I don't think I could have survived having YellowBoy (who never slept and only screamed) and toddler-exploring-with-lots-of-questions-along-the-way Jake if I hadn't also had Mom's Group. I mean this sincerely. People might think I started Mom's Group to be all nice and provide a place for moms of all ages to come together and share their brags and sags on a weekly basis. But I'll let you in on a secret. I did it for my own sanity. Nothing altruistic about it.
I met her when we were both pregnant with our first child. We hit it off immediately. Even though she was nine years younger, a foot taller (ok, eight inches) and a former professional model, for some reason she still wanted to hang out with me. Together we'd pack our diaper bags and boys, lug our car seats, and head half an hour down the road to a church in a neighboring town where a distant acquaintance of hers attended a group for moms. I liked it. It was like a 12-step meeting. “Hi, my name is Tina. I have a six month old boy named Jake. My brag for the week is that I did get to make dinner uninterrupted last night because The Engineer actually got to come home before 9. My sag is that the other nights he worked until midnight and this is the only adult time I've had all week. I couldn't leave the house because Jake's asthma is flaring and his doctor doesn't want me taking him anywhere. I'm actually not supposed to even be here, but I thought I might explode if I didn't step out of the house so I'm here.” “Hi Tina!”.
We did this for the two short years that we had together. Although the friendship endures to this day across thirteen years and 1500 miles, she had the nerve to move away when our boys were two. But I continued with “MomsAholics” until it ended. By this time, I was also on the women's ministries team at my own church. Whenever we brainstormed about new programs to add, I'd suggest a mom's group based on my favorite parts of what I'd already experienced. And like any good leader should, our leader at the time said, “Great idea, Tina, why don't YOU do that.” I was cornered. Time to shut up. Or actually do it. So yeah, I did.
My version of Mom's Group followed a simple, recurring agenda, because I think moms appreciate knowing what' going to happen next. After all, a lot of our day is unpredictable. We have to change poopie diapers just as we are getting everything into the car. We have to clean vomit from our hair. Our child throws a fit on the entrance rug to the butcher shop. (Don't tell me I'm the only one?)(And I must interject here that FREE child care was provided - who can enjoy a mom's group WITH your child???) We started the morning with a silly question. What's the worst job you ever had? If you had an unexpected, child free evening, what would you do? When you were little, what did you want to be? What was your favorite childhood toy? Describe your first best friend. It got the moms talking and sharing, but about non-threatening stuff. Broke the ice.
After the silly question, someone led a devotion. Then we'd discuss the book we were reading. A lot of us wished for the time to enjoy a book club, but moms of toddlers don't have a lot of time to read. This way we got a mini-version of that with just a chapter a week, and we all participated in choosing this book. It did take us two years to get through A Purpose Driven Life, though. But we all knew we were there for more than that. We were seeking a deeper connection. We'd end our morning by sharing our brag and sag for the week. This is where we spent the most of our time. This is why we were there. This is were we shed our tears.
It wasn't just a group for moms of small children, though. It was a group for moms of all ages. We had moms of teenagers, moms of college kids, and grandmoms. GREATgrandmoms. I really wanted a mentoring aspect to it all. For us to learn from those who had been there, done that. And we did. It was precious to listen to the mom-of-college boy share that she wished she'd spent more time on the couch cuddling the five year old who wanted to explain excruciating detail each one of the over one hundred Pokemon. It was awesome to have the two moms who had been acquaintances for years finally realize each of their teen boys were rebelling, and now they had each other to lean on. In confidence.
So here's to all of you. Thanks for helping me to live through all the challenges of those years. Thanks for praying for me, and for bringing me lasagna when I had foot surgery and YellowBoy had scarlet fever. Thanks for telling I wasn't insane when I thought__________________. (It happened more than once). Thanks for listening. Thanks. I couldn't have done this mom thing without you.
I'm a student of the fab Ms. Jenny Matlock and her alphabe-Thursday class. Check out the other great post based on the letter M.