I'm about to give a talk about how to run a MOPS group at your church. MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. Check out www.mops.org.au for more information. Read below for the reason someone might need to go to a MOPS group.
Let’s describe a mother of young children under school age.
She carries a lot. If she’s organised, she’ll have a full baby bag with all the nappies and wipes and disposal bags she needs, the bottles, the nicely packed snacks, the second and third outfits for the baby. The second and third outfits for the toddler. The second and third outfits for herself. If she’s not organised, she’ll have one nappy, a bottle without a lid, a piece of bread for the older kid and she’ll have a distinct smell of sour milk on her left shoulder.
She’s late. Because she had to pack the baby bag. Oh yes, and pack the baby and the toddlers.
She has a distinct look in her eye that says ‘latte envy’. It comes from a diet high in foods like fish fingers, beans on toast, eggs on toast, vegemite on toast, spaghetti bolognaise and, heaven forbid, McDonalds. Even if she has time to shop, she has no time to cook, and the kids won’t like it anyway.
She’s out of her regular clothes (just a few kilos each baby) and hasn’t had time to go shopping for more – or doesn’t have any money to go shopping for more. And she hasn’t had her hair done for months.
She adores her children. Especially when they are asleep. But she worries about them a lot. And worries about herself – if she’s doing a good enough job. And feels terribly inadequate next to the woman down the street who has eight children, all dressed in beautiful home-made outfits that look like designer wear, all of whom are perfectly behaved and who never ever throw tantrums in the shopping centre, and who all eat all their organic vegetables, sit nicely at the table and say please and thank you.
She wonders why that mum never seems tired.
She can’t help the nagging feeling that she’s somehow lost her identity or at least her social importance now that she’s at home with the baby. Everyone says mothering is important, but it doesn’t always feel like it. And she feels worse when she hasn’t slept because the baby has been up again. And her husband still assures her that she is important and still is sexy, but…
She was really looking forward to being at home full time – there would be lots of time to do all those projects she really wanted to do… except she can’t get more than half an hour to herself without being interrupted, and the baby keeps eating the scrapbooking paper, and she’s just really really tired.
The needs of a mother with young children have been identified by Elisa Morgan and Carol Kuykendall in their book, What Every Mum Needs:
1. The need for significance:
Sometimes I wonder if mothering matters.
2. The need for identity:
Sometimes I'm not sure who I am.
3. The need for growth:
Sometimes I long to develop who I am.
4. The need for intimacy:
Sometimes I long to be understood.
5. The need for instruction:
Sometimes I don't know what to do.
6. The need for help:
Sometimes I need to share the load.
7. The need for recreation:
Sometimes I need a break.
8. The need for perspective:
Sometimes I lose my focus.
9. The need for hope:
Sometimes I wonder if there's more to life.