My five year old son gazed at me in anger, holding one of the paintings he had brought home from kindergarten. As he spoke he underlined each word by emphatically shaking the painting up and down. His voice and his body oozed fury… “Mummy. THIS IS NOT RUBBISH!”
Oops. I had made a critical error in judgement, disposing of one of the multitude of paintings we were collecting in our home. It definitely was an art to get myself out of that sticky situation – the art of apologising, and then getting out of the corner I had painted myself into. It required science too – a revision of my hypothesis that he wouldn’t miss his painting or notice it in the rubbish bin. From then on I carefully stored paintings on a high shelf for a month or two and then, if their disappearance hadn’t been noticed, discretely disposed of them in the bottom of the rubbish bin or, even better, in the wheelie bin outside!
Welcome to 2011 and our MOPS theme “Mumology: The Art and Science of Mothering”. Mothering is definitely and art… and a science. It requires all our creative genius, and yet also requires scientific precision as and thoroughness.
Let’s play the word association game. Which words do you associate with ART? Sculpting? Mess? Masterpiece? Abstract? Creative? Perspective? Interpretation? These words are made for motherhood! We are constantly cleaning up messes. We painstakingly work on sculpting and forming our masterpieces (our children). Some days it just all seems so abstract and makes no sense. It requires all our creativity – especially on rainy days. Sometimes we lose perspective. We definitely earn our motherhood stripes in interpreting those first cries, words and gestures.
Which words do you associate with with SCIENCE? Explosions? Questions? Breakthroughs? Experiments ? White Coats? Again we see that these words are made for motherhood! We have many assorted explosions, but dread the kind that escapes the nappy! How many times a day do we hear that question “Why?” How often do we question our mothering? We feel on top of the world when we have a breakthrough in toilet training or some behavioural issue. Some days our decisions just seem like experiments and we have no idea of the outcome. And other days we are convinced the men in white coats are going to come and take us away!
What a great theme, and what fun we will have this year as we explore the Art and Science of Mothering in our MOPS groups.
At the heart of Mumology is the desire of every mother to be the best mum for her children. Our theme book this year is “Momology: A mom’s guide to shaping great kids” by Shelly Radic. It’s written in an easy-to-read format, broken up with case studies, mum stats, mum quotes, and practicums for you to think about. It is loaded with fabulous ideas and encouragement to be a great mum.
MOPS International have spent two years researching mothering, talking with mothers, doing surveys, and from that study have identified four elements for successful outcomes with our kids:
CORE… knowing who we are. It’s about growing ourselves. Research shows that when we, as mums, have a strong, resilient core we are more likely to have strong resilient children.
FINESSE… knowing what we are capable of. It’s about honing practical mothering skills—intentionally carrying out our daily responsibilities in ways that encourage growth and resilience in our kids.
CIRCLE… knowing who we can count on. It’s about building relationships with neighbours, care-givers, extended family and, most importantly, with our husbands or for single mums, with a parenting partner.
GRANDSCAPE… knowing who God is. It’s about engaging with God and his unique purpose for our lives. I find it very interesting that both secular and Christian research identifies faith in God as an essential element for successful mothering.
Our theme verse this year is found in Psalm 139:10 “Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” What beautiful encouragement! Even there your hand will guide me… when I’m doing well and when I’m struggling. Even there… when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Even there… in the big picture and in the tiniest details. Even there… when I don’t know what to do and when it seems too hard. Even there… when all is well with the world. Even there God’s loving hand – the hand that loving created and formed us – will guide us and hold us fast. What a great opportunity we have to share with our mums that our loving God can guide them in the day-to-day, nitty-gritty of mothering, as well as in the big picture of their life.
May God bless you and your teams this year as you explore “Mumology: The Art and Science of Mothering.”
National Field Staff Leader