As a new mother who was 686 miles away from family, I felt alone and lonely. Two and a half years later when baby #2 came along and cried extensively and didn’t really nap (unless you count 20 minutes while in the swing, which needed to be cranked every 20 minutes), in my exhaustion and seemingly tedious days, I was sure I was coming up short and maybe even failing.
Enter MOPS, International ~ a.k.a Mothers of Preschoolers
Two times a month from September to May, my toddler went off to her “class” where she did crafts, played and made friends, and I dropped that crying baby off into the gentle arms of a woman who dedicated two mornings a month to caring for the children of the moms who went to MOPS. (Mostly her time was tied with up with Zach, so really, thank goodness she was there along with many other caregivers!)
After dropping my kids off, I went to the MOPS meeting. For the first year I just sat, soaking in the companionship and teaching. Probably the most important truth I gained through my time in MOPS is that I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t failing. I wasn’t the only wife “too tired”, sometimes other moms yelled at their kids too, and I wasn’t by myself in my need for friends.
Through MOPS I learned how to nurture my marriage, friendships, and myself. I enjoyed a hot breakfast and a cup of coffee. I was mentored by wiser moms who had been in my stage and made it out still standing and even smiling. I leaned into the moms who seemed to have a peace that was escaping me. I also learned how to care for other women in the same season through leading teams of women in MOPS. God called me to my local church through MOPS. Through MOPS God healed some broken spots within me. He also cared for me through women who wrapped their care around me in tangible ways ~ that 20 years later I still remember vividly. MOPS grew and stretched me to be a better mom.
MOPS takes place all around the world – and each and every year it’s the same story at this time of year…we have lots of moms with many preschoolers who need a gentle man or woman to care for their children in the MOPPETS program so these moms can go to the MOPS meeting.
Though moms are so much more connected today through social media – they actually are just as lonely as they were 20 years ago. That mom who looks like she has it all together, well, she came undone for the 100th time recently and she needs to know she’s not alone and there is help in getting to a new path. With so many extended families separated by cities and states, there is a real need for mentoring, as well as reassurance.
Our theme this year is Be You Bravely – and who couldn’t use a little of that in their life?! (Click here to read more from MOPS on the theme.)
Local friends, church members or others reading this now can get in touch with me (or if you are reading this through someone sharing it on Facebook – get in touch with your friend) if you decide you want to come along and serve the moms who need to get to MOPS. We meet at Sonrise Church in Fort Wayne, IN. If you can serve twice a month, once a month or even a few times a year, we would be over the moon with joy to have you!
If you are reading this in another state, click here to learn more about MOPS, and click here to find a MOPS group near you in which to offer your service of caregiving. This need is HUGE. In. Every. Group.
Our schedules are full, our lives get busy, and sometimes we think small when we think of volunteering to “just watch children”. It’s not small ~ it changed everything for me. It changed the trajectory of my family. I will never forget the woman who so graciously and confidently took my crying baby from me so I could learn I wasn’t alone in this journey called motherhood.
If you’ve ever been in a MOPS group – feel especially invited to comment. :)