More than 20 years ago, I left my job as a Hollywood producer to raise my infant daughter. Those first months were such a struggle because I had no family near and no idea what I was doing. I had never made friendships in my community because my work gave me little free time. A local pastor strolling by my home suggested I join MOPS. (Had he seen my messy home and was hinting I needed to clean?). I hesitated, but he persisted, and soon I found myself sitting with eight women furiously jotting notes to prepare to become better a mother and wife.
Michele sat next to me at that first MOPS meeting, and we immediately bonded over our spitfire little girls that we didn’t know how to contain. Together, we worried that our quick tempers made us terrible mothers and clung to those MOPS mornings for those incredible egg and potato casseroles, desperate for someone who understood our loneliness and exhaustion. We started meeting at parks for play dates, sharing recipes, potlucking and introducing our husbands to the women we now called our lifelines.
MOPS ended when our girls headed to kindergarten, but Michele and I stuck it out. We started a book club for our girls, shouted (and sheepishly smiled) at each other on opposing sides of a soccer field, and eventually sent them both off to southern universities where we commiserated at the rigor of getting into a sorority. We joined a group of moms working through our empty nest and sent group care packages to those little MOPS kids who were now off on their own in college.
Today, Michele and I are the best of friends. Although we no longer have little ones at home, we can’t wait for our weeks in MOPS as we serve as MOPS mentors now. We both laugh at the preposterous notion that we could mentor anyone through this tough and extraordinarily wonderful process of motherhood. Together, we are still making lots of mistakes as moms. But that’s the best part about MOPS; we can make mistakes and know we’ve got friends who get us, who encourage us, and who lift us up. Michele and I have become experts at using that incredible MOPS networking power.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been supporting each other for three decades. It all started at that round table of strangers struggling with our babies. Now, we are MOPS moms for life.
Anne Sinek is a college advisor and MOPS mentor mom. Her daughter, Brooke, is a senior at SMU and her son, Alec, plays basketball for Claremont McKenna College. Anne was a former children’s television producer for NBC. While at Harvard, Anne met her husband, Jeff, who played basketball for the Crimson and is now a law partner in Los Angeles.
Michele Lombardo has been happily married for 28 years to John, her high school sweetheart, they have a son, Ryan (24), and a daughter, Jordan (22). She loves doing pilates and Orange Theory workouts, spending time with family and friends, discovering unique coffee houses, and watching college football-ROLL TIDE!