November 24, 2014

On Moms' Groups and Glasses

Let's talk about moms' groups. Are you in one? Do you want to be? 

As a new mom I needed people who were right where I was. All of us almost drowning together, white-knuckeling all the parenting decisions we knew were the best. Laid back older moms - they scared me, mostly because I didn't know how to do what they did and I felt like my failures were so obvious standing next to them. Now I want those women in my life, mentoring me and helping me. But I also just crave the fellowship of women and I don't mind your baggage, wounds, or burdens. 

The only thing I need now is an understanding that no matter what we're actually doing there is a reachable goal that is living out the faith as the Church asks us to do. In other words, orthodoxy. And please note that I didn't say an "easy goal" but a "reachable" one. There's a big difference between those two and in that room is where we become saints. In that room is where I want to foster friendships.

A couple of months ago I was fortunate enough to spend the morning with the lovely ladies of Morning Star Ministry in Rockford, Illinois. 

Guys, they are doing such a great job. Women are invited to spend one morning a month relaxing at a mini retreat. There's lovely decorations, wonderful refreshments, morning Mass, a chance for confession, music and worship, a speaker, prayer, chatting, free babysitting for those who need it. They've thought of everything. (And this coming December 10th they're hosting it in the evening so working moms can come, too. See! They're thinking everything through!)

I'm part of two moms' groups. One is at my former parish and I don't know if I'll ever give it up. It's a mix of older moms and younger moms. We bring food (and keep a stash at the church hall), eat, chat, pray, discuss a podcast or book chapter, and our kids eat, pray, and play too. It's amazing.

The other one is still pretty new to me. Moms from my new parish, and all of them parish-school moms at that, gather once a week, watch a bit of Women of Grace, and chat while our kids play all over the hostess' house or our laps. I love it. Recently we've been watching episodes where they talk about "the daily duty" which makes us all smile and chuckle a little because: poop jokes.

I think about moms' groups a lot. What should they look like, what should they do? Exclusive? Kids? Books? Wine? Also, how do we make sure that orthodoxy is understood without distancing those who are struggling with it? And how do we take care to build up the leaders while they build up the rest?

And then, on the most personal level: How will I fit in? 

Take, for example, my new glasses. 

I've been wearing a super old, not the right prescription pair for a few months because the kids broke my last pair. I've been wanting a pair of big, thick framed glasses since I was in middle school and loved Buddy Holly, but it wasn't until hipsters made them cool again + five more years that I finally did it. 

The women in my new-parish moms' groups were the first to see me in them, besides Travis and the kids. Every time I had looked in the mirror I would tell myself, because I'm super lame and talk like it's still the '90's, "These are hipster glasses and you look like a poser."

The fear that I'm not good enough, the fear that those other moms will see me as totally lame, whatever, as if, the fear that fat Midwestern moms just shouldn't try for cute and hip made me worried to attend the next group. But instead, those other women smoothed my feathers, ruffled from worry, and spoke to my angsty heart. "Bonnie, you look so cute! I love your new glasses! They really suite you!"they said and I was so relieved.

It felt like they said, "I see you, Bonnie. I see what you're going for and I want you to know that you're there. I'm happy for you, friend." As silly as it may sound, that was when I felt like I finally did belong, like I was a part of them. From that point I have felt like I can go forward with them, becoming more who I am supposed to be while we all support one another in our vocations. 



PS - I got my glasses for free from Firmoo. I really do love them and had a really great experience ordering them. The website is easy to use and the customer service was great. All I had to do was get a copy of my prescription from my eye doctor and the rest was easy peasy.

If you want a free pair of glasses you can get some, too, Check out their First Pair Free program!



PPS - If you're new here, stick around! You can follow A Knotted Life on Bloglovin' or Feedly.
Plus, I'd love to connect with you. You can find me on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook. I hope to "meet" you soon!

30 comments:

  1. Great post, Bonnie. Hoping I can find a great Catholic Mom's Group here in NYC in the months to come. {And P.S. - your glasses are super cute!}

    ReplyDelete
  2. So excited that you posted this! I lost my glasses on a mission trip this summer and haven't had an option for days that I don't want to wear my contacts. New glasses for free = so happy!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I joined a mom's group (mops) at a local mega church. It's awesome. And I love it. Truly, it got me through some rough moments last year. so there's that. What's awesome for me is the 2 hours without the children (they have a baller daycare set up because they are a mega church) and a delicious breakfast. There's like 200 women, with a speaker, table discussion, mom's nights out and playdates (I don't participate in those). It's been a game changer

    ReplyDelete
  4. That sounds like an AWESOME mom's group! I love the idea of a monthly mini retreat with mass and confession. What a blessing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I need a mother's group! I am envious of yours in a completely non-sinful, just longingly wish I lived by you kind of way. I so need a group of mothers in town (and not just on blogs) that are at the same point as me. How swell!

