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There are teachable moments every day, but motherhood is one thing where you are constantly amazed at the things you learn. I’ve had the pleasure (umm…well, it hasn’t always been pleasant, but you know what I mean) of being a mom for over 9 years now, and I would like to impart some of my “wisdom” on you.

  • There will always be the mom who is more patient, craftier, more fun, more creative, blah, blah, blah, and I don’t want to live up to those standards. I think Pinterest is the devil because it gives unrealistic expectations of what a mom should be able to accomplish. Sitting here now I have no desire to make cupcakes that look like dolphins jumping out of crystal blue water, but you know what, if I see the number of people who are pinning stuff like that or sharing it on Facebook, I begin to feel inadequate and think to myself, “Maybe I should be making stuff like that for the kids.” or “Maybe my kids would think I was a better mom if I did more things like that.” That’s where I have to tell myself to stop, take a deep breath, and close the computer. If you’re a Pinterest mom, that’s great, and I’m happy for you. If you’re more like me, that’s great, too. The lesson here is motherhood is hard enough as it is, but throw in the expectation that moms can do all of those great extra things too is just unfair. It helps that I read the blog of an absolutely real mom who gives me a dose of reality when I feel like I’m failing. Her name is Rachel Martin, and she is my hero. Read her blog at http://findingjoy.net/.
  • Owning anything white is utterly ridiculous, especially outerwear and furniture. Although I’m pale and probably the same color, I have always wanted a winter white coat. I just think they are so pretty. However, I will never purchase one because even as my kids get older, they tend to still get things all over me. A little marker smudge here, a bit of dinner there, and before you know it, I’m a mess. And do I even need to get started on when they are babies and are constantly spitting up everywhere?! Better to just leave the white to people without kids.
  • The way you choose to feed your baby is your choice. People will have all kinds of opinions on how a baby should be fed, but the only one that really matters is yours. I chose to breastfeed my kids, but I’m surely not going to knock the lady who used formula. Lex was almost 11 months, Annie was around 10 months, and the Cole and Cael were 9 months when I stopped, and that was the best choice for us. Breastmilk or formula – the important things is the baby is growing and healthy and fed.
  • There will always be pee somewhere on my toilet. Ahh, the joys of boys (and messy girls)! It doesn’t matter if I just cleaned it; within five minutes, it’s already been sprayed, like they’re marking their territory. Lysol wipes are my best friend. And this is followed up with the next item.
  • No matter how many bathrooms there are in the house, the kids will whine and complain when someone else is using “their” bathroom. I could see my kids complaining when we lived in the duplex with one bathroom, but we are fortunate enough to have four, count them, four bathrooms in my new house. However, I will have someone standing outside the door of the upstairs hallway bathroom whining that so-and-so is taking too long and he/she really has to go. Child, if you had to go that badly, you could walk the extra 10 feet and use my bathroom instead of causing a scene.
  • Someone will usually think dinner is “disgusting.” This is the term commonly used by my Annie to describe my dinners, which the rest of the kids and I think are pretty good. There is no pleasing everyone. However, give her a few minutes, and she usually eats everything, proving yet again that kids just like to drive you crazy.
  • Buying new furniture is a ludicrous idea. I’d like to say that my children are old enough to be in the new furniture stage, but alas, it’s untrue. I still have to yell at my 9-year-old that walking on the couch is inappropriate and constantly remind my 7-year-old that flips are not what the chair is used for. The boys haven’t even come to the realization that butts are the only things that belongs on a couch or chair. Maybe new furniture is in the cards, like when they go to college.
  • A strict bedtime schedule is a necessity. With being a working mom, I didn’t have the luxury of being at home much with the kids. Sure, I had maternity leave, but after that, they went to child care. Because we had to be up and out of the house early, I kept to a very strict bedtime schedule. I still keep one to this day. Dealing with four kids and getting them out of the house on time is hard enough. Throw in crabby and tired and forget it! Plus I need that downtime once they’re in bed to work, clean the house, pack lunches, do laundry, write blog posts…
  • Just because I had kids didn’t mean it was an excuse to let myself go. I’m not just talking baby weight here. I don’t know too many women who have escaped pregnancy unscathed by at least a few extra pounds or a redistribution of weight on their body. I mean motherhood is not an excuse to stop doing things that you did before to make yourself feel good, whether it’s wearing makeup, getting a great haircut and color, putting on a cute dress and heels, or signing up for that exercise class. I think it’s important to do things that make us feel non-mommish (that’s not really a word but roll with it). With all the time we moms put into our families, we shouldn’t overlook ourselves.

What lessons have you learned as a mom (or dad)?

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3 responses »

  1. I read this post today and gave it a lot of thought and wondered “just what have I learned over the years” as a mom. This is my list.

    1) Just when you thought you couldn’t love a child as much as your first, you learn that a mother’s heart can grow with love for more children. Each and everyone you are fortunate enough to have.

    2) When your children are small, you never seem to be able to “get out” of the house. When they are older, you “never seem to be able to be home” enough.

    3) When you have a large family you need two essential things: a very large calendar and multiple colors of highlighters (one for each child’s activities, one for important family events and one for things you want to do as an individual). Seems like there are never enough colors in a pack for the “you” things on a calendar. Sorry but I never had an i phone or tablet to incorporate all the important things in one place other than the calendar in my kitchen.

    4) Children are trial and error – they don’t come with instruction manuals. You do your best each and everyday and hope you do what is best. The first child is baptism by fire (sorry Steph). You become more confident with subsequent ones and when you get to the last, to quote my sister-in-law, Teresa, you are like an old horse that keeps plugging along. Not near as much bothers you – it’s ok if there is mud in the house, laundry piled high, dishes in the sink, etc. As long as everyone is where they are supposed to be, fed and reasonably clean!

    5) In the early years of our marriage (and we had our first child a month before our 1st anniversary), I would stress about keeping things clean and in order. Steve’s comment was, “if you wanted “house beautiful”, why in the hell did we have kids!”

    6) “Sing” – sing to learn, sing to entertain, sing to get little ones to sleep….sing for your sanity. Needless to say, everyone had their favorite songs and even though I don’t have much of a voice, those songs carried me though my early days as a mom.

    7) We all have a degree of regrets or insecurities….put them to bed at night so you can move on to the next day with a renewed sense of purpose. Do the best you can – and worry less about what other people do or think. We all have something that makes us special and unique – we may not always realize that but believe it.

    8) It doesn’t matter if your children are 3 or 30, going to the playground alone or going across county – you still worry, you still love them and still would do anything to protect them.

    9) If you are as fortunate as I have been, you get the chance to do better on the second go round with your grandchildren. You have more patience, experience and worry less about the small stuff. But most of all you get to experience the small wonders all over again and hug those beautiful children of your children and hope they know just how incredibly special they are and how much you love them.

    10) There is no other person I would rather be …than your mom.

  2. i just found this – and I really wanted to tell you thank you. Your post is beautiful as is your hearts. And, well, I’m Rachel from Finding Joy and what you wrote about me blesses me greatly.

    With gratitude and joy.

    Rachel

    • Oh my goodness! Thank you, Rachel, for the comment and kind words! To me, you are super mom and a celebrity wrapped into one, and I look up to you so much. To have you comment on my blog was awesome. Thanks for making my day. Best wishes from my family to your!

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