“I’ve lost ‘me’,” said a lady at MOPS a few weeks ago. “I don’t know who I am anymore.” Her voice dropped as though she hardly thought her comment worth hearing, but every other mum in earshot turned as one to look at her and said, “I know what you mean.”
When you feel as though everyone in the family wants a piece of you – your time, your care, your attention, your body – you begin to wonder if you’re falling to pieces, and wonder if there’ll be anything left afterwards.
“I’ve lost my figure.” I don’t look nice in anything anymore.
“I can’t remember what I do for fun.” Fun was a lifetime ago.
“I’ve got no time to enjoy my children.” I feel guilty when other people tell me to enjoy them.
“I’m tired.” Too tired to care.
One mother told me of a time when she was so exhausted she could hardly find the energy to breathe. Others find themselves literally running all day between feeding families, cleaning up and the endless washing.
Some days just surviving feels like a second-rate accomplishment – if we’d stop long enough to realise it is an accomplishment.
And every fortnight at MOPS there are mums who sit blank-faced over a cup of tea, too tired to talk.
But they finish their tea.
“I’ve lost ‘me’ time.”
MOPS is for these ladies. When the children are enjoying their own program run by experienced carers, the mums can have a break. They can enjoy morning tea – all to themselves – and no one demands the icing. They can finish a conversation without interruption.
Sometimes this is all it takes to feel refreshed enough to tackle the rest of the day.
“I’ve lost the ability to make things”.
MOPS provides a chance to rediscover creativity. The washing is out of sight at home. The children are being looked after. Together with other women in the same stage of life, the mum has a chance to try – and complete – something she might not have the time or energy for at home. Anything from art to cosmetics, candles to desserts; the craft activity varies each time and everything is supplied. The mum can walk out of MOPS with one thing in her handbag that she has made, one thing she managed to finish for that day.
“I’ve lost the capacity to think”.
MOPS knows she has a brain. Each MOPS morning a speaker presents a topic relevant to mothering, family life, or womanhood. Guest speakers can range from emergency services to beauticians, mechanics to grandmothers, dance instructors to women’s health services. The discussions afterward provide opportunity for questions and sharing opinions. Many mums realise they do have valid opinions and are able to share tips from their own experience to support another mum who is a stage behind.
“I don’t know who I am anymore”.
MOPS knows she has a soul. When “I’ve lost ‘me’” runs deeper than fatigue and beyond the tough parenting phase, MOPS aims to help mums turn to Jesus. Jesus Christ himself said, “I have come to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10). MOPS provides mums with a chance to reflect on their eternal significance and invites them to be found – and to find rest – in Jesus.