Saved by the MOPS

Published 9:52 pm Friday, June 29, 2012

By Sandra Goode
Guest columnist

As a new mom, leaving the hospital for the first time elicited an interesting array of emotions. Somewhere amidst the pride, joy, awe and excitement existed this hovering cloud of sheer terror. Underneath five layers of clothes, two blankets and a five-point harness lay a small human whose sole hope for survival and sustenance was heavily weighted upon the actions of … well … me.

I naturally had reservations about my nurse’s judgment when she officially and permanently delegated the next 24 hours of every day of my child’s life to a woman who barely knew how to close a diaper. I recall standing under the hospital awning with a keen awareness that I was officially clueless and irreversibly a:

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Mom (noun) 1. a term of address for a female parent or a woman having or regarded as having the status, function, or authority of a female parent

I didn’t become a mom in the traditional sense. My first bundle of joy was the gift of adoption, and a mere three months later, I welcomed biological twins, born via surrogate. In the blink of an eye, my house transformed from calm to cuckoo.

With a smorgasbord of babies, I made the decision to “stop working” (excuse me while I crack up) and stay home with my three small gurgling, drooling, exploding little humans. It was at this time in my life that I became intimately acquainted with a:

Mop (noun) 1. A household implement made of absorbent material attached to a typically long handle and used for washing, dusting, or drying floors; 2. A loosely tangled bunch or mass

Being a stay-at-home mom is, by far, the hardest job I’ve ever had. The pay is horrible, my bosses are ruthless and my morale ebbs and flows, depending upon the difference between giggles and screaming (usually mine) occurring at any given moment.

It took a year and a half of muscling bravely alone through the dredges of motherhood before I realized my sanity was slowly slipping away amidst the volume of domestic chaos and diaper duty.

I needed my identity back. I needed adult interaction. I needed Calgon. Thankfully, what I found was:

MOPS (noun) 1. A group of female parents who command authority in the use of household implements for washing, dusting or drying floors, while being attached to one or more small humans; 2. A group of moms who, together, make up a loosely tangled bunch and who attend biweekly meetings to help one another regain a small iota of sanity

MOPs stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. It’s an amazing program that encourages mothers through supportive relationships, continuing education and a belief that better moms can make a better world.

My MOPs lifeline is one of two groups generously sponsored by Nansemond River Baptist Church and run by real moms of real preschoolers. During the course of the school year, this ministry provides child care to wee ones so moms can have uninterrupted time to interact, listen to professional speakers and help one another navigate the challenges of mothering our multitude of itsy bitsy people.

MOPs have, quite literally, helped me to redefine, appreciate and more fully value the gift of being a mom.

For more details contact Nansemond River Baptist Church at 484-3423; email fridaynrbcmops@gmail.com; or look us up on Facebook at NRBC Friday MOPs.

More information about MOPs can be also be found at www.mops.org.

Sandra Goode is one of two coordinators this year for the MOPS groups sponsored by Nansemond River Baptist Church. Email her at sandi_goode@yahoo.com.