Monday, November 5, 2007

Of MOPS and Mentors

I spent the morning with one of my favorite groups of people - one of my two MOPS groups. No, I wasn't cleaning house. They're not that kind of mops. MOPS are Mothers of Preschoolers. And, no, I'm not a mother of a preschooler. I'm a Mentor Mom. That's a "been there, done that, don't give up, you do get to sleep again one day" mom. I prefer that definition to the less flattering one: older mom with a slower metabolism and more wrinkles.

When my children were preschoolers I actually ached to be in a MOPS group. I would listen to the little MOPS moment on the radio where Elisa Morgan, the founder of MOPS, would assure me, "Mom, you're worth it!" Occasionally I would try to locate a MOPS group in my area, but I could never find one. I didn't realize that I could actually start a group with a little ingenuity and will power. So I struggled along, hundreds of miles from my mom and close girl friends. I desperately needed some MOPS to come alongside me, befriend me, swap stories with me, and chill out with me. But that never really happened.

On the other hand, I did find a number of Mentor Moms. Not affiliated with the MOPS organization of course, but mentors and moms all the same. Most of these women were years ahead of me, some with grown children and grandchildren. Women like Pearl, Evelyn, Nita, Susan, Beverly, Eunice, and Mary in Bowdon, Georgia, helped me wade through my first few years of mothering. They were my friends, my shopping buddies, my neighbors, my babysitters, and my spiritual mentors. They assured me, prayed for me, taught me things, doted on me and laughed with me. And when I suffered from extreme morning sickness with my second pregnancy, they would take Daniel off my hands for a few hours so I could sleep and vomit. They were absolute treasures.

When I moved from Georgia to Texas and left my mother behind, I desperately sought the companionship of MOPS again, but to no avail. Still, I found more Mentor Moms. Frances would take Daniel to eat pancakes and feed the ducks while I had some "me" time. She also taught me how to make play dough, how to clean my oven, and how to make meatloaf. Beverly and Marillas would take me to lunch and assure me my children were normal. Cindy lead me in aerobics and prayed for me. Barbara took my children to Mickey D's while I taught Bible studies. Patty played with my children and invited my family for Thanksgiving dinner. Janice would buy me little gifts and take me to tour old homes and botanical gardens. And that's only a few of the names and precious acts of service. There are so many more!

I never got to be a part of MOPS, but I had Mentor Moms galore - probably more than my fair share. And I loved every one of them to pieces! Is it any wonder then that eight years later God would lead me to my first MOPS group so that I could officially be, not a MOP, but a Mentor Mom? I obviously owe a debt and now I have the privilege of paying back. While I sometimes feel like I don't have much to offer, I am determined to do at least the one thing each of my mentors did for me so well: I'm going to be available and willing.

What has God blessed you with an abundance of? Have you traveled the road side by side with others who are at the same point on the path as you? Or have you, like me, been accompanied by more friends who are a few steps ahead? I'd love to hear about your experiences. Meanwhile, thank God for the blessing of companions, whether they be fellow travelers or seasoned veterans. It's good to know someone is on the road with you.

PS - For more info on MOPS, visit

1 comment:

Angela said...

First I want to let you know what a blessing you've been to our MOPS group! I am so thankful that God has blessed us with wonderful mentors!

I've been blessed to have mentors during my young adult years after I moved out. I actually lived with a family for a year. The quiet guidence and lessons I learned during that time has always stayed with me. Another set of mentors led our college/career class and were just started their own family at the time. The example they set moving from being a couple to a family impressed me greatly. Now I find myself more with friends who are were I am now. And even though I miss my mentors, I know God has placed me where I am for this time in my life.