MOPS gave me the opportunity to explore my sense of self. Of course I possessed some sort of ideas about who I was. I knew I wanted to live intentionally with my children. I knew that I wanted to create a welcoming home atmosphere for my family. I knew that I wanted to include God in all things my family did. I also knew that I wanted to keep my artistic abilities going with crafts now and then. To put it in others words, I knew I would be a great housewife and mother but for a while that was all I thought I could do!
I began attending MOPS after a rough move to another city. This was our first move as a family that would be away from the city that we knew and loved. As we were driving away I could see the city in the rear view mirror; I had left a college that held a potential future for me and my husband had left a secure job that would support our growing family. Things were scary! But you know what’s scarier? Not attempting greater things because you’re scared and ignoring God’s will for you.
So, for all of you out there wondering WHAT IS MOPS?
MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. Although the name can be misleading, the group is intended for all mothers whether the children are not yet born OR past the preschool years. I suppose it would depend on which MOPS group you attend, but most groups will welcome any mother. You can check out their beautiful website HERE.
I just LOVE the focus of MOPS because they are pointed towards building up women who are raising the children of this world. It’s so important to support other moms and to seek support yourself. The Lord knows we all need it! As mothers, we play a big role in who are children grow up to be. And of course I don’t mean in deciding if our child should be a famous soccer player or a top of the line chef. I mean, we are a big factor in how our children’s morals are shaped! It is my role as a mother to make sure my children have an understanding of what is good and evil in the world and the only way I can teach my children is to make sure that I am 1) continuing to educate myself 2) being encouraged by other mothers that are like-minded.
I joined MOPS a couple of months late. I actually heard of the MOPS group while I was attending a children’s clothing consignment. I happened to walk by a small unattended booth with flyers, picked one up, and left. Later that night I read the flyer, checked out the website, and emailed the group leader. After some wrestling mind-games, I decided to attend the upcoming meeting. I was new to the area and was eager for friendships with women who were in similar situations such as myself.
And I am so glad I did!
The first meeting was above expectation. I tend to be an introvert by nature but when I entered those doors I felt an atmosphere that was warm and welcoming which was a foreign concept to me when considering some past organized events/groups I attempted to attend! Women were greeting me left and right. I met my child’s nursery instructor and adored her. By the end of the meeting I had two women ask for my number and multiple women add me on Facebook!
So how did I re-discover my sense of self?
Around two months of attendance, the MOPS group watched a short video about how us mothers tend to neglect our personal needs and teaching us to let our inner-self flourish. Afterwards, my table was given a pencil with paper and asked very simple question. A question that we should all know about ourselves without thinking on it.
We were supposed to write our hobbies and they could not include taking care of the children or my husband (although I cheat a bit and do include them, I’ll mention why below). To my dismay, I had no idea what I enjoyed doing anymore! I had many hobbies before having my daughter so it never occurred to me that I may have let my ‘likes’ slip through my fingers. What was even more surprising was that I wasn’t the only mother who didn’t have much of a list for hobbies. There were quite a few of us!
Off the top of my head, a couple of hobbies I would have put on my list before having my daughter would be things like reading, hiking, piano (I was attending school for Piano Pedagogy at the time), Vander — my husband, and music analyzing. And… some hobbies I am bashful to admit such as magazine reading, Grey’s Anatomy, shopping, etc etc etc, you know, girly things. But I AM a girl, so I suppose it’s only natural.
But, a lot can happen in two years.
I am still the same person. I love all those things above, even Grey’s Anatomy (despite the majority of the original characters being gone) but they are not my hobbies anymore. My new interests are shaped with my husband and daughter in mind but more importantly they are shaped with God in mind. They are no longer shaped by my college influences and they are not shaped by the idea of living as a girl with ties only to my husband.
It took me a couple of days to come up with a good list of things I actually enjoy doing and want to invest my time in. I decided as a mother it was important for me to be an example to my daughter and demonstrate to her that even mommy has things she loves doing. Mommy is human. Mommy needs rest and mommy needs time to take part in activities that rejuvenate her soul. With that, I sat down one night and really examined my life to create a list of hobbies that I find meaningful.
