Being a mom. The HARDEST job on the planet! While I wouldn’t trade places with the top exec of any Fortune 500 company on the planet, being a mom requires all the grit, drive, motivation, sleep deprivation, and more to get to the top of the game. And just like any job, you start at the bottom and work your way to the top. You falter along the way. You stumble. Make mistakes. You’re rewarded with LOVE. Make more mistakes. More LOVE.
I was 25 years young when I became a mom for the first time. Loved being pregnant. Loved being a mom. My firstborn. A boy. I thought I knew it all. I was going to do everything the way I wanted. Certainly not the way anyone else told me to. Of course, it was the RIGHT way. It was MY right way. My mom told me to do everything on a schedule. Let him cry. Don’t feed him too often. I listened for the first week. Then I did it my way. When he wouldn’t sleep, we circled the dining room table singing “Zip-a-dee doo dah” 500 times until he fell asleep. Or we put him in the car and drove for 30 minutes. We prayed as we carefully carried him inside and tucked him into bed. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. The second time around was different. 18 months apart. If Ryan cried, we knew he’d survive. He learned to rock, swing, sit, and wait. He ate whenever he wanted. By then I didn’t care. I cared about him. I just didn’t care about the “rules.” More laid back. He was a better sleeper. More “go with the flow.” But definitely more active. Two boys. Holy crap! The magic potion was getting them on the same nap schedule. A three-hour nap in mid-morn was the ultimate break. And boy did I need it! Laundry, cleanup, food prep, and maybe a five-minute rest.
Four and one-half years later, the princess came along. She was a piece of cake. Either that or I had the motherhood thing so down, that everything ran smoother. Ashley was easy. She ate, slept, went everywhere. We walked. In the stroller, a snuggie, the backpack. She used her “nukkie” for 4 1/2 years until she was afraid my mom would take it away from her. So she hid in the closet and started sucking her thumb. I thought it was cute. Some moms might have said otherwise. I didn’t care. She was my baby. Let her be that way for as long as she wanted. I knew she wouldn’t walk down the aisle with her thumb in her mouth! And she certainly didn’t!
I tried to be supermom. I aimed for perfection. There is no such thing. No matter how hard I tried, something was going to fall off the tracks. Kids were going to fight. Get sick. Something was bound to go helter-skelter at some point. Keeping it together 100% of the time was a fallacy. So I realized loving, listening, caring, and just being there was the BEST I could do at any given time. Sometimes it was enough. Sometimes it wasn’t. But I NEVER gave up.
I think the most difficult part to digest was when others questioned my integrity. No one had the whole picture. Temper tantrums in public? I was a bad mom. In their mind. In my mind. They’d roll their eyes, pull their kids away, huff and puff. Bad kids, bad mom. Judgement damages. It took years to walk away. To let go. To know that I was a good mom. My way may not be their way, but that didn’t mean it was the wrong way. My kids were just having a bad day. A bad moment. It happens.
My greatest joys and heartaches came and come from being a mom. They say you are as happy as your happiest child. Or you suffer along with their anguish and pain. No words could speak more truth. From babes to adults. There is no time frame. There is no retirement plan. And you can’t quit.
“Motherhood is a wonderful, rewarding, messy, noisy, and sometimes crazy ride, but it’s all worth it.”
- The joy of “firsts.” First word, first steps, first day of school, first lost tooth, first date, first “drive,” first “win.”
- The jubilant smiles and laughter that filled the house.
- Learning patience, understanding, compassion, and the art of listening.
- Building memories for a lifetime.
- Creating traditions.
- Pride in their every accomplishment, big and small.
- Hugs and kisses.
- Walking them down the aisle to their beloved and knowing it is the perfect match.
- Watching them grow from babe to teen to adult with pride. From dependent to independent. And knowing they will be more than okay. They will be GREAT!
Gregger used to joke, “You better not go before me and leave me alone with these kids!” We laughed about it, bantered back and forth. I always thought I’d be first. I bet he would give anything to be here now to watch the rest of his children’s journeys. It still amazes me every day. My kids gave me so many gifts along the way. They reminded me to have fun, taught me to be patient, selfless, and grateful. They helped me realize life is a journey. The road is long and bumpy. But if you open your eyes, open your heart, and open your mind, it can be the most AMAZING journey. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Blessings.