This past month I flew to Kansas City to attend MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) MOMcon.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking, or at least picturing….something like this….
Frumpy Mom- who has gone un-showered, forgotten that she is a woman and is still wearing her clothes from high school because, well, her kids wipe their ranch dressing covered fingers on her sleeves and there is spit up on her shoulders from carrying the baby around. Why buy new clothes when that Alanis Morrisette t-shirt from 1997 still fits?
or you picture this…..
Perfectly coiffed moms who look like they bounced back postpartum like 2 hours after giving birth… like the ones from the movie “what to expect when you’re expecting.” They never seem to have a dirty dish in the sink, always have perfect makeup and would rather die than to let you know they’re having a rough day with the kiddos. Also, when you ask how they’re doing they respond with a cheerful, content smile and sigh…”so blessed.”
I’ll be honest- I was a little afraid. Afraid that I’d fit into one of these bad mom stereotypes, afraid I wouldn’t fit in. Afraid other moms would judge me for my parenting choices, what I wore or the weird jokes I am always cracking. In reality I met moms who were sharp leaders, stylish, fun, faith-filled, smart women who want to love their kids and families well and influence the world. I saw moms who are international speakers exhorting other moms to fearlessly follow Jesus (hello Jen Hatmaker and Beth Moore!), moms with months old babies leading and learning in seminars about how to grow their relationship with Jesus or reach more moms through their MOPS group. Moms who are awesome writers (Shauna Niequist and Alexandra Kuykendall) helping moms learn how to reflect on their lives to tell their stories. I saw moms engage with representatives from World Vision and pick up packets for the Strong Women Strong World campaign on how to support moms in Sierra Leone so that their families and kids could have their basic needs met. I saw 3,200 moms dressed in crazy 1970’s costumes at the mom prom belting out “I Will Survive” at the top of their lungs because, yeah, we all know there are rough days you just need to survive until bed time. And I had a laugh-until-your-sides-hurt, eat food without ranch or ketchup, sleep in a room without legos on the floor awesome time with friends from my MOPS group in Cleveland, OH.
I have described to other people in the most nerdy way- going to MOMcon felt like I was a hobbit stumbling into Rivendell thinking to myself, “a place like this actually exists? Where have all these amazing women been? They love fiercely, bravely, tenderly and without apology for who they are! It’s not like I don’t see amazing women at my church Velocity or with InterVarsity– the organization I work for. But there was something just so empowering being with over 3,000 moms who were trying to lead well in every facet of their lives- with a baby on our hip, a swipe of gloss on our lips and an expectancy that God uses us to change the world.
Being at MOMcon made my little head spin with ideas, inspiration and a renewed gratitude for being a woman leader. It made me grateful for my own MOPS group and the men and women who have been advocates for me. One of my takeaways from MOMcon was to hear other stories of moms, leaders and women.
So here is your invitation you to share your stories through a series of guest posts!
This is the first time I’ve done something like this. And I am CURIOUS! The topic for the guest blog posts is: When have you felt empowered as a woman? If you’re a dude reader- when was a time you were an advocate for a women? Creating an opportunity for them, providing connections or being a support for something they were trying to accomplish? If you’re interested send me a private message or leave a comment- I’m looking for 5 people to do posts about 500ish words long, due by November 15th. I’ll post one guest blog a week from November 18th- December 16th. If you’re a student, mom, dad, person in the workplace, deep-sea diver or amazon princess (the real amazon or online amazon)- I’d love to hear your story and have you share it with others!