our parenthood experience...
My friend Abigail is adopting twins within in the next 2 weeks and she did a wonderful thing I think: Picked 15 mothers that she thinks "have this motherhood thing handled" and sat down with each of them for a true "mother to mother" session. I was one of the ladies picked, and I was like "