I was asked to mentor in 1996, after serving a year as a Moppets volunteer in the two-year-old room. My daughter and her son, KJ, lived with us. KJ grieved for his father, showing signs of abandonment and rejection, and I realized he’d have to learn to be secure. He needed more than Mom and Grammy in his little world, so I brought him to MOPS to make friends and be happy while his mom was at work. Because I’d worked in pregnancy care ministries, that spring the Team asked me to do a presentation on how to teach your kids “the facts of life” so that they might grow up to make good choices.
I loved being with the MOPS women. I was, and continue to be, so impressed with your generation. I find you amazingly open to mentoring, eager to improve your job performance, and actually seeking experienced guidance.
This period of your life is difficult and challenging time for two reasons. Of course you have a twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week call schedule, and the job never ends. Babies are totally helpless, toddlers are constantly dependent, and children are forever challenging. Even the most complaint child has the innate job of growing independent: as he stretches his boundaries, he is only doing what healthy children must do. Meantime Mom must adjust to changing needs, different personalities, and conflicting schedules. The baby just falls asleep when it is time to pick up the older kids at school.
At the same time, dad is building his career. At a critical stage in his life, he must be on top of his game to please his boss, invest in his business, and use all he’s learned while continuing to keep up in his field. With the constant explosions in technology, he’s swimming upstream every minute of every day. Even the most tender-hearted of men are consumed. They have chosen a field, and competition lurks around every corner. Moreover, good men are driven to provide for their nest.
This means you are at that point of life where multiple personalities are taking, taking, taking—oh, you get an occasional hug and kisses—but mostly demands on your time, patience, and energy, while your husband is preoccupied with his career and often not truly there even when physically present. Some of you are blessed with nearby family: parents, siblings, even cousins. (Some of us were not so fortunate—relatives can be a blessing or a drain. Needy relatives, alcoholics, divorced, emotionally or physically ill, can be another source of strain for many women.)
But we have MOPS. We see our mentor has survived, and even has laughter and adventure in her life. We see we are not alone in our struggles—we all have frantic moments. (Days? Weeks?) We can get advice, shed a tear, come up with a laugh, and the knowledge grows: we will survive this time of life. We will make mistakes, no doubt about it, but we will muddle through, learning and growing and becoming a better person, a better wife, a better mother, a better friend. We are in this together. Take a deep breath, one day you will look back on this as a fleeting moment in your life.
Let us help you.