One of the catch cries of MOPS is that you can come, “just as you are”, and you will find warmth and acceptance.
This means you can turn up at MOPS without your makeup or perfectly straightened hair. You can share that your kids had weetbix for tea last night because you didn’t have the energy to cook and that your three and half year old is still not toilet trained and you are at your wits end.
MOPS offers a safe haven, a place where you can share without fear of being judged.
But MOPS doesn’t instantly become such a place, even though this is the heart and goal of the team leaders. To truly become a place where women feel safe to share and comfortable to ‘come just as they are’, you have a part to play.
Leave your ‘perfect’ self at home. Come to MOPS because you need it and others need you, even when you haven’t had time to pluck your eyebrows and they look more like a forest than finely shaped eye accessories. Come to MOPS even when you have nothing else to wear but your ‘trackies’ because the baby just threw up on the only pair of jeans that you still fit into.
Welcome the new mums and talk to them! Have you ever seen a new mum at MOPS but you have been too shy to talk to her? Hey, I’ve been there. But put yourself in her shoes. I’m sure she would feel welcomed and cared for, even if your words come out in a jumbled mess and even if you forget to tell her your name but over-share by telling her the names of your children, the different gynecologists who delivered each one and your grandparents back three generations.
Share your heart (the good and the bad!). How many of you have had the experience of your child being the first baby amongst your friends’ to sleep through the night, or the first to be toilet trained or the one who spoke full sentences before they were 12 months old! In all seriousness, I think MOPS is the perfect place to share your mothering joys and triumphs. Please, please do that. Share the big moments, like your baby finally eating their veggies or your toddler finally using their words instead of throwing a tantrum. Share the everyday joys of seeing your baby’s first smile or hearing them say ‘mamma’ for the first time. Hanging out with other mums would be a miserable experience if we only shared the difficulties. Indeed it could become a drug free form of contraception.
So when you come to MOPS, as you feel more comfortable and safe, open your heart and share your struggles. It will help you and I’m sure it will help some of the others in the group who haven’t been brave enough to be the first to share. With your help, your MOPS group will truly become a place where mums feel free to come “just as they are.”