Many years ago, when I gave up my cool career and became “just a stay-at-home-mom,” I remember feeling like I’d lost my identity. I went from rubbing elbows with celebrities, to rubbing Desitin on chapped bottoms. And yes, there were definitely some pride issues I had to deal with. I’ve always liked being different than everyone else — separated from the pack — so it was hard to lose my uniqueness and find contentment in being a regular mom just like everyone else.
I quickly found myself isolated, lonely and depressed.
I needed a new mom survival kit!
Sure, I had two beautiful, healthy babies. But I wasn’t happy. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”
And it was true. I let the evil one…
Steal precious moments with my children.
Kill the joy of motherhood.
Destroy my sense of purpose.
My purpose in that season was not to be the center of attention and impress people with my exciting job. It was to serve my children. And guess what? I wasn’t enjoying it.
But then, something happened.
I was invited to MOPS.
At first, I was a little offended. Granted, I’m not a great housekeeper, but do I really need some type of self-help group revolved around cleaning supplies??? But once I realized that MOPS (which stands for Mothers of Preschoolers) was a support group for new moms and it was filled with women dealing with the same everyday joys and struggles that come with raising young children, I knew I needed to check it out.
At MOPS, I began to find myself again. I got to connect with ladies who were in the same boat as me. I was empowered to treasure those priceless years with my children. I was encouraged to find joy in even the most mundane tasks of motherhood. Plus, being in a room filled with 150 women who have just dropped off their kids in childcare is one of the most joyful places you can be!
Initially, MOPS met my most basic need: free childcare.
I’d sit, hear a speaker and veg out for the morning. I was a lump of flesh offering nothing to those around me.
But I also got to talk with other women who were also struggling with being a stay-at-home mom & wondering if this was God’s ultimate plan for their lives.
Eventually this lump of flesh took on a new form. I knew I wanted (and needed) to become more involved. When an opportunity to join the following year’s leadership team opened up, I went for it.
I had a reason to show up. People were counting on me.
I had value.
I had purpose.
I had a reason to take a shower!
Plus, these people could tie their own shoes, wipe their noses and tell me how much they appreciated me — words moms rarely hear.
What did I do on MOPS leadership? The exact same thing I had been doing my whole life. I was up on the platform each meeting welcoming people, leading games, doing silly skits, giving away prizes…all the skills God had gifted me with when I was a young girl and the ones I’d used throughout my career.
And I felt alive!
Yes, I still had to deal with long days and poopy diapers, but for a few short hours each month I got to be ME. And that energized me to be the best mom I could be the rest of the days in the month.
As I reflect back on the years that have passed since having babies and toddlers, I get sad. I wish I could go back in time and grab the new-mom-Natalie by the shoulders and tell her to enjoy every single moment with those boys. We’ve heard it said, “the days are long, but the years are short” and I can tell you from experience, this is absolutely true!
Embrace your journey. It’s the trip of a lifetime!
And now, pull out some tissues for the Top 3 Songs to Make a Mom Cry…
Darius Rucker – It Won’t Be Like This For Long
Nichole Nordeman – Slow Down
Trace Adkins – You’re Gonna Miss This