February in our MOPS (Mother of PreschoolerS) is always 'relationship' month. We eat fondue, and listen to a speaker talk to us about our relationships with our husbands. The first year we had a single, childless, therapist tell us to have a date night once a month, make your bedroom a romantic place, and make your husband a priority. I did not go back after that speaker. Not that it wasn't valid points, but being told what to do, especially by someone with no frame of reference is hard for me to handle. Last year we heard from a speaker the top 3 things men hate that we tend to do often. Again, good reminders but I am getting a little sick of always being told what to do to make my husband and/or kids happy. I love them, I spend my whole day making sure they have what they need, some days I just want the focus to be on me!
When planning our topics this year for MOPS, we decided to focus on us as women. Not just wives/mothers, but women, daughters, sisters, friends, professionals. When we got to February and the topic turned to relationships, I suggested we focus on our relationships with other women. My day to day life is so focused on the kids, running errands, arranging playdates or activities, that time with true friends is very limited. It isn't a priority. I can go a week and see many people, moms at preschool drop off, Whole Foods cashier, clerk at Target, librarian at Northgate, but none of these are my good friends. Some are not even my friends, the one clerk I see each week at the grocery store always subtly accuses me of stealing.
I was inspired by the idea of focusing on our friendships. In today's society with the amount of email, Facebook, blogs, texting that we have - you never really have to talk to someone. I find out things about my friends by checking Facebook. Oh, you had a playdate with her? I didn't know that. What, you are potty training? Interesting. Spent the day in your pajamas, how nice. It is very easy to stay "connected" with people's lives, but to not really be in a relationship. I was excited to hear from someone on how to grow true friendships that will be life-long companions during this crazy time of raising young kids.
Instead I heard the dreaded two words: speed-friending. Instead of a speaker we will host a speed-friending event and just talk to each other. We will have silly and serious questions to ask and will rotate every 5 minutes. Kill me, kill me now.
I went into today with a negative attitude (shocking!) and even the desire for a bit of a drink just to get through it. Imagine my surprise when I found this to be one of the best MOPS I have been to. Yes, I said it, I liked speed-friending. Really, I did. One mom who knew I was less then thrilled with the idea, asked me how it was going and I said, actually really good. I only used the questions for the first person and then after that talked about different topics with each woman. One person discussed the dilemmas with having 3 kids, with another we discussed challenges our oldest children are facing in school, and yet with another we talked about how to find interests outside being a mom.
At the end of MOPS everyone stayed, talked, cleaned up, laughed and corralled kids. It's been three years but I am going to say it. I like MOPS. I really do. And I even enjoyed speed-friending.
But please don't make me do it again!