May 18, 2012

Dang! Look At All That Sweat.

Today I'm feeling very full. Either I have a lot of things to be thankful for in my life, or I just had a really big lunch.

Truth? Both.

So yeah, full. As the school year draws to a close - could Ricky BE  more excited there are only two weeks left? - I feel like taking the opportunity to reflect on how much our lives have changed in a year. This time last year I was counting down the days that I would no longer be teaching and I would officially be a bonafide, full-time stay-at-home mom. This had nothing to do with not liking my job. In fact, I loved teaching and the people I worked with. It takes a certain sense of humor and personality, if you will, to teach special education, so between ARD meetings and behavior plans I often found myself laughing hysterically with the women that I worked with. I absolutely miss that; no doubt about it.

But for me, I know I will find that again one day when I return to the world of teaching. When  I decided to stay home, Mother Ethel gave me the following insight: "There will always be special children to teach when you are ready to go back; there will not always be tiny children at home to take care of." Hmm.

Be that as it may, I was nervous about making the leap for two reasons. The first one is obvious - who can possibly afford to live on one salary? The second reason was somewhat selfish - will I be lonely?

Something stay-at-home moms don't talk about very often is the fact that staying home with your children all day every day can sometimes feel lonely and even isolating. Now this is not a woe-is-me post, but the truth of the matter is that there is a lot of down time between play dates, birthday parties, and all of the standard first moments - you know, eating solids, walking, talking...

(On a side note: I couldn't wait for Little Ricky to start walking! My grandmother - yes, she is Grand Ethel - told me early on that as soon as he starts to walk just push him down. WHAT?! Of course I want him to walk! It's so exciting! I was wrong, folks. Tiny walking people throw you into a whole new ballgame. And as soon as the Bulldog starts walking - or even acting like she wants to - I have every intention of pushing her down. Truth.)

You may be thinking to yourself, Hey Lucy! Maybe you should spend some of your down time organizing your closets or working on baby books instead of blogging.

Oh yeah? Eat my shorts.

In an effort to combat the potential loneliness of staying home, I decided last summer to join a moms' group. I didn't actually know anybody in a moms' group, but who needs to know somebody when you're really great at walking into an unfamiliar situation meeting people on your own? Oh wait, I'm not. Boooo.

So my boyfriend Google led me to the national MOPS website. MOPS is not a group for people who love to mop, which is actually great because I hate to mop. MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. Initially I was a little confused because at that time Little Ricky was not attending prechool, per se, but technically he was pre-school because he didn't go to school yet... right?

Turns out the only requirement is that your kid(s) are ages 0-kindergarten. Perfect! Little Ricky fell into that range, and once the Bulldog was born she would be zero.

By the way, I think from this point forward if anyone asks how old she is I'm going to say she's zero. Forget the months or weeks crap. She's not one, so she must be zero.

MOPS promised me a delicious brunch and a few hours of childcare for Little Ricky. I. Am. In.

I walked into the first meeting and didn't know a soul. I was nervous. I was intimidated. I was sweaty.

Can you blame me? It was HOT! And there I was, hugely pregnant, with women I didn't know and I kept thinking to myself: Why am I here? No one wants to be friends with the pregnant sweaty woman who may or may not have pushed down her firstborn child in the parking lot so he would STOP walking!

(Kidding. I didn't push him down that day.)

But here's the funny thing. They did want to be my friend! Even though many of the women in the group obviously knew each other - some have been in the group for years - they were so nice and welcoming! I literally have had the same three friends for basically my entire life, so when I say I'm not very good at making new ones I'm being serious. Yet, somehow I have managed over the course of this year to make friends with many of these fabulous moms.

So after attending MOPS  meetings twice a month since September, the opportunity to join the leadership team presented itself and I decided to apply for a position. Ladies and Gentlemen, you find me here today as the Publicity Chairman (Chairwomen? Leader? Master? Queen?) of our group.

Which brings me to this morning. Our first official leadership team meeting. This is why I feel full today. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I am so excited to be apart of a group of women whose main purpose is to help other women be great mothers! I feel very blessed to be apart of something so wonderful. It's amazing what can happen in your life when you're willing to take a risk and put yourself out there.

I honestly didn't know how things would go when I joined MOPS, but I can honestly say it has been one of the best decisions I have made in the past year. I am thrilled to see what this next year has to offer. And when our first meeting rolls around this fall, I hope there's a sweaty, pregnant newbie that needs a friend. Because I now know that being awkward and sweaty does not mean you can't make friends.

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