I am a military brat turned military spouse. Military life does not wait for anyone and making plans is wishful thinking. My world is always changing, and my tribe never stays the same. My family is usually out of reach, and my journey of motherhood can be one of the loneliest adventures. Without my husband, without my closest friends, without my family. Often in a new house, new job, new school. No village. No stability.
I am just like any other mom. I have my ups and downs. I love my morning MOPS, interrupted playground chats and mini-van dance parties. I have good days and bad days, and there are days where my sanity relies heavily on the strength of my coffee and the entertainment factor of today’s PBS lineup. But still … mommin’ can get lonely. At times, motherhood is one of the loneliest places to be.
But then there is MOPS.
There is just something so comforting about being around other moms. These other moms may be on different journeys, maybe experiencing different seasons and yet, they get it. They get the way you feel. They understand you may never finish another conversation. They know the value in a warm cup of coffee. They may have never been where you are, but they are willing to meet you wherever that may be. These moms make up the MOPS village. These moms make up my support.
The quick story of my husband’s most recent deployment was that I was alone — all alone. I was alone with two kids, a newborn and a house needing kept. I was alone with a postpartum body to be healed. I was alone pulling all-nighters for days at a time. I was alone with baths needing to be given, meals needing to be made and kids needing to be loved. I was barely home from the hospital and out buying groceries with all my girls in tow … despite knowing very well PB&J was the dinner time specialty … again.
But then there was MOPS.
A meal train, a smiling face, support, adult conversation, encouragement and kindness; this is what MOPS was made for. This is why MOPS matters. These women, many have never been here. Many will never know the loneliness of your husband being 6,000 miles away when you welcome a new baby. Many will never know the hurt of all that he missed — memories, moments, adjusting. Yet they get it. They get that there is loneliness to be found in motherhood. They get that there is hurt in adjustments and struggles in new journeys. They get that a warm meal can make a day. They understand that a message of encouragement can light up your mom-world.
There is a blessing in a MOPS village, even if someday it will become long distance. There is encouragement in knowing you’ll get an adult conversation. You get to be you, not mom, but just you! You’ll get at your meetings, uninterrupted table conversations, a warm cup of coffee. You’ll find support. You’ll find friendship. And when the time comes for my family to move on, for my family to venture to wherever may be next, the lonely will come. The house may change, the schools will too. Our friends will all be left behind. But then … there is MOPS.
Chelsea Enders is a military brat, turned military spouse, so there’s not necessarily a specific location called “home.” Her family is currently stationed in Ohio. She is a mom to three little girls and married to her best friend, Brooks. They enjoy spending time outdoors, traveling and taking their daughters on adventures.