What do I enjoy doing or what rejuvenates my soul? (in no particular order)
- God — He is everything! This world nor ‘my world’ would exist without Him. To live a life without Jesus would be a life with no hope, no faith, and certainly no love. If I choose to make Him first in everything I do my life will have a purpose. I choose to read the bible because it’s living and breathing. There is extreme power in those words!
- My husband — Some may say, your husband can’t be a hobby! Not true! A hobby is something we invest our time in and enjoy it. So, I need to invest my time into my marriage to create a loving atmosphere and I better enjoy doing it! Honestly I find it can be pretty fun coming up with cute ways to make him smile. I once made a huge heart of sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, each with its own reason about why I love him. He woke up for work the next morning, saw them, and LOVED IT! I definitely invested my time in that sticky note heart (my 3 a.m. hour to be exact) and I enjoyed seeing his face light up when he saw it so I’m going to count that as a hobby.
- My children — My baby girl seriously gives me the happiest of hearts! I have been sick with the flu all week which has created rough mornings but I just LOVE opening the door to her room in the morning because each time she smiles the biggest smile, squeals, and jumps around! She is so happy to see me each and every morning, I am so sooo blessed. As a mother of course I invest my time into my children but it’s more than just taking care of them, it’s studying them. Getting to know their quirks, the likes and dislikes of each child, and understanding their love language. It’s taking the information you know of your child and teaching yourself how to demonstrate the love you hold for them!
Now I’ll list some more ‘typical’ hobbies
- Reading — Still adore it. I’m an education nerd! I love reading self-help christian books and biographies. I love fiction and fantasy too! All kinds of reading. The problem is making the time to read. I become distracted so easily! I find that I have to re-read a page EVERY time Yvette pokes me or even walks by. UGH! The other problem is that by the time evening rolls around and my daughter is in bed, I just get too exhausted! So, I’m still working on this hobby. But it’s a love of mine that will stay until my last breath.
- Music — Like before, I still have a love for it. I don’t have as much time to practice as I would like but it’s a hobby I can resort to when I feel like it. I like to analyze music. I like to guess the chord progressions, key signatures, etc. So I do that often because I don’t have to go through the physical act of ‘practicing’.
- Writing — This is a new one for me! I knew I loved to write letters to my husband but I didn’t consider it much of a hobby until recently. Sometimes I find that I have a lot to say, which is good right? I mean, this blog wouldn’t be happening if I didn’t!
- Crafting — I’ll be cruising the isle of a store and think “oh that’s cool! I should make that!” and that’s how this hobby came about. I like to recreate objects I see whether it’s on Pinterest or in Target. I love DIY projects, you can check out my latest one HERE. I’m not as fond of knitting or crocheting so I’ll leave that for someone else! I tried making a cute knitted cozy for my mug and ended up with an oblong scarf looking thing.
- Decorating — Turning my crafts into decorations! Taking a run-down rental and creating it into a “pinterest looking” home is a challenge but it’s fun to come up with new ways of decorating to either A) hide something or B) creating the illusion of more space!
- Hiking — We don’t make as much time for this as we would like considering my husband is often hard at work but we have fun when we do!
- Girly things: Hair, makeup, nails, shopping (if shopping can be considered a hobby). You name it and I’ll probably like it!
And then came the bigger question: How would your husband or children describe you?
Okay, so what does this all have to do with discovering a sense of self?
As I started to pursue my hobbies I wrote down, I noticed that I was developing a desire of doing something more! I learned that I am more than just a mother and wife. Although being those two things are AMAZING, it does not give me a chance to be me. So I decided to pursue something that would allow me to be a mom, wife, AND expand my creativity. Giving me a feeling of purpose and importance. I decided to re-open my failed attempt at blogging a year ago and expand my knowledge on the subject — which believe me when I tell you that there is A LOT more that goes into blogging than meets the eye. I had no idea! But the research, the writing, the creativity and activities is right up my alley and gives me a sense of purpose that I had searched for. I now get to attempt DIY projects, write about it, and share it with all my friends! I have the ability to teach others how to create something or maybe even inspire someone to walk with Christ!
So, what do YOU do that rejuvenates your soul or creates joy in your life? Please leave a comment below!