The best gift I ever received for a Mother’s Day gift (beside my two lovely children of course) wasn’t on Mother’s Day. It was when a girlfriend invited me to MOPS for this first time.
When I first quit my career to stay at home with my infant daughter full-time, I had no idea what I was doing. There had been no children in my life since I was a child and I babysat my cousins (and that was ages ago!).
I struggled daily managing all the tasks that it took to be a new mommy. Undiagnosed, I also battled postpartum depression and an increasing sense of isolation since all of my other friends worked full-time.
My neighbor rescued me, though. She invited me over for coffee while we watched her kids and mine play in the front room. (Our first playdate – before I even knew there was such a thing.) And then she invited me to MOPS. Mothers of PreSchoolers is a group of women with the mission of providing relief and friendship to young mothers.
MOPS is a place where you can go and talk with other SAHMs. They will hold your baby for you, babysit your toddler, and play with your preschooler, all while you enjoy coffee and breakfast in peace. There are women from all walks of life – all ages, colors, sizes and economic levels.
MOPS is a Christian organization and, when I first realized this, I was a little set back. At the time I was an agnostic so I was a little paranoid that someone would try to shove their belief system on me. But no one ever pushed religion on me or made me feel uncomfortable.
In fact it was because no one forced anything on me and only offered unconditional support and non-judgment, that I actually became interested in this thing called Christianity. I watched mothers struggle with even more desperate situations than my own calmly accept their circumstances with humility, grace and unwavering hope. And I became so curious – desperately curious – to figure out how they could have so much faith and so little fear in their lives that I wanted to know more and to somehow grasp what they had.
Motherhood brought me one step closer to God, but it wasn’t until a friend held my hand and showed me the way that I truly met Jesus and fell in love. And now I just can’t turn back. I have so much gratitude and so much love to give I feel like a cup flowing over.
I can’t be in MOPS anymore because of our own situation. However, if you can, I encourage you to look up the nearest group in your area. There are several different types: regular MOPS, TeenMOPS, MilitaryMOPS and MOPSNext – for those who’ve graduated out of the preschool years. There are even mentoring opportunities for mothers of older kids and grandmothers. (And international versions in every language you can think of!)
I do realize that MOPS may not be for every mama. But I encourage all new mother’s to seek out community and support at this fragile stage in life. Every mom needs friends who understand her and can assist her when times get tough. If not MOPS, then join some other mothers’ organization in your community. Look up “mom community” and your zip code on Google.