by Lindsay Diener
When my first baby boy was born in February of last year, I knew life was going to change. In this new season of life, I was finding myself neck deep in both great joy and great challenge. As soon as I was ready to venture out of the house with my little bundle of a newborn, I decided to give MOPS a try. And man, am I glad I did. There are so many ways that MOPS has encouraged me, challenged me, and met needs I didn’t even know I had in my life as a momma. So here are just a few of the things I love about MOPS.
1. Vulnerability is met with compassion every time. Any time I have opened up to my MOPS friends, whether sharing at my discussion group table or posting a prayer request in the Facebook group, I have found zero judgment, only understanding and uplifting words. It takes a brave person to expose themselves, and any time I have done it with this group, it has been more than worth it!
2. My MOPS friends are PRAYER WARRIORS. Have you ever told someone you’d pray for them, but then completely forgot and never got around to it? Yeah, me too. But let me tell you, that is NOT this group of women. I can tell that these friends pray when they say they’re going to pray. How do I know? Because I’ve seen it work in my own life! They even follow up next time they see me and ask me how the situation has worked out. This expression of love through praying for one another is priceless to me!
3. No mom-shaming here! I know mom-shaming is a real thing because I read about it online, but this is not something I’ve actually experienced first hand. In our MOPS group, there are working moms and work in home moms. Breastfeeding moms and formula feeding moms. Homeschool moms, private school moms, and public school moms. All mingling together, all choosing not to judge each other for the decisions we’ve each made. No side eye, no mumbling to another mom when you turn around. It’s just not a thing I’ve experienced in this group, and I am so grateful! It’s a powerful thing when moms trust that other moms can hear from the Holy Spirit too, and discern what’s best for their families!
4. MOPS allows me to interact with people I wouldn’t otherwise cross paths with. I am so grateful for the relationships I’ve formed at MOPS, and it’s crazy to think that without this group, I may have never met some of these amazing women. MOPS gets me out of my normal circles of people I run into at work or church. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my home church. But sometimes it’s nice (and healthy!) to expand the circle!
5. The brunch is good! Like, REALLY good! Some of you may roll your eyes at me for getting this hype over the food, but y’all, these mommas can COOK! Brunch food is my favorite, and I am always excited to see the creative and delicious recipes my friends cook up! And they never judge me for my non-homemade contribution when it’s my group’s turn to bring food. 😉 (See #3!)
6. I always know my kiddo is well cared for in MOPS Kids. It is SO nice to spend a couple of hours child-free, am I right?! MOPS Kids makes it possible for me to drink my coffee while it’s still warm, eat from my plate without sharing, and hold deep conversations without interruption. I can’t put into words the value of having volunteers caring for our kids who I can trust to take good care of them while I get to socialize! My sweet boy loves being in his MOPS Kids class, and that gives me the peace of mind to enjoy myself!
7. MOPS has allowed me to connect with AMAZING mentor moms. Everyone needs a mentor in their life, for real. Mentor moms are seasoned, veteran moms who have lots of wisdom to offer, but are also great at listening. I can bring all my questions to my mentor mom! They love, pray for, and encourage us moms who are still in the trenches of raising little ones!
8. It gets real with the topics we cover. Every week we watch a video or hear a message of some sort, then break into small groups to discuss. And let me tell you, MOPS is not holding back! This year we’ve covered the challenges of foster care, how to love the parts of your life you didn’t choose, and the importance of sex in marriage, to name a few. These conversations challenge me to grow as a mom, as a Christ-follower, as a wife, as a friend. I love that we’re not afraid to go deep, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
9. I have found solidarity in a beautiful but challenging stage of life. Sometimes you just need to hear someone say, “Yeah, I’m there too!” Your baby won’t eat and you don’t know what to do? Mine too! Kid was up at 3AM crying? Same, girl. You’re on day three of dry shampoo? High five, welcome to the club! Something about knowing you’re not alone and these people GET your struggle is so life-giving.
10. “You can sit here if you want to.” *read in the voice of Jenny from Forrest Gump.* I know women can be cliquey sometimes. Some mom groups can feel more like a social club with a steep initiation. But guys, the MOPS door is open, and truly anyone is welcome. Don’t worry if you’re a little socially awkward because you spend a great deal of your time speaking toddler, or if you’ve got a spit-up stain on your blouse, or you have no idea what you’re doing as a brand new mom and you’re terrified everyone can tell. You’re probably not the only one, and there’s a seat for you at the table.