On my tribe and MOPS

Mary Bullock was a few months old one of the first times that my mama friends and I tried to have a civilized lunch together. There were three of us with brand new babies, and a couple in various other stages with older littles or ones on the way.  I brought her over to my friend Meg’s in her car seat, confident that she would nap through it and we could sip mimosas in peace.

Mary Bullock did not approve of this plan.

She cried. And she cried. And she cried. The more I bounced her and swayed her the madder she got, until I finally took her into the nursery and cried myself, hot with embarrassment over my total ineptitude as a mother.

My friend Laura, a “veteran” already with a three and a five year old, came in.

Give me that baby, she said.

I don’t remember what happened next. Maybe Mary Bullock stopped crying or maybe she didn’t. I just remember feeling relief–with the weight of her out of my arms, with the weight of having to mother all by myself off of my shoulders.

And this is how it was when Mary Bullock was a baby. The word tribe wasn’t thrown around in the same way back then as it is now, but this is what my friends were. We hunkered down in each others’ houses in the afternoons, with kids crawling and shrieking and always always getting wet because that is just what they do, and having group dinners if we were at Leigh’s house because she always had food. I took it for granted that all of my mothering days would be like this, and I took for granted that everyone had a tribe like this.

I realize now that I was just extraordinarily lucky to spend my first year of motherhood with them, and if I ever get nostalgic for the days of having tiny babies and no sleep, it is those days with those women that I miss almost as much as the smell of new baby head or the tiny onesies lined up in the drawer.

This work of mothering– it’s not meant to be done alone. One of the most important things I’ve learned (the hard way, since that’s how I learn best) since becoming a mom is never to take for granted a group of women who share your experience and are willing to walk through it with you. Now that many of my people have moved away {sniff} or gone back to work {sniff} or both, my life looks totally different from those days. But at every stage, mama friends are worth cultivating and treasuring.

Which leads me to the point of all this, which is: MOPS. We’re starting one at our church, All Saints Episcopal. I have to tell you that when this opportunity came up, it was not on my radar. I was in another MOPS group for four years, and I let it go because something had to give in our schedule. So starting a new group was not really something I considered. But here we are. And I’m so excited! I’m praying through my worries about the time, and also through the fear of starting something new: what if no one joins and everyone hates me? What if I suck at this? {If you have space in your prayers, you can pray for me, too.}

But I’m also honored to give back a little of what has been given to me by all the women God has placed in my path since 2008.

If you’re local and you have babies, I hope you’ll join me.

{And not hate me.}

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