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My First Year as a a MOPS Mom

first year mom orlando mom group winter garden horizon west

Today was a rough day.

It’s a Saturday, and thirteen months ago I took that luxurious weekend day ahead for granted. Now, I am an exhausted, working first year mom who has learned that “baby brain” is a real thing. And Saturdays are now unpredictable and sometimes a bit hard. My daughter didn’t sleep well last night. My poor husband was up most the night with her. So, I thought today she would be easy to get down for a nap because she’s so tired right? Wrong. She’s fighting off some gunk, teething, and grumpy.

I spent hours trying to get her to nap. And in that time also overwhelmed at the thought of all the things I needed to get done. Laundry has piled up, I still have things to unpack from our vacation, her “baby” toys she isn’t using need put away…..the list goes on and on. Plus, in a dream world I’d love a chance to enjoy some quiet time with my husband and watch our favorite show. Oh, but now she’s snotty and gotten sick a few times. Did I mention it’s been a long day?

This day is already heavy. It’s the two-year anniversary of our first due date. For the baby we miscarried. Typing that out is still so hard and surreal. So I take a minute to stop and be grateful for this tough day. And I remember the days I mourned and cried and prayed for the chance to be a mom someday. I wipe the snot, trip over the toys, change the stinky diapers and appreciate my daughter’s grumpy attitude. Well, I at least try to.

And then suddenly in the middle of this exhausting day a beautiful thing happened. She stood on her own and took her first few steps to me. She’s starting to walk on her own. And the emotions hit me. How can she be growing up this fast?

Don’t get me wrong. Those first few months were BRUTAL. The sleepless nights, the recovery from her birth, the constant feeling that I was doing this all wrong. The days felt VERY slow. But somehow, one day at a time, we made it to her first birthday.

One day at time. That’s kind of my new motto. Everyone tells you motherhood is hard. But what not everyone will tell you is that it’s lonely too. How can you be lonely when it feels like you never get a minute alone? But you can be.

A few days before my daughter was born, I saw a Facebook ad for a “We Love Moms” event in my area. It was being held by a local MOPS group. MOPS. A term I haven’t heard in over twenty years. But I knew it well. I was blessed to grow up in a tiny church in Western Maryland surrounded by an amazing group of women of all ages. And I suddenly vividly remembered the moms of that church talking about MOPS. They would light up as they talked about their time in MOPS. I saw them supporting each other and they never hesitated to help out another mom.

As a teenager I didn’t know what this “MOPS thing” was but I could see what it meant to women in our community, not just our church. So, decades later when I saw this name again, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I also had promised myself to take self-care as a mom seriously. I RSVP’d and 3 weeks after my daughter was born despite talking myself out of it several times, I put on real clothes and walked into a large room where I didn’t know anyone.

I realized I would need a tribe, a support, a place to feel heard. So, I decided to take a chance and joined “this thing called MOPS”. Once I joined MOPS Winter Garden, I made a commitment to myself to attend faithfully and to go all in. I found a group of women who encouraged me, who empathized with my new mom struggles and told me how they made it through those early days. They gave me advice, and Amazon links, and exchanged phone numbers with me. They prayed for me and reached out to me on days I needed it most.

On days I would feel lonely, I’d remember the words another mama had shared with me and I knew I could get through this day. Just hearing another mom say “oh I’ve been there” brought me so much relief that it was not just me. Seeing a MOPS meeting or event on the calendar gave me something to look forward to other than dirty diapers and tears. And slowly the loneliness began to fade.

If you’re reading this and haven’t found your tribe or a group of moms to encourage you then click this link and join us today. We’d love to be there for you! And make the commitment like I did, to put yourself first. You deserve it. And you need it! The days will still be hard, and many will be exhausting, but having a group of moms around you will make all the difference - one day at a time.

With love,

Krista Palm

Publicity leader

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