I was cooking dinner, when she grabbed her kids and took shelter in a bathtub.

I was cleaning up the dishes when she struggled out from under debris to find her life turned to rubble.

I was watching on TV while she wandered with her children through debris and around news trucks-trying to figure out what to do, next.

I wonder if she grabbed her diaper bag?  Her purse? The “important papers?”

There wasn’t much time.

I wonder if she used that super calm voice that I use when I don’t want my kids to freak. I wonder if she said “It’s ok, we’ll be ok, Mommy is here.” The whole time wondering if they would be. That’s what I do, when we have to take cover.

I’ve never met her. But, I feel like I know her. Today, while I check my email and try to make my writing deadlines, she is struggling to pick up the pieces of her life. She’s wondering what will happen to their jobs. She’s wondering where they will live, and how long the kids will have nightmares. She was looking forward to school letting out and having some summer fun.  Now she feels lost. Alone. Afraid. She’s not sure if she can do this. Mothering was hard enough, before.

She’s my sister. Created by God for a purpose…part of which is to be a mom.That, makes us sisters. Sisters in motherhood.

I have to do something to help. She needs to know she’s not alone. I care. You care. We care.

>So-I contacted the Joplin MOPS group- (MOPS- Mothers of Preschoolers- a non-profit I’ve worked with for over 20 years.) and asked permission to set up an Amazon wishlist with things that can help. Things I’d want for my kids:

Dry socks, diapers, wipes, pull ups, juice boxes, pacifiers, blankies with silky edges, a book for normalcy and love…A stuffed animal for comfort when it rains again. Tarps to help salvage what can be salvaged. Mom’s Devotional Bibles cause I couldn’t get through something like that without knowing God DOES care… . even when everything is ripped away from you.

As I sat making the list, I felt overwhelmed…. moms like to be prepared. We need to have: EVERYTHING. (This is why our purses become diaper-bags and stay that size long after we’re done with diapers. Justsayin’) The need is huge. In comparison, I can’t do much. But, we can. Together. So, I’m asking this: if you are touched by the tragedy in Joplin, and want to help- click the link to the amazon wishlist- and order something, anything. Together- we can provide hundreds of diaper changes, snacks, bring down fevers (kids always get sick when it’s least convenient) wrap tiny shoulders in something warm, soft and clean and let Joplin know we care!

There are items of comfort and care at all prices and, if you are an Amazon Mom or a prime member- it can be shipped for free.

All items purchased from the list will be shipped direct to CHCC, and will be shared with anyone in need. (Not just MOPS moms… EVERY mom, parent and child matters, and needs to know they are not alone.) I am NOT an Amazon affiliate, nor do I benefit from this in any financial way shape or form… spiritually and emotionally?  Absolutely- I’d be thrilled if we can meet some of these needs! And I gotta believe God smiles when we reach out in love;)

For the record: This is not an “official” MOPS International project.  It’s just us moms (non-moms? Men? How about: others? ;) getting together and making a difference.. (Oh wait, isn’t that exactly what MOPS does? Well.. you know what I mean:) 

We can make a difference, today.  Let’s do it!

Dear Lord- I hate tragedy. I don’t even understand why you allow it. But- I do know this: you care. And you touch our hearts with care. For the mom,  the dad, the woman, the man, the child… who is right now picking up the pieces and carrying on. Please provide… send love… and use this tiny effort… like loaves and fishes.. to make a difference- I love you Lord- amen.

**If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to use my contact info in the sidebar.  I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

Also- the Joplin MOPS group has a facebook page here if you’d like to send them a little verbal love or see how they are helping each other!

Joplin tornado news

“Really? Is she an idiot?” Yup. That was my first response to hearing about this news story. Her  justification?  The child is in pageants….and wanted it… to win..(or not….)

I immediately tweeted my desire to slap this mother. I (probably) wouldn’t. But, I wanted to. And apparently, I’m not the only one.

All I could think is: “What is wrong with her?”  Yes, I remembered my “mothering without judging others” passion. I remembered my “every mom and child is unique and needs to mother/be mothered in a unique way” thing. But, aren’t some things just wrong? Like this . And this? I mean… I get that people market whatever will sell… but who is buying this stuff? And what is wrong with the people who are?

