If you've been here awhile you know that I'm a mom of 7. The oldest is 20 and our youngest is 18 mo. I have wanted to be a mom pretty much always. I was the little girl who played with dolls and Barbies and created "families". I even remember making my Barbie be pregnant and have a baby, lol. Man I was a strange kid. It's fine.
I had a conversation with my own mom about the time I was 12 or 13. I remember talking to her about what pregnancy and even childbirth was like and told her I wanted to experience it all. She answered me, the way most of you are probably thinking, "you are crazy!" Let's just say I didn't get my love of pregnancy or having many children from my momma. She hated every minute of her pregnancies. Most likely because they were difficult for her.
I really love being a mom but man motherhood is hard! From start to well, present, because you don't ever really stop being a mom. I'll forever worry about my babies and wish them happiness. Life just doesn't always guarantee them an easy ride so hopefully I'll be a place for them to come and land when it gets rough.
There was a time where I questioned every move I made as a mom and every tear or fit my kid had. What if people were judging them or me. Truthfully, I still hate others judging my kids....because duh, they are like the coolest best kids in the world. Now that I've gone through certain stages over and over I am more aware that certain things are so totally normal! Does your kid eat his boogers? Totally fine, mine actually told me,"they aren't yucky mommy. They are yummy." I won't tell you which kid though to preserve their self respect. lol. Do they wipe poop off their finger right next to the toilet paper roll, or boogers on the wall? Also totally fine. I mean it's not fine, but it's not really abnormal either. Kids are so gross sometimes. Do they use potty words, say they hate you or call you a bad mom? Yep, been there. (Also completely appropriate and also appropriate to correct the behavior...what's normal at 2-3 might just be frowned upon when they are 8. Ya feel me?) It doesn't make you a bad mom!
Older kids need different things from us than those sweet toddlers! It does start feeling like more of an uphill hike the older they get. Luckily they bring us those awesome, sweet moments that make it all worthwhile. Now, we start trying to figure out exactly what the heck works for each of the different personalities we are given. Why can't we just parent them in the same way and have them all respond the same way? I've mostly learned that trial and error works the best. Sometimes you'll just get extra blessed with a kid who isn't responding to anything and fighting everything! (look for lessons I learned in parenting a difficult child in the next blog post coming next week, which might not be much because I feel like I'm rollerskating backward most days.) I like to tell myself, once I stop crying in a fit of defeat, that dealing with said child is teaching ME!! I can learn lessons and work on myself as I try and figure out how to raise this kid up right. Even if they fight me the whole dang way screaming. No, seriously pray for me....it's gonna be a death match it seems.
Once you've made it through one small, hard fought, foot at a time, you've finally reached the teenage years. Where all you've taught them goes to the far back of their brain in a locked box they rarely access anymore. I swear!! It's the worst and the best to have teens. They fight you on most, can be so crabby and moody, but they can be silly, and fun and like little best friends if you can find your way in. My biggest advice for the teens? Well first off I hope you've found something that works for them by now as their "currency". (Thanks Dr. Phil, He literally helped me raise the first two!) If you have it might not be smooth sailing but if you can carry on a conversation then you have teachable moments. We welcome respectful negotiation and try not to do disrespectful dialogue....although let's be real, we all get in yelling matches once in awhile that leave me wondering how I slipped from mother to more of an older sibling role as we are yelling back and forth about not "taking my things" without asking, ha, ha. I still feel fully under prepared to parent most days. Most importantly? Be available to them. No, I don't mean allow them to walk all over you when they need to be taken here, there or everywhere. I mean to be open to the times they come looking to talk to you. Use what might seem like weird moments to throw in a lesson. For me its usually when we are just sitting together on the couch randomly...they think I'm weird sometimes, but it's cool. There is a strange phenomenon that seems to make my teen want to talk the most right as I'm turning out lights to get to bed, haha. I thought I'd sleep more when my kids got older, ha! Now we sit waiting for kids with curfew way past my actual bed time and then talk the night away, but if they talk? I listen!!
Finally, its really all about love. God loves me. He loves them. He gave them to me to raise for Him. Yep, it's hard. I feel way under prepared and under payed. I also feel extremely blessed. There are days I feel like a failure and go to bed crying and praying. There are days where it all falls into place. Most often, the kids are fighting, yelling and whining about 85% of my parenting life until it feels like my soul is being sucked away, lol, but I wake up and try again and you know what? Something happens the other 15% of the time where I feel all the mom tingles and remember why it's all worth it! Those kisses, hugs and "you're the best", watching them reach for their goals and performing their passions. Those are the moments that make everything work. It's why we do it. Those golden moments where they are helping and serving each other and you realized that really this whole mother thing is more to teach you than for you to teach them! That learning who God intends for me to be all the while being their mom is truly the greatest blessing I've been given!!
Motherhood, whether you've birthed, adopted, or are an auntie/friend to another's children is the hardest, greatest most important job in the world. When we are throwing ourselves fully in it's truly the most sacred work. It does take a village...just a really non-judgmental one, mmmkay?
Also, when us more, ahem, "seasoned" (old) mommas look like we have the young ones figured out? It's really because we've just learned not to sweat the small stuff so much. I remember a time a family friend, who was older than me joked with me that I was letting a certain kid get all messy. She said, "when Kinzie (my oldest) was little you'd wipe her clean before the dirt had time to settle. I think that says how much I've relaxed by this point, lol. My kids definitely like getting dirty! Maybe it was having boys that changed me? Who knows. They find ways to get dirty doing absolutely nothing more than sitting in a chair. We seasoned mommas have to save our guns for the big fights. I'm also typing this as my small chaos creator is trying push all the keys for me and is driving me flippin' nuts...but dang she's cute!!
Remember, we got this! You got this! We are all doing awesome so long as we are still trying. We only fail if we give up