It’s a wonderful endearing vision: a mom seated in a comfy glider with a tiny precious sleeping bundle swaddled on her chest. Take a breath and you can smell that newborn baby smell. All is well. It’s quiet with maybe the sound of the musical mobile or of mom humming softly as she rocks. This is an image that I saw in my mind as I envisioned my days with my first-born child. I think a lot of moms try to envision what it will be like when their long awaited 9 months is over. And if you’re a mommy, then you already know that while there are sweet moments like this, there are many more moments in your day to day that will leave you feeling frazzled and wondering what you will do with this little “bundle of joy”.
My own experience has led me to believe that the first two weeks of life with a newborn is bliss. They sleep lots and usually only cry because they need to be fed or changed. But something happens after that two weeks, babies decide it’s time to check out more of their world and so they are awake for longer periods of time and decide that if they cry, mom or dad will try to figure out what it is they want and do it to stop the crying. And this cycle continue to grow more as more weeks go by.
I can remember one night when my first-born was about 3 months old and he woke up crying. None of the first thoughts worked…not hungry and no need for changing. I walked and bounced and rocked and he was inconsolable. My husband got up and also tried the same. We finally laid him in the middle of the floor and we sat down looking at him without a clue what else to do, all the while he was screaming and crying. We hadn’t a clue what else to do. And I think he finally cried himself back to sleep. Was it colic? Was it indigestion? I still don’t know, but I was glad to be going back to bed! When baby #2 came along, it was even more difficult. I had an almost two-year old (they are 18 months apart in age) and an itty bitty baby who soon after that first two weeks of bliss developed acid reflux. Wow! Those were some hard times.
Hard times are not fun to go through. But they are easier if you have someone with you encouraging you and being your cheerleader. Sometimes that’s the dad. Sometimes it’s your mom or sister. Sometimes it’s just a friend. And while I was fortunate to have those “built-in” cheerleaders, I found a big resource of support and encouragement when I found MOPS, International. MOPS? What is MOPS you ask?
MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers and it is a non-profit organization with a mission to support and encourage every mom! It’s my focus for my Treasurers of the Valley and Beyond.
MOPS groups are usually formed and meet at an area church. Meetings can be held in the mornings or in the evenings. A common meeting looks like this: moms come with their kiddos and a brunch food item. Children can be dropped off with the MOPPETS workers who will care for the children so mom can have a break and have real and adult conversations with other moms. There are often creative activities for mom to participate in as well as fabulous speakers who talk on a variety of topics to help give you ideas on your mothering journey. There are discussion groups, usually with a Mentor Mom who has traveled the same path before that you are now. She may have ideas to help you navigate this new journey you are embarking upon. And above all, there is fellowship and community. There is something about realizing other moms may struggle in the same areas you do and that IT IS OKAY. When you realize you are not alone, all of the sudden, you start to lessen the demands on yourself and you rally with the community you have found.
It’s amazing how many moms feel “alone”. While they may not be physically alone, they will yearn for conversations without the word “potty” in them and for a chance to connect with someone of their adult age. MOPS wants no mom alone!
So as I chose to focus on this non-profit treasure this month, I want to let moms know there are MOPS groups in Roanoke, Blacksburg, Floyd and more. Just go to http://www.mops.org for more info or to search for a group near you!
I can’t tell you in words how much MOPS has meant to me as a mom. I was so moved by this new community I found, that I stepped forward into volunteer leadership and now help to serve groups all over the states of Virginia and West Virginia. So if you would like to learn more about MOPS through a local contact, feel free to contact me, Teresa Martin.
MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) is open to moms upon the conception of their children all the way until Kindergarten age. If you have school-aged children, you may want to look for a MOMSnext group in your area!