Military service members fight valiantly in war. As mothers, service member or civilian, fight our own war of sorts. Our wars may not have bullets and bombs, but there is no shortage of diapers in various degrees of dirtiness and sippy cups. Resupply comes not from headquarters, but from Costco, the commissary, and Walmart Grocery Pickup. We almost never stop charging and rarely peek up out of the trenches to call for help. But we do need help. MOPS, short for Mothers Of Preschoolers, is an international organization of groups where mothers band together to support one another.
If you’ve been on the fence — not really sure what MOPS is or if it was your kind of crowd or if you truly needed it, we have an inside look at your local MOPS group. See for yourself!
The journey of motherhood is long and winding, but it doesn’t have to be lonely. Moms instinctively understand one another, transcendentally almost. Without words, we can read in each other’s faces. In a glance, we see it — a month of sleepless nights, the stress of deadlines, the unspeakable joys of a newborn, and in the military community — the intermittent struggles of single parenting and reintegration. That deep connection is tangible when you walk into your first MOPS meeting. What better place to get linked in after a PCS? After a few meetings, you may even find your soul sister.
Each year there is an overarching focus for the group to set their intention. Themes vary, but they are always inspirational, like Find Your Fire and Free Indeed. These rallying cries guide the entire tribe of MOPS moms for the coming year. At each meeting, your leaders will have prepared an educational presentation that is spiritually enriching and enlightening. Topics covered can include things like relationship strategies, goal setting, meal planning, and gratitude.
A group discussion always follows to allow everyone to share their own knowledge and opinions. These conversations are opportunities to broaden your outlook and grow personally. New moms need this type of edifying interaction, especially if you’ve recently transitioned to stay-at-home-parent. If you fall in love with your MOPS group, become a leader! There are all sorts of ways to help out and build up your fellow moms while stepping into a role that helps you grow.
Rest, Refuel, Rejoice!
One major perk of participating in MOPS is the childcare that’s included (if ever an article warranted that hands-raised emoji, this would be it)! This is time for you and your kids to take a break from each other and enjoy the company of peers. They will be entertained by the babysitting staff while you enjoy a few hours of mental rest and adult conversation. Any toddler mom could appreciate that!
In addition to the main presentation, there is also often a meal, craft, and games for you to enjoy. The goal is for you to be re-energized and ready to jump back into your motherhood role prepped for success!
There’s nothing worse than the stress of having to make new friends when you arrive at your newest duty station. MOPS takes the pain out of this common woe while building you up for the most important job you’ll ever have, parenthood. You don’t really have anything to lose by giving it a shot, but, between friendships, a support system, and built-in playdates for your little ones, you have so much to gain by showing up.
Afraid that parenthood is going to take a toll on your social calendar? Never fear, extroverted mama! See how your baby can help you make friends.
Photo Credits: Sarah Ashton-Boyd
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