Sitting around a table with 9 or so other women, we laughed, shared ideas and planned our upcoming MOPS meetings. As I sat there with them, I realized that this year is my 7th in MOPS. Seven! I don’t even feel old enough for that! What an irreplaceable gift MOPS has been in my life. As far as relationships go, nothing has compared. The group I’m part of consists of about 45 women, all different ages, with unique backgrounds, challenges and strengths. Some go to church, some don’t. Some are married, a few are separated. Some have special needs kids and others have kids in advanced learning programs. As we gather around tables together, we come with one HUGE thing in common; we all want to be the best Mother’s possible.
10 Reasons I Love MOPS:
- Because long term loneliness is toxic. Whether we’re introverts with not much to say or extroverts that can’t stop talking, we were all created to be in relationships with other people. Loneliness is a place where lies about life are fed- the lie that no one likes us, the lie that no one understands, the lie that we’re just “different” than everyone else. Long term loneliness deteriorates our lives because we were made to be in real relationship with other people.
- Because my kids need to see me having friends, too. Nothing compares to setting an example. If we want our children to be a good friend and develop strong relationships, we need to do the same for ourselves. We spend so much time encouraging our kids to be friendly and kind, but what about us? Are we taking our own advice? Nothing speaks louder than leading! Show your kids how much you value friendship by investing in your own. Show them how much you value kindness, by being kind. Show them how fun it is to smile at someone, by letting them see you smile and show them it’s okay to feel nervous and awkward, by working through those things yourself.
- Because MOPS prepares me for the years ahead. There’s something so special about being in a room with women who are in front of me in the mothering journey. These women might not know it, but they are my informal mentors. I learn from the way they’re navigating what’s ahead.
- Because these women are the ones in my community and I should know them. They are the ones I see at the store and the ones who help in my kids’ classrooms. They are the ones who might be there someday when my child gets hurt on the playground or they might be with him on a field trip. Should I know them? Heck yes I should!
- Because being around women who are different than me is GOOD. One of the best things about MOPS is the ways it’s opened my heart to people who are different than me. After taking the time to get to know people who might not have automatically been in my life, some of the most unexpected women have become the people I want to know better.
- Because it’s good for my kids to experience time away from me sometimes. A good, safe MOPS group has multiple workers in each classroom, who are background checked and there to love and nurture your kids. Is it hard to drop them off sometimes? Sure! Do they cry sometimes? Yes. But we need to do the “hug and go” and then go have our time with friends, too. Tiny nursing babies often stay with their Moms at MOPS, but older kids should go, play and have fun. Some kids take a long time to get used to the process, while others drop off with no problem. As hard as it can be, it’s good for our little ones to be in a safe and fun place, apart from us sometimes.
- Because MOPS helps us develop our strengths. I’ve seen women share up front, who thought they could never public speak and I’ve seen women faithfully plan meetings and events, who didn’t think they were capable of helping. When you’re part of a MOPS group, you are in a place where your talents and gifts are needed and when there’s a need….there’s room to come out of your comfort zone and grow.
- Because MOPS brings in amazing speakers. In our group, we’ve had some GREAT guest speakers this year. Want to learn more about marriage, family, parenting and many other topics? MOPS often has some great speakers throughout the year.
- Because you can come as you are. In most MOPS groups, you’ll see women in yoga pants and also the women who clearly had the time to shower and get ready….and everything in between. There’s acceptance for nursing babies, bottle-fed babies, c-sections and natural births. MOPS is where you come as you are.
- Because MOPS agrees that yes, Mothering is hard, but it’s also VERY important and we should do it well. There’s almost a tangible force you can feel, when you’re in a room filled with women who want to mother well. Sure, we all know Mothering is exhausting and extremely frustrating at times, but do we want to sit in the puddle? No. We need to be pulled out of our mud and propelled on to be our best. There’s nothing as powerful as a women who believes in herself, her kids and her community. The world needs more women who want to rise up out of their mud and live well.
If you’re afraid of missing naps, your kids crying, awkward silence or no one to talk to, that’s normal. But being part of your community and developing relationships? It’s worth all of the awkwardness and messed up schedules. It takes time. Many women share that they didn’t like their first year at MOPS so, don’t think you’re going to go one time and come home with a best friend. Give it your best and see what happens!
Sure, MOPS isn’t for everyone, but here on NW Healthy Mama, we want to shine light on the importance of being in relationships. It’s a big deal, you guys.
So tell me, are you part of a MOPS group? What has been your favorite thing about it?
Interested in finding a MOPS group in your area? Click here.