This isn’t a rhetorical question… I really want to know… What is the problem, here? We can’t solve problems until we identify them so let’s look at the possibilities.

My on the fly list (read: totally in-complete, non-scientific and un-researched.) of answers.

  • Moms living vicariously through their children?
  • Moms so insecure for their child to be accepted that they will go to any lengths to make sure they are?
  • A culture that involves women’s magazines that are 90% advertising and “self improvement?” That makes women feel the need to improve everything including our kids?
  • A culture that markets false beauty that doesn’t even exist in nature? (Let’s ignore my burgundy hair, here… I’m a hypocrite.. I know:P)
  • Kids that can’t be told “no.”  (Or, parents that can’t say it.)
  • A secret zombie attack that has eaten our brains and caused us to make lame- parenting decisions?
  • Or moms- mothering alone, or, in groups where they all agree with each other and no one confronts?  (a circle of yes, moms- instead of true friends who tell you when you’re getting crazy?)

I think the Zombie thing, while it may be more interesting, is way less likely than #7.

Here’s the thing: As much as I am infuriated by all of these things… I am one (ok. maybe 2) dumb decisions away from being “one of those moms.”  I am pretty good at justifying my own actions. I have ninja-like denial skills and find it easy to convince myself I’m doing this: all for my kids.

I know this is true because my kid played non-competitive soccer and I started turning crazy. Yeah. soccer mom crazy. You know… wanting to win more than my kid, did. That kind. I also thought I was being perfectly reasonable when my 7 (ish… I can’t actually remember- I am old, it happens.) year old was only allowed to ride his bike back and forth in front of our house. Yes, from our driveway to the next one. He had a one drive way rule.  I’m controlling like that. For the record:  I also had to be restrained in the parking lot when my oldest went to his first campout. I have issues. (It did get easier- I almost never follow them to college…)

Yup, I thought all those things were just fine…until a friend said: “Tracey, you’re being crazy.”  (And restrained me, when necessary.)

The truth is: I can’t do this on my own. I need other moms to help me. I need people with varying perspectives, other ideas and other priorities to help me evaluate stick to- and change mine. (when necessary.)  I need people to tell me:”Stop. Step away from the botox, honey- you’re getting a little.. freakish.”  I need your help to see the burgundy colored hair- hypocrisy on the back of my head. (I know-It may not occur in nature.. but I still like it. )

I can’t mother alone.

And..I’m guessing.. that mom with the botox baby?  She can’t either. Maybe, instead of pitching twitter bombs at her, I should pray that she find some courageous girlfriends like mine. (Since I’m pretty sure reaching out to her won’t go over so well after my whole “I want to slap her” thing on Twitter. See, how I blew that? I’m a jerk.)

How ’bout you? Do you do your part in your mom-friend relationships?  Do you let others speak the truth into your life? (Even if they have to speak it and run, then check back later when you’re no longer ready to kill them?) Or, do you surround yourself with “Yes” Moms who agree with you all the time?  Do you take the occasional risk of offending to tell a girlfriend she’s getting a little whacked?  So she doesn’t end up on the news, or, worse yet- on Springer?  I hope so.

The truth is- NONE of us can do this alone.

It’s not a fault- it’s a fact. And we were never meant to. 

We’re all just one dumb decision from bo-toxing (or over controlling, or being too permissive, or a thousand other parenting mistakes) our babies. We weren’t made to to this alone. We were made for community, where we can encourage challenge and learn from each other.

As for me?  One of the places I learned not to mother alone, is through MOPS.  It’s also one of the places I made the kind of friends that love me enough to keep me from the bo-tox.

If you’re reading this, and thinking.. “Hmm yeah.. that could be me” I hope you’ll click over- and find a group- because No mom should be alone! (And babies shouldn’t be bo-toxed- the end)

PS This piece is not a representation of MOPS International- just one moms comments on the crazy world we live in.

Dear Lord- It was so easy to get angry with the bo-tox mom- mostly because I  know- I face similar temptations in mothering. Forgive me for the twitter bombs.  I love you lord- hope that moms can find connections and loving relationships so that they don’t have to mother alone…. Bless MOPS Lord- and bless that bo-toxing momma— she loves her girl…I can see that… and she needs your help. In Jesus name- amen