Part 2: MOPS – Mothers of Preschoolers (Am I really THAT Mom?!)

It is 2 o’clock in the morning and I cannot sleep!  I am exhausted and emotionally numb but my mind is racing and wide awake!  Hopefully letting some of my thoughts out will help me to put some things to “rest” so that I can get a little bit of shut-eye.  I am not going to go into all of the details of why I am feeling this way, that I’ll save for a counselor.  Yet I will share with you what I have learned during this past…well, I’m going to call it a school year because the time frame was from September 2010 – May 2011.

This is the 2nd part to my mini-blog series, Am I really THAT Mom?!  You may recall that Part 1 was all about when I bought our Honda Odyssey (I still don’t like to call it a mini-van) and you all know what I mean when I say “THAT Mom”  – the one that you talk about and swear to never be like for whatever crazy reason!  Just as I swore I would never buy a mini-van, I also sore I wouldn’t be one of those stuck up Mom’s that was in some Christian lovey-dovey, tea sipping, pot-luck brunch eating, tell one-upper stories about how great our kids are support group.  Yes I will admit that when I first heard of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) those were my thoughts, and I vowed to never be a part of it!

Well the Lord works in mysterious ways and sent me many ladies to try to change my mind.  First there was Darla, one of Sophia’s preschool teachers when she was in the infant room, and Darla mentioned to me long ago that I should go to a MOPS meeting.  Then there was Barbara, another one of Sophia’s preschool teachers who also works child care (MOPPETS) during MOPS meetings encouraged me to go as well.  I continually declined for a year, and then I had Tedy.  During a breastfeeding support group meeting one day God sent Emily to come and talk to us about MOPS.  He also gave Emily a very powerful tool to persuade me into changing my thoughts that this might be something I may actually be interested in…that day Emily handed out a free book: What Every Mom Needs by Elisa Morgan & Carol Kuykendall.  I am a book junkie so of course it sat on the shelf for a while next to all the other books on my reading list.  Yet God kept putting Darla, Barbara & Emily in my life, all around Williamsburg I would see them and if I talked to them MOPS would come up.  Then finally one day during the MOOretown Road Chick-fil-a Mommy & Me group I got up enough nerve to talk to Emily and ask her a few more questions about this MOPS stuff.  She was very kind and invited me to attend a meeting.  I went home, put the first meeting date on my calendar, and started reading the book, What Every Mom Needs was exactly what this Mom needed!  The book was amazing and I was looking forward to finding out what this MOPS stuff was all about.

The day for my first MOPS meeting rolled around and I was nervous all day long!  I went early to pick up Sophia from preschool and hurried over to King of Glory for the first meeting.  I was so anxious and had no clue where to park or walk in or anything!  Walking into a new place to go do something gives me major social anxiety.  I knew my friend Christine would be attending the Tuesday morning meeting but I was attending the Monday evening meeting so I was afraid that I wouldn’t know a soul there!  By golly was I ever wrong!  The minute I walked in everyone was kind and welcoming and there were many ladies that I knew from the Y.  My nerves settled when I dropped the kids off at MOPPETS – Barbara had Tedy in the infant room and Darla had Sophia in the toddler room.  The meeting began and they played a video from MOPS international about what people initially thought of MOPS and then what they thought after they experienced MOPS.  I started to laugh/cry because my initial thoughts about MOPS were very similar to the things they said; little did I know that my later experiences with MOPS would also be similar.

The first semester of MOPS at King of Glory in Williamsburg was amazing!  I absolutely loved the meetings, play dates and Mom’s Night Outs!  Then as 2011 approached, our living situation was thrown for a complete loop (oh Army life – like I’ve said, that’s a blog for another day) and on January 2nd we moved from Williamsburg, Virginia down to Fort Stewart, Georgia!  I didn’t get to say goodbye to those ladies the way I wanted to but thanks to Facebook I still keep up with them so I didn’t really have to say goodbye.  When we started to get settled I started to miss MOPS and went on the MOPS international website to see if there was a group in my area.  I saw that there was one but it appeared to be a bit away and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to trek out there for a meeting.  Instead I finally got around to reading the book for the 2010-2011 season, Momology A Mom’s Guide to Shaping Great Kids by Shelly Radic.  This book spoke to me and God was tugging at me again telling me to check out MOPS.  I’ll admit that I shoved the suggestion to the side and brushed it off thinking, I don’t want to have to drive all the way out there!

Like I said, the Lord works in mysterious ways and he started sending me Gena.  I had seen Gena a couple of times around post and then one day God screamed at me and said: “LOOK AT THIS LADY!  DO YOU SEE WHAT HER SHIRT SAYS?  YOU LOVE THE COLOR COMBINATION, WHY DON’T YOU READ IT?”  I replied: “Geesh!  Yes I do like the color combination and what the front says ‘Got Kids?’ haha funny take on the ‘Got Milk?’ ad.”  He said: “CUT THE ATTITUDE AND READ THE SHIRT ALREADY!”  I said: “Ugh!  Fine!” I took a look at the shirt and saw that the back of this beautiful brown shirt with pink writing read: ‘Need MOPS!’  “OK GOD I GET IT – I’LL GO TALK TO HER!”  I walked up to Gena and introduced myself to her telling her that I liked her shirt and that I used to be involved in a MOPS group back in Virginia and that after seeing her shirt I should probably get back into it.  So she took down my name and e-mail address and said that she’d contact me and send me more information.  I was excited/nervous when she sent me meeting information and directions because the next meeting was the following week!

The day for my first MOPS meeting at a new location rolled around and again I was nervous!  Again, I didn’t know where to go or park or anything, and that crazy social anxiety feeling crept up again.  Yet again, I walked in and felt welcomed and recognized a few people who I had seen here and there on post, and when the meeting began it was like I had been there all season.  The second semester of MOPS at Gum Branch was amazing!  During the last meeting Stephanie gave an amazing testimonial and it was finally fully etched in my heart that MOPS was something that I needed to be in and need to be an active part of!  Who would have known that during that final meeting was the beginning of one of the most difficult times of my life – yet I’ve been able to get through it because of these ladies!

I am very excited to say that I am on the steering committee, heading up creative activities, for the 2011-2012 MOPS season at Gum Branch.  Oh and yes I can admit that my initial thoughts about MOPS were completely off!  I am also very happy to admit, I really am THAT Mom!

For more information about MOPS check out the MOPS international website at www.MOPS.org you can also find them on Facebook and twitter!

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