    ReplyDelete
  6. So true!!! Before I went back to work, I belonged to a fantastic mom's group. And, even though I'm not at a place in which I can homeschool, I still belong to the homeschooling mother's group and receive their emails. The support of other women striving for Heaven is an immense blessing. As is reading my favorite blogs (like yours!). The online community is it's own support group to me and so many others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. P.S. You rock those glasses! I've been looking for a new pair, myself (my pair is currently held together with rubber bands!!!). Thank you for the tip (see???? Support!!!).

      Delete
  7. I joined MOPS soon after having my first baby, and it has been such a huge blessing to me, and I know to other moms as well. That said, I do wish there was something similar in my parish. Much of my Catholic mom interaction is through blog friends–which is awesome!–but it would be nice to have something local, too.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mary and Francine, you guys are so lucky. The only experience I've had with MOPS had some very strong anti Catholic undertones. I'm beginning to think I'm the only one who's had this experience. (Maybe it's a central Illinois thing? Or just that one church?) Anyways, I cringe every time I hear it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I so wish I could be in a moms group. Im a working mom and any moms group Ive come across always meets during the day, so I never can go. Love to hear that your group has an evening option for moms who work outside the home. Wish we had something like that, or a Saturday morning option around here!

    ReplyDelete
  10. We have a moms group, and I went once upon a time. Now, I stay home due to homeschooling. We homeschooling moms try to get together sometimes too. Not very often. On our own, I mean. But the moms group at our parish is nice! Speaker, food, babysitting. Once a month during the week.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am not nor have I been a part of a mom's group. Only recently, now that I feel like I am not drowning in babies and diapers, have I thought maybe I would like to be a part of some type of mom's group.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Mom's groups are the bomb! I am part of a weekly rosary group/play group and we meet at a neighborhood park. I am also part of two monthly book clubs with a group of close friends. We all need a community :) and I like hipster glasses. They look good on you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've been in quite a few different moms' groups, and usually I just felt uncomfortable in them. I tend to prefer hanging out with one other mom at a time instead of in big groups. Last year I was invited to join a mom's Bible study group, which is the first one in which I have truly felt that I fit. I love it!
    P.S. Your glasses are lovely :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm usually of the opinion that big glasses hide people's faces but on you they really bring out your pretty features :) And as for mom's groups I have found it to be such a blessing to have an environment that fosters the kind of conversations where you can say "oh, me too !" I don't know if there's anything more comforting to hear from another mom in light of whatever parenting decision/toddler behavior/household frustration is currently causing stress!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love this post and love that you had that experience! There is a moms group at our new parish that I'd love to be more a part of but timing has been tough. I have yet to join them but look forward to when I finally do! They seem like such a great group. I also have the women in our family bible study I'm close with as well as a women's night that is mixed with married, singles, and engaged, with kids, no kids. It's such a fun group that I also don't attend enough. So far bible study has been the most attended. Wish I could attend all the things! But, not really because then my little introverted heart will be beyond exhausted. lol

    ReplyDelete
  16. You really do look cute! You're definitely cool enough to pull them off. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I want to be in your mom group, lol. I have a group of great homeschooling moms that get together every Friday at someone's house. But there are very, very few Catholics down here, especially young families. I would so love to be around some Catholic moms.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I used to go to MOPs, a protestant moms group, that was amazing!! They watched my children, provided me with a break, fed me and encouraged my mothering journey in many ways. It was so so wonderful and just what I needed in the early part of becoming a mama. I was overwhelmed (whats new?) This is also the place where my reversion began. Since then, I haven't found anything like that in the Catholic circles. There is an undertone of judging and a huge look at how many kids do you have. (Yes, "I'm open to life", just in a hurting and wounded marriage and begging God for healing and restoration). I actually haven't met that many Catholic moms who are anything like what I saw and witnessed in the protestant moms groups. Its kind of lonely, but I just keep praying and pushing forward because...Jesus.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I usually join but only to find myself overwhelmed. However, I have found that study groups go really well with my personality since it cuts the small talk and goes for intellectual breadth I am looking for.

    PS I love the glasses!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am part of a Catholic MOPS group. I love it! MOPS saved my sanity. It is, however, open to everyone....so I'm not sure how you would be able to judge how people are living the church teachings.... But honestly, I love that it is for all moms and through it they are exposed to the Catholic faith.

    ReplyDelete
  21. My Parish has a moms group that meets on Mondays at like 10am. Sorry working moms, you don't get a group.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does your parish organize the Monday morning mom group or is is run by volunteers?

      Most mom groups I know of are run by stay at home moms and so they hold them at a time that works best for their schedules. I've also noticed that weekly meetings in the evenings don't work well for families. But it would be really nice if the weekday mom groups met once a month in the evening for the working moms.

      What would work for you, working moms? This is a good conversation to have!

      Delete
    2. In my experience Mother's groups will organize around the most vocals schedules. So if the ones most vocal for some type of mom's fellowship are SAHM's, then yes the meetings will most likely be in the day to give them a break. It's just the nature of things and we can't really hold it against them =)

      But it's not impossible to organize something that seeks to fit both. Our mother's group meets once a month for mom's in the evenings (after dinner time) and then has weekday playdates and weekend playgroups and family activities so that we're at least try to meet everyone's needs even though we can't make everyone happy all the time.

      It's really tricky for employed moms to find best times because we really don't want to cut down on our family/kid time anymore. So family activities where kids can play and adults can chat (about random things or specific topics) are ideal - we want interact with our church moms, but not at the expense of family.

      I think it's also important to remember that not all working moms work 9-5 a lot of us work evenings/weekends and may have weekdays off. So there are times where it's possible for more of us to get together during the day time.

      I'd actually love to see more mom's groups meet Sunday mornings for coffee while kids are at Sunday School (even if it was for moms and dads) or for potluck lunch after Mass.

      Delete
    3. Molly, this is a GREAT suggestion:
      I'd actually love to see more mom's groups meet Sunday mornings for coffee while kids are at Sunday School (even if it was for moms and dads) or for potluck lunch after Mass.

      Delete
    4. It's actually going to be one of my suggestions to my mom's group at our mid-year meeting in January to expand our reach! =)

      Delete
    5. It is run by SAHMs from the parish.

      I shouldn't complain because I haven't done anything about it. But, I am new to the faith and to the parish- so I was really excited to hear of the group getting formed, and then saw it would never work for me.

      I am too quiet and shy to make suggestions and be vocal about anything- especially because it seems that there is the clique of close SAHMs and being a working mom would make me feel out of the loop and uncomfortable- even if there is no valid reason to.

      Those are super great suggestions, though. I just wish meeting people and making strong connections was easier. I feel like it is especially hard for working moms because our schedules are much less flexible. And, I don't mean to say that SAHMs have it easier by any means, just more flexibility.

      Delete
    6. Believe me, I really understand how you feel about the clique. When I started my daughter at school last year every other mom knew one another because their kids had been in pre-k together or they had older siblings. I feel like just now - over a year later - that I'm really part of the group.

      Forming friendships as an adult is so much harder than it ever was as a student or young adult. It is true that we have more flexibility, but occasional Moms' Nights Out or something like that would have to help, right?

      I know you said you're shy, but surely you're not the only working mom looking for something. Maybe this is your chance to be brave for the Lord!

      Delete
  22. I have a bit of an inspiration story to tell about a Mother's Group I started about 17 years ago. I initially belonged to another MG and when the leader of the group stepped down, I was told I couldn't step into the leadership role, because I wasn't a high enough ranking within a particular movement in the church. I must admit I was hurt deeply and eventually decided to start a group of my own. I asked moms in my circle of friends, moms I met at hockey arenas, church, you name it. I started to collect email addresses of potential moms and kept sending them a variety of Catholic email's and invitations to the monthly meeting at my house. The group always meets at 8pm, I do attract many working moms. After each Mother's Group meeting, I was so elated, so full of grace, so edified, that I started writing letters to "my" mothers. My email distribution list grew. One day, after visiting my sister's parish, I providentially bumbed into a priest who runs our national Catholic TV station in Canada, I complained to him that their was nothing for mothers. He suggested I submit a proposal for a TV show, after much self doubt, and a good dose of encouragement from a friend who is a Catholic mom, I did some research, subitted it and guess what? After much negotiation on format and topics, I worked with the TV station and it was produced. Many MG use the series to start MG's here in Canada. Another thing happened: my mom's encouraged me in my writing, nurturing me and told me I needed to submit my writing to a Catholic newspaper. Guess what? I am a guest columnist. Guess what? The collection of letters I wrote to my mothers group got PUBLISHED. Last but not least after 12 years of hosting MG, my mother's group thought we should have some type of outreach program for other mothers who would not come out monthly. Guess what? We are in our 6th year of hosting the Dynamic Women of Faith conference. Our website is in the middle of being redeveloped. The thing is, mothers praying together is POWERFUL. If you do not have a MG in your neighborhood, START ONE! Mothers are waiting for someone like you to take the lead. The fruits will be phenomenal if you start each session with the rosary! Here is the link to the first episode, watch it and let me know what you think! http://saltandlighttv.org/mothering/

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great post! I'm a new reader - found you after the podcast on The Inspired Life - what an amazing story!
    2 things -
    1 - I love moms groups! I started one with some friends a few years ago and now have helped start one at our parish and it's amazing to see all the moms coming out of the woodwork in the pews to find support and fellowship.
    2 - I love your glasses! I've been toying with getting some like that but also felt very shy and like - maybe I'm too 'old' for those types of glasses. But now you've inspired me so I'm gonna take the plunge.

    ReplyDelete