I got to spend a couple of hours this morning speaking and singing to a group of young moms and their kids. It was the weekly MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting at a church in San Clemente, CA, and I had a blast sharing some of my Panda Mom Confessions blogs and singing some of my songs for moms and kids. It was a wonderful morning.
I was especially pleased to see that the ladies shared my quirky sense of humor. I normally don’t get to sit with my readers as you read my blog like I do with David (“Oh, come on, honey — tell me that line was funny! Okay, I’ll change it…”), so aside from the comments I get, I really don’t know what your reaction are to my writing. I certainly hope that you’ll find some of my stuff funny (because — let’s face it — there’s a lot to laugh about in parenting), but it was nice to get an immediate feedback. Actually, sometimes the moms were really in stitches, which pleased me to no end. I think my nursing nightmare post and the one about my own parents went over especially well. Thank you, ladies!
While mingling with these young moms, I was struck by the sisterhood in the room. It’s a smallish group — maybe 20 moms — compared to some MOPS groups I’ve sung at with over 100 ladies, but I could tell that these women share life together. Their children are friends with one another, and the moms really look out for each other. It sure seemed like they’ve been through thick and thin together.
I wished that I had belonged to a group like this MOPS when I was a new mom. They were probably around nearby, but I just wasn’t aware of them. I was so used to forging my own path up until that point in my life that I didn’t even bother looking. I’m pretty independent, and I pull myself up by my own bra straps. Oh, that’s not how the saying goes? Well, you know what I mean. I was an island, all alone, and I was really struggling.
I did have a small group of friends who had babies at around the same time as I did. I already told you about them – they all had girls. And girls reach milestones a lot sooner than most boys, particularly mine. Let’s just say I didn’t exactly lean into this group for support, but that was my own shortfall.
If I had known that MOPS groups are everywhere, I probably would have tried them out initially just so that I would have 2 1/2 hours of uninterrupted (unless there’s a meltdown in the nursery) time to converse with other moms about many topics — not just baby-related — while we all stood around rocking our invisible babies in our arms. I would have also come for the most delicious breakfast potluck around with all the cheesy, oozy, egg-y casseroles you can imagine.
But then I would have found support from the other ladies going through early motherhood and would have learned that I’m not the only one going through whatever trials and tribulations I’d be experiencing that week. I would have learned that I’m not a complete and utter failure as a mom — other moms are failing too, so I’m not all alone in this! I would have learned from mentor moms who had walked through this period in life and came out the other side…and lived to tell. I would have been inspired by speakers and teachers at each meeting. Who knows — perhaps I could have been a better mom if I had experienced a group like this 10 years ago.
So, I encourage you moms out there — whether Tiger or Panda — to search for moms support groups like MOPS. I’m sure you’ll benefit from these fellow sojourners, but you just might also be a blessing to others as well.
Are you a part of a group? How do have you found them to be helpful?