My Beautiful Mess of a Morning: Hello MOPS, I’ve missed you!

This morning we had our first MOPS meeting since last year…actually since last November, since we had a freak snowstorm and had to cancel our December meeting. My parents left early in the morning for an RV show in Kansas City (yep, they’re still with us but getting closer to finding the perfect fifth-wheel and heading out on their next adventure) so I was on my own to get Charlotte and myself to the meeting on time (of course my hubby pitched in to help get us out the door…thanks Honey!). We were supposed to be at the church by 8:15, but since that’s about when C is usually waking up we were running a bit behind. C seemed perky and happy despite her early wake-up call, until I took her to her classroom and she suddenly remembered I was leaving her there. Cue the high drama.

This picture was actually taken in December when I made her come in from playing in the snow, but you get the idea

I don’t know what it is about MOPS that brings out the waterworks in my darling child. She skips into her MDO classroom happy as a lark. I guess MOPS isn’t as consistent, plus she has more transitions (from the early “leadership team kids” class into her regular classroom and back again), or maybe she’s somehow aware that I’m at the same building but not in her immediate vicinity. Whatever it is, hearing my child’s echoing cries follow me as I resumed my co-coordinator responsibilities was not a pleasant experience.

We had the usual issues – Moppets workers not showing up, needing to set up a TV for our speaker, trying to find plastic baggies for snacks, complicated by the fact that we also had several new moms that needed to be directed to the correct classrooms and discussion groups. I felt a little cray-cray, running around like a cat-herder while trying to address the issues all at once and solving none of them (oh, and then Charlotte saw me run past her classroom, which brought on another round of drama, second chorus, same as the first).
By the time I finally dropped into my seat, smiling ruefully at my discussion group since I had yet to even greet them, I was more than ready for our speaker’s advice on trigger point therapy. She explained that trigger points are basically tender places around our bodies where nerves are spasming due to tension (usually from stress). Or something like that. Anyway, to help relieve the pain they cause you can have someone press down firmly on the trigger point until you feel the pain “diminish.” She demonstrated on a volunteer, then invited us to practice on each other. Talk about a weird and awkward kind of ice breaker! “Hey, I don’t really know you that well (or at all) but will you press on my back while I tell you where it hurts?” A few brave souls got up and started to tentatively try it out. After about ten minutes we started loosening up (literally) as we realized it worked! Those little knots around our backs and shoulders really did respond to pressure and relax. I think I need about twenty more sessions before all my trigger points are soothed, but hey, I’ll take what I can get!
Our next speaker was a mom from last year’s steering team who now works with sports injuries and rehabilitation. She gave us some wonderful advice for how to eat better (one new healthy recipe this month, cook meat with your veggies to give them great flavor) and then made us stand up and try some stretches (another good get to know you exercise…nothing like trying to touch your knee to your foot while splayed out on the ground to help you feel more comfortable around each other). She gave us a quick and easy workout strategy that even the busiest mom can do and challenged us to make SMART health goals that we could stick to. I’ll let you know how it goes.
We spent the last few minutes chatting and catching up on each others’ lives. By this point conversations were flowing easily and naturally.  I was greeted enthusiastically by several visiting moms who decided to register right then. My co-coordinator Mindy had graciously checked on Charlotte in the middle of the meeting and reported that she was doing just fine (of course she was sucking on her paci, a comfort technique usually reserved exclusively for naps and bedtime, but you do what you have to do right?). So here are a few take-aways from today:
– I am not in control, and that’s a good thing (when will I ever learn this lesson??)
– becoming pretend massage therapists and work-out partners is an awkward but ultimately bonding experience
– Friendship and camaraderie is a priceless gift, yet it is easily found in the company of other women who all share similar challenges and struggles
Being on the MOPS leadership team is hard, but it is also oh so rewarding! Seeing the moms around me smile and laugh and nod knowingly at one another makes all the effort absolutely worth it.

My fabulous leadership team with our November speaker, Michelle Duggar. Now there’s a mom you want in your tribe!

We all need a tribe of sisters. Have you found yours? Do share!


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