late nights, early mornings, wining, picky eaters, laundry and dishes piled to the ceiling, that you are messing it all up or you just need a break, MOPS is the place to go.
After the birth of my third child, I also quit my job to become a stay at home mom. I had been through the late nights, continuous diaper changes, and constant crying before but this time was different. I’ve heard that going from 2 to 3 kids is the hardest transition, more so than going from 1 to 2 or even 9 to 10. However, it seems the life change of also leaving my job, was a pretty tough for me as well. I found myself dealing with what I now (years later) recognize to be post-partum depression. I found out how lonely being a stay at home mom could be. There were days that I did left the house. I felt I couldn’t, it was so overwhelming to think about getting everyone ready and heading out into the real world. For someone who typically lives the fast life, this was hard. I started to feel anxiety and even had what a therapist called a panic attack. I was a mess! I didn’t have words to really describe what I was feeling but one day in talking to a friend of mine, she recommended MOPS. I really didn’t know what to expect but it sounded like a nice thing to try for some encouragement.
My very first meeting I remember showing up late (big surprise!), nervous and a hot mess! I basically sat down at my table and poured out my heart on all the things I was failing at. I had just met 4 out of 5 ladies at my table and there I was letting it all out. To my surprise, I didn’t get the blank stare, the puzzled “What’s wrong with you” look or “let me pretend you’re not interrupting” head turn. Instead I received, caring words of affirmation. I felt like I was being heard and understood. I felt like I wasn’t alone on this roller coaster ride called motherhood. And I felt like for a moment it was going to be ok and maybe I could do this.
So what is MOPS? It’s a group of ladies coming together to share their life and their lessons learned. To be there for another mom. To, hot mess and all, pull ourselves together to help another mom out. It’s a place where you don’t have to pretend you have it all together, because truth be told: NO MOM HAS IT ALL TOGETHER! You can be free in your mess and receive the resources and encouragement you need to actually make a change.
So what can you expect at a MOPS meeting? Based on the group I was a part of, here is what you can expect. The time start off with dropping your kids off (yes childcare is included!), you sit down to a hot coffee (or tea) and breakfast, and enjoy a light presentation followed by a time of discussion. At times there is a craft and an icebreaker to get to know your fellow MOPS friends. I absolutely love it! As a mom who often gets trapped in the house and eats, sleeps, and breaths kids and house work 24/7 it is refreshing to enter a space where I can remember that I am individual that I have a need for rest and fun and that is ok!
MOPS is a global organization and they have groups that gather all over the world. Use their website to find a group that meets in your area. Usually each has semester or yearly dues to cover the cost of childcare, space rental, and supplies. There also is a MOPS membership cost of $31.95, but it is optional. However, there are some incentives to get the membership including a fancy welcome kit, access to the member site and a discounts on online education.
Each year the organization sets a theme for the groups to delve into. And that we do! For the 2018-2019 year, the theme is FIND YOUR FIRE. I signed up and received their welcome kit which included a Fire Giving Key, a lullaby CD by JJ Heller, a devotional for moms and more!
If you are a mom of preschool aged children or even an expectant mom, I would urge you to look for a mops group in your area and give them a try! As we journey through this adventure of motherhood, my hope is that you would find the encouragement that you need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. You are doing better than you think you are, and if you need that reminder there are ladies willing to be part of your tribe, to cheer you on, and see you thrive as the mom you long to be.