Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Thoughts On Motherhood...

After seventeen years, four children and a dog...here are some of my thoughts on motherhood...these are just that...my own thoughts based on my own experiences living my dream of being a wife and mother.

The way you parent your youngest may be vastly different from the way you parented your first. And that's alright. You are not the same person that brought a tiny, sweet smelling bundle into your home for the very first time. Overreacting to a dropped pacifier? Nope. Calling the doctor the minute a temperature reaches 98.7? Not anymore. Panicking when your four year old decides to eat her dinner under the table when your parish priest is over for dinner? Please. Who even noticed? In other words, if you are more relaxed with the later ones, good for you. You earned it, right?

Compare yourself...to no one. It is easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself and your littles to that family that sits ahead of you in church...the one where every single child sits perfectly still and doesn't play tap dance on the kneeler during the homily. Or to the mom in the pick up line at school who wears a size 2 jean and has a purse to match her shoes and gets out to talk to her friends about the next homeroom party. Don't compare yourself or your family to anyone. No one else alive has the exact same family and the exact same circumstances and interests and values that you do.

A clean house is relative. What is clean to you now with four children and a dog may be vastly different than what was clean to you years ago when you had one little baby that took two daily naps and you had time to not only write out, but also follow a weekly cleaning schedule that involved a bucket, rags, and your hands and knees. Now, if you have time to push a Swiffer around while you are helping a child write a poem about turtles...good for you. And a little dust never hurt anyone, right?

Take your toddler to the grocery store. Talk to her when you push her around the store. Let her pick out the produce and maybe even a balloon. The day will come when she won't fit into the cart anymore, and you will be putting your purse there instead. And you will miss shopping with a little one. You will.

Have a schedule. One that works for you. Stick to it. One thing I have learned as both a teacher and a parent is that children crave structure. They flourish in it. They long for the comfort of knowing what comes next. For some, this is a rigid schedule with life centered around daily naps. And if it is, don't apologize for it. For others, a schedule may be a bit less rigid. Whatever works for you, stick to it.

Parent as a team. You and your hubby are together in this. A parent of teens will tell you, some children are like cute little mice. They can sniff out the smallest crack and try to squeeze between it. Don't allow your children to play one of you against the other. Talk in private and be together in all your decisions. After all, sometimes you need the strength of two.

Allow your children to see you and your hubby in good and in bad. Let them see you laugh together, and share a hug or a quick kiss.You are the model for them as parents. Your children will one day be the parents to your grandchildren. At the same time, let them see you disagree. It is important for your children to see that sometimes, even people that love each other very much can disagree. And show them how to resolve it correctly. If you don't, they will learn someplace else.

And lastly, one thing I know for certain...birthday parties and holidays existed before Pinterest. How do I know this? I had birthday parties without fruit cut into animal shapes and without juice boxes covered in paper and glue and glitter that resemble animals. My children never missed the over the top creations that society seems to be demanding we shower upon them. A party is a party with balloons, presents and a cake...and most importantly, loved ones there to celebrate. Your child will not miss it if you don't stay up all night gluing ears onto Hershey Kisses to make little mice, I promise.

I am no expert. I hold no special degrees. I am a mother. I am blessed to have four precious souls entrusted to me. I am determined to create the best childhood I can for them, so they can go out into the world as healthy, confident, caring, sensitive adults. After all, is there anything more important to a mother than that?






































21 comments:

  1. Very well written and such beautiful thoughts. Sometimes it can be so hard not to compare myself to others, but then I remember we are still new to marriage, new to being parents, and my husband is still in school. Children can still be very happy without all the other fluff in life.

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  2. Such a wonderful post. I too believe that kids no matter what their age is crave and need structure. It is so interesting to see how you change as a parent and wife with each child. I wish I could have a talk with that mom who brought Isabella home from the hospital 14 years ago.

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  3. Loved every bit of this post! Especially the part about not comparing yourself and your family to anyone else. I have a hard time with this one but I know I'm not doing myself or my family any favors when I make comparisons.

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  4. Very well written! I am blessed with only one child..I also agree with everything you said. Thanks for the smiles..Blessings

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  5. Oh Billie Jo - such a beautiful heart-felt post and every word so true. I have changed as a mother over the last 32 years - but one thing hasn't changed - I love all of my children always and forever, no matter what, and that will never change! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on motherhood.

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  6. Those people sit by you in church too? Man! They get around!

    hahah!! I totally loved this post. We women do that, compare thing. I hate it. We are too old and good for that.

    Amen Billie Jo, Amen!!

    Love your thoughts on Pinterest too. SO true.

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  7. This totally made me cry. I don't know why I'm so emotional today. You know what this was, though…permission. Permission to parent the way that best fits my family. Permission to be different than my neighbors and my bloggy friends. And most of all permission to be less than perfect. Thank you for your sweet reflections and your enormous wealth of mothering wisdom. I needed this today. <3

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  8. Such a sweet post. I believe everything you said about mothering and it was a gift from God to love and teach my 3 down through the years. Now they are all parents and are doing a good job of it.

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  9. This is beautiful, Billie Jo! Thank you for sharing your heart. I love the first line in paragraph 3! Actually, I love all of this...especially The first line in paragraph 3! You are such a wonderful person! I am glad to call you a friend!

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  10. Your post made me smile. Thank you for reminding me of the joys of motherhood. Sometimes the path is difficult but I know that God is faithful.

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  11. Excellent advice! So sad that it takes us a decade or more to come to these realizations though, isn't it? I think like any stage of life, the school of hard knocks is the best teacher. But, it is good to see these life lessons all laid out. Nicely done!

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    1. I agree, Heather and Billie Jo. I wish I knew then, what I know now!! And if I may add, compassion. With wisdom comes compassion. Compassion for all other mothers and their struggles. Let us continue to help one another get to Heaven!

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  12. PS - Billie Jo, I think this has been, hands down, your best post ever. Quite lovely!

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    1. Totally agree! Lots of good food for thought here!

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  13. Beautiful post and the most important investment you will ever make! Your children are beautiful and you are truly wise beyond your years. Experience has been a great teacher. My children are my world and some years were so tough that they barely got a cake much less a party, but we had love beyond measure! When my grandson turned one my daughter in law was out of sorts that everything be just the right theme and the décor perfect. He's two now and she pregnant with her second and she's already becoming a bit more laid back. Yes, the children are more important that the foo-foo! Love this post! Treasure them. Mine are grown and gone and I love more each day!

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  14. Reading this, you sound a lot like the way I am. I so much loved having little children around the house. I miss that desperately! I was never one to feel that I was missing out on adult communication. Children are so funny and interesting. I am a homebody and loved every minute of my time with my children.

    If God chose to give me another child today, I would be overjoyed to have that blessing! It's a dream I keep...after all just look at how old Sarah was.

    I have indeed lived my dream life. For some, it would not be enough, but all I have ever wanted in life was to marry and stay at home to raise my family. God has been good to allow me to live that dream.

    :) Hope

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  15. This is a beautiful post, Billie Jo. Your family is blessed by you. Love the picture of you & your husband!

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  16. Oh how this makes me want one more little one especially when I read the take the toddler to the store. :) Parenting is so hard sometimes but so amazing, your thoughts are so true and reminding myself often that life does not have to be pinterest worthy is something I do. Great post my friend!

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  17. So very true, SO TRUE! I love this and I love the freedom that has come from shaking off the worry and fear that came with being a new Mom the first go round. This is just so beautiful and encouraging to Mom's who may fret and not realize it gets easier, and better - so glad you shared this!

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  18. LOVE!
    Thank you for all the wise tidbits - definitely great reminders to us who have little little ones.
    Hope you're having a great week!

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Billie Jo