Posts Tagged by Motherhood
Entire TV series are created to celebrate the ups and downs of early motherhood. The sleepless nights, the boogers, the puking. . . all of it is chronicled, celebrated, commiserated.
The cute pudgy-cheeked preschool years are shared with other moms during playgroups and outings and photo ops.
Elementary school moms catch up at elementary school drop off, juggling backpacks, a traveler mug of coffee and a work tote.
Middle School and High School moms meet up at sporting events and at auditoriums and theatres.
But, we mothers of college students rarely cross paths.
And we can be a lonely bunch. I’ve not had time to be lonely, with five more kids at home (though I have missed my extra licensed driver!). But what about the moms sending a last or an only off? She is adjusting to an empty nest and the gaping hole left where a child used to live.
I was never one to jump for joy when the kids would go back to school in September. . . while I was somewhat happy for a return to routine, I also missed the freedom of seeing my kiddos when I wanted to see them. I missed lazy afternoons reading on the porch.
And, with sending a kid off to college, I miss the “him-ness” of having the kid around my house. I miss the comings and goings of friends, I miss the mysteriously disappearing food, I miss the glimpses of humor and personality. Instead, I am left with a longing . . . for just one more text, a surprise phone call, a funny email.
But they don’t always come. . .
Because my adult child is just that. An adult. A young adult who is learning to spread his wings. A young adult who does not need me on a daily basis anymore.
It is a tough reality. And yet, it is a relief. We were able to raise a stubborn little boy to adulthood. . . mostly unscathed. As much as I miss my daily contact with him, would I really want him calling me daily to report on every.little.thing. that happened? No way (and I have a pair of four year-olds for that!)
So, instead, I am learning to embrace this season of motherhood. It is a season laced with slightly more worry and concern, but also a few more laughs as our relationship becomes lighter. I’m learning what type of communication works best for college kids (note–think Tweet-length communications), and I’m enjoying watching the young man he is becoming.
Chime in! What season of motherhood are you in? What has surprised you? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Mothers Day has once again come and gone. Many of us spent some extra time with our families this weekend, and the fortunate among us had kids and husbands that remembered the day and took a moment to let us know something so basic: what we do as mothers matters.
I’m a seasoned mom.
My oldest will turn 18 next month. He graduates from high school next week. Somehow, in spite of my many mistakes, he managed to survive to adulthood. I’m biased, but I think he has turned out pretty well. I’m going to miss him like crazy when he leaves for university in August.
But I’m also a mom of preschoolers. You know, walking messes, tantrums in tiaras, sticky, sweet little preschoolers. Mothering preschoolers is mothering in the trenches. I’ve been in the trenches of motherhood for the better part of 18 years.
I’m worn. I’m battle scarred. I’m tired. Some days I am so. Tired. Of. This.
And then, and then, the kiddos do something sweet. They tell me I am beautiful. They give me a sticky kiss. They fall asleep on my lap. I am reminded that I have been given a very precious gift.
And that, my friends, is where my friend Genny Heikka comes in. Genny and I went to high school together. We shared many hours in English and dance classes together. Then, life happened and we went our ways. . .only to meet back up online some twenty years later as a pair of “mom bloggers”.
Genny has a heart for encouraging mothers. It is her gift, and she uses it well. In her encouraging new book, Finding Mommy Bliss: Discovering Unexpected Joy in Everyday Moments, Heikka walks mothers through some positive steps for identifying the pitfalls that snare mothers, and encourages us to pursue our passions now.
I’m practical, and this is a practical book. The 20 chapters are short, but jam packed with can-do advice and encouragement that can be read in whatever snippet of time that you have. Each chapter is sprinkled with “Be More Blissful” sidebars with real-life tips and experiences. Each chapter ends with a “Mom to Mom” journaling prompt, a “Heart to Heart” scripture memory verse, and “A Mom’s Prayer”.
Genny’s heart for moms and motherhood shines through. I want to share her gift with you! Finding Mommy Bliss: Discovering Unexpected Joy in Everyday Moments, is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores near you.
I also have a copy to give away to one of you wonderful moms! Simply use the Puchtab entry below!
The other night on the Face book page I asked how old my readers’ oldest child is. Answers ranged from 51 on down to a few weeks old. That is a lot of years of motherhood, no?
“Oh, but that 51 year old does not need mothering.”, you may say. “Oh, but a 2 week-old is way easier than my tween.”, someone else will say.
The fact is. . . mothering never really gets easier. And, unlike a job that eventually (but not always) has retirement as an ultimate goal, mothering is a forever thing.
My grandmother never stopped worrying about her kids. . . or her grandchildren.
That mom with a 51 year old “child”, is likely to still be giving advice, encouragement, and prays daily for her offspring.
So now, we may be in the thick of things. Our kids are infants, terrible twos, tweens, or even getting ready to graduate from high school and leave for college (sigh). We need to keep our mothering energy up.
How do we keep from “losing it” now, so that we still have the energy (emotional and otherwise) to still be great moms once our kids are adults?
Go With the Ebb and Flow
There are times in your childrens’ lives that are very time, energy and emotion consuming. Their first year, with sleepless nights, endless feedings and thousands of diapers seems never ending. So many decisions you make seem like they are life changing and life-altering. Do we breast or bottle feed? Daycare or stay at home? Cloth diaper or disposable? Crib or co-sleep? Sleep train or no?
While these decisions should be well-thought-out for your family’s situation, let me let you in on a little secret:
Don’t sweat it, mama! Junior won’t breastfeed well and you are worn down trying? My best friend has three bright formula fed children. Don’t want to use disposables? That is fine, plenty of people use cloth. . .or they don’t. Worried that if baby spends one night, or one week, or one month, or one year in your bed that you will never get her out? No worries, most high school seniors sleep in their very own big kid beds.
And when motherhood gets just a wee bit easier, like after that first day of kindergarten– relax a little. Get a mani-pedi. Have coffee with your girlfriends. Stare at baby pictures and sniff a little. You just might get a little mothering downtime–at least during the day.
Things will ramp up again. Sports, clubs, plays, dance recitals. They will possibly consume your social time. Get a good planner, and soak it in. . .because the teens years can be lonely for a mom.
You might feel a bit like Beverly Goldberg, that your kids don’t need you anymore.
But they do. Whether they act like they appreciate you or not. They still need you. And they always will.
Be ready to be that listening ear, open door, and supporter.
But to be able to have this kind of mothering stamina–stamina to endure the marathon of motherhood, you have to pace yourself.
Don’t burn yourself out on the minutia of the newborn stage, don’t hover/helicopter (using up all of your gas) in the preschool to tween years, and don’t let teen angst discourage you.
Each stage of childhood has its own unique joys, and each stage of motherhood does as well. The key is taking time in each stage to be present, to breathe it in, to make memories, and to love our kids for who they are, right here and right now.
Chime in! Where are you at in your mothering marathon? What are you doing to enjoy it?