By Jennifer Hopwood
I work outside of the home four days a week. Unfortunately, my career choice isn’t the type where I can stop working to raise kids and come back to it…and for the most part, I love what I do. Fortunately, I can come and go as I please, with no set number of vacation/sick time, and have a supportive business partner who has raised three kids. He has always told me not to miss things with my children because of work.
Having had two kids, two back surgeries and about a thousand doctor’s appointments over the last 6 years, I would have had to quit or been fired a long time ago without a lot of flexibility. Everyone at work is keenly aware that my priority is my children. I have had to cancel meetings, juggle things, and ask for favors when I get a call that a kid is puking so I can run home to snuggle with them.
Some people judge me working outside of the home when I don’t necessarily have to. However, it is what works for our family and for me at this point in my life. Let’s face it, being a full-time mom is the hardest job out there, so going to work actually seems easy a lot of the time.
I struggle internally all the time with the choices I am making for myself and my family and there just doesn’t seem to be one clear answer for me, so for now I keep chugging along!
I joined MOPS when my second baby was born as something to do “for me”. I wanted to be around other moms who knew what it was like to have young children and how hard it is. I hear at least twice a day from older clients what a wonderful age my kids are at and how they miss it so much, however I am quite certain they have parental dementia! I smile and nod, but in my head I am thinking “Are you nuts?!?!?!”
I showed up at MOPS mid-semester not knowing a single person and was welcomed with open arms. I am actually a little shy when I’m in an unfamiliar environment. I need MOPS because I don’t feel like I am judged for being a working mom. I need MOPS because I don’t have to try to be perfect when I’m with my MOPS friends. I don’t feel looked down upon when I talk to my MOPS friends about my six year old and the difficult decisions we’ve had to make with him—and just HOW HARD it is to raise a child who has problems with controlling his impulses (ADHD stuff) and has been a challenge since day one.
He is where my “vision” of what having children was like went straight out the window! I actually feel more judged by my own mother than I do by my MOPS friends when it comes to parenting my children. My MOPS friends were there for me when I had an emergency back surgery last year—praying, bringing me meals, offering to help, etc.
The friendships, support, laughter, and spiritual growth I have had since joining MOPS has been nothing short of amazing. I am so thankful to all of you and feel like being a part of MOPS has made me a better mom,wife, and friend, all while strengthening my faith and love for Him.
St. Luke Lutheran Church has two MOPS groups available. One meets at St. Luke on Washtenaw and the other meets in Whitmore Lake at the Fine Arts Academy. MOPS is for those moms who have children infant-kindergarten! Find out more!