Years ago, I gave birth to the wildest adventure I've ever known: my precious son. I have been perpetually tired since the day he was born. I laugh, I cry, I nap. Some of you know what I'm talking about. Just saying the word "boys" makes you tired. Now I'm not saying girls are easy, I'm just saying that boys are...wide open, loud, non-stop, 90mph whirlwinds of sticky, smelling, bug-collecting, stomping, free-for-all, stop every now and then to kiss you then drive you up the wall, buckets of joy.
He came early and had to be nursed or fed every 2-3 hrs. By the time I nursed, diapered, swaddled, pumped, cleaned everything, and set up for the next round it was time to do it all over again. Ya'll remember those first moths of sleep deprivation. I was tired all the time. Exhausted, really. Even though my doctor said it is harder for moms to bounce back when they are "older first timers" I was still beating myself up a little about it. I wanted so badly to enjoy every second. I figured, I'll rest later. Later came and he was crawling, then walking, then running! You get the picture.
Little-boy wrangling, family obligations, home keeping, Church obligations...the world kept spinning while I grew more and more tired. I felt old. I felt worn out. Did I say I felt, old? Old. Really, really old. I felt a little awkward at library day- the other moms were SO much younger than me. I didn't know it at the time but I had let myself get withdrawn and just a tad bit depressed.
Then it happened. One of the other moms at library day invited me to a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) meeting. Yeah right... a room full of barbie dolls half my age with their perfect little outfits and their perfect little children with no stains or sticky stuff. I was not interested. No way. It seemed like just one more thing to make me feel pressured and inadequate. Since I told her I would think about it, I did. My son is virtually an only child (his teen-age half-siblings no longer live with us) and a homeschooler, I thought being around other kids his age would be good for him. I went for him.
The kids were downstairs and the moms were upstairs at a local church. I felt so insecure. They were all a good bit younger. The voices in my head were saying I wouldn't fit in but they were so sweet. Everyone was so friendly. Over the next few meetings, I realized they weren't perfect little moms. Nope, not at all. They had in-a-hurry pony tails, tired eyes and yucky stains too. The screaming from the children's area assured me their kids weren't perfect little tikes either. They were...like me. They were a lot like me. That was two years ago.
Since then, I have developed friendships with some of the most beautiful, caring ladies on the planet. We have laughed, cried, played, and learned together. My son has playmates and playdates galore. This fall I will be assuming a small leadership position within the group. I am so excited to attend the international convention in August.
I am still tired. Are you kidding? The older he gets, the faster and stronger he gets! I am no longer isolated. I am not withdrawn. I know I'm not alone. As women, we are as diverse and unique as we can be. As moms, though, we share the same joys and struggles. We understand each other. We have a sisterhood that strengthens us.
MOPS, is an international organization dedicated to supporting, nurturing, educating, and empowering moms through community building. Their mission statement reads, "MOPS International exists to encourage, equip and develop every mother of preschoolers to realize her potential as a woman, mother and leader in the name of Jesus Christ." There are local chapters virtually everywhere. Their web page has a group locator and super resources for every single kind of mom. Even the old and tired ones, like me.
I encourage you to give it a try. You may be busy, you may be shy, but you just may change your life! Are you a part of a MOPS group? Have you thought it wasn't for you? Why? Share your stories with me. Moms don't let other moms mother alone (yeah, I had to work in the slogan somehow).