Since the MOPS theme this year is "A Beautiful Mess: Embracing Your Story," we will be featuring the stories of the Castro Valley MOPS community. Here is the story of one of our lovely mentor moms, Judy Poling.
Tell us about yourself and your family.
Wife of Rick Poling for 37 years. Mother to Ryan/Charissa Poling and Nathan/Aimee Poling. Grandmother to Caleb 9, Logan 7, Maile 5, Dylan 3 1/2, Landan 3 and Jacob 21 mos.
Tell us about your experience and involvement in MOPS.
I think this is my 7th year in MOPs as a Mentor Mom.
What is your favorite thing about MOPS?
Connecting with young women
What is the wisest mom advice you have ever received?
Will this really matter in 5 or 10 years?
What is your favorite Scripture verse/passage and why?
Philippians 4:20 - "I can do everything through him who gives me strength". When life gets hard (and it does) this verse helps me to have more of a 'can do' attitude in the midst of the tough stuff reminding me that it's not about me and my abilities, but Christ and Christ alone.
What were your thoughts when you found out you were pregnant with your first child?
Oh my - this isn't easy to admit - but I cried like a baby at the doctor's office. I had only been married 5 months, we just put a down payment on our first home & thought I was going in to see the doctor to have a DNC procedure. Of course after the shock wore off we were excited.
As a new mom, what kinds of things did you do to treat yourself, for fun and to stay relaxed?
I surrounded myself with other moms going through the same age and stage of motherhood. We didn't have MOPs, but my church family was a great support system. LOL- not sure I was ever a 'relaxed' mom, but on occassion I did try to take a 'one night a week' evening class to help keep my sanity.
What was your favorite thing about being a mom of preschoolers?
The hugs and kisses & seeing the world through their innocent eyes.
What is your favorite "mommy memory" when your children were preschoolers?
When one of my sons was 5, without my knowledge he emptied his piggy bank of all of his money and gave it to a little boy of a single mom at school so that his new friend could buy a new pair of shoes.
Share about your most memorable family vacation.
We have several - but one memorable camping vacation we had a mouse in our tent in the middle of the night AND our path crossed with a disturbed bee hive on a hike - we all got stung :(. Plus, the friends we were camping with accidentally set the wooden picnic table at their site on fire. And Yes, we still enjoy camping as a family!
How has motherhood changed you?
It's taught me how to give complete unconditional love. The kind of love that our Heavenly Father has for us. Not based on performance or expectations.
What has been your proudest parenting moment?
Watching our two sons interact with their children. They are both very loving daddies to their little ones.
What was your biggest challenge as a mother of preschoolers? Did you overcome it? How did you overcome it?
Having a 'strong willed child' had some very difficult moments.
Hmmmm overcome it - Well, thankfully we didn't kill each other - LOL.
It wasn't easy, and I don't think I always did the 'right thing', but I tried very hard to be consistent. I prayed alot, read some books like James Dobson's "The Strong Willed Child" and tried to apply biblical principles.
What was the one most important principle you wanted to teach your child(ren)?
To be a 'Christ follower', not just a 'church goer'.
What is your mom motto or favorite mom quote?
"What would Jesus do?" It's a life motto for me.
Any last words of wisdom to share?
Enjoy the moment - the years pass by quickly.