Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Being "Mom"

My dad, mom and my siblings (Holly, Jeremy, Jason) and I
The toughest full-time job I have held has to be the one with the title "Mother."  I remember that when I was a little girl, my sister and I used to pretend we were mothers who lived next door to one another.  Her house was the bedroom next to wherever my pretend house was.  We had a deal worked out with my twin brothers that each of them would pretend to be the daddies when we needed them to in exchange for us playing whatever they wanted to play afterwards.  Our kids were our cabbage patch kids dolls.  My sister and I each had 4 dolls (just like the four of us kids).  My sister and I received them at Christmas for gifts.  I remember each Christmas that we received one, I used to tell my mom and dad that they had new grandchildren!  Little did I know back then that I was modeling behavior.  Being a pretend mommy seemed so easy back then.  But, that is because my mom made it look so easy.

Lately, I have had to ask my mom for lots of advice in how to raise a toddler.  Although I didn't think so when Luke was a baby, I now realize that the infant stage was easier (at least for me) than the toddler stage is.  When our kids are infants, our primary job is to give them loads of love.  We give them food, comfort, good sleep, and lots more love and attention.   Giving love to a precious baby--even one who cries for hours--I can do very easily.  Not that the stage is easy!   I still remember not getting sleep and feeling like a zombie as I went through my day.  But, the stage I am in now, with one two year old and an infant, seems to be a lot more difficult.  When your child is a toddler and it is so evident that they are a sponge, you realize that every little thing you say and do is molding them into who they will become.  They can tell you, "No" when you ask them very nicely to do something that you know is for the best.  How do you react?  Do you put them in time-out, spank them, reason with them, a combination of all or give in?  How you react will help shape them as they grow up.  Yes, being a parent is the job with more accountability than any other on the planet! Because I am spending so much time with Luke lately, I feel like Abbey gets a little neglected.  Somebody told me though before Abbey was born that it is really important to give Luke quality time.  He will remember it, but Abbey will not remember that I had to spend more time with Luke at this stage. 

Every day as a mom, I am faced with a new challenge.  I am so thankful for technology.  As soon as that challenge arises--boom, I am on the internet on my smartphone searching for answers.  But, then I look at me and my siblings and how we turned out.  We are all Christ-followers who love the Lord and love others.  We respect our elders and leaders in our society.  We work hard, exercise and eat well.  We are all college graduates.  We each played musical instruments and were involved in organized sports.  Each of us volunteer in some capacity at our churches and other organizations.  Now, I am not trying to boast--believe me, I understand the way I turned out had nothing to do with me.  My parents should be proud.  We turned out this way because of how they raised us, with the direction of our Lord.  So, who better to call for advice than my mom.

We even learned "teamwork" as kids.  Here Jason and Jeremy and I are helping each other drink some water at a park.
My mom has the best memory of anyone I know.  She can tell me what I was wearing 20 years ago on our family vacation.  OK--maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but her memory is crazy sharp!  So, with a memory like that, she can recount specific challenges she had with us and how she dealt with them.  My mom also didn't have it very easy.  I was born, then 11 months later my identical twin brothers were born, then 2.5 years later my sis was born.  And, the closest family members were about 5 hours away.  They had no help in raising us.  My dad worked very hard.  When we were young, he probably averaged 60-70 hours of work per week.  So, this sounds pretty difficult right?  Four kids, ages three and under, and no family in town to help out or provide "relief" when needed.  Then how in the world did she make it look so easy???  I can tell you that I NEVER recall my mom raising her voice.   We ALWAYS ate an excellent home-cooked meal with all four food groups on our plates.  We VERY RARELY ate out (maybe once a month on a Sunday after church).  She chauffeured us from activity to activity.  I also remember my siblings and I laying on the floor (I must have been 4 or 5 years old) all in a row while my mom rubbed our bellies before nap or bedtime.  Then, she would carry us one by one to our beds.  We all felt loved.  She is my inspiration.  When I am having a tough day, I just think about my mom and how she had it so tough, but made it look so easy.  She never appeared stress.  I think this is so important in raising our children.

I'm sure bath time was interesting with four little ones.
So, instead of relying solely on the internet for parenting advice, I go to my mom.  I combine her advice with some Biblical wisdom and hopefully I have a good recipe for raising these special blessings God has given us.  Although each day has its challenges, there is no greater blessing than children!  Thus, to me there is no better job title than the one of "mother."   And, Drew and I were both raised by the best mothers imaginable. 

My Babies:

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post!! It brought back a lot of fond memories. We did have a great childhood and our parents showed us a great amount of love and still do. Thanks for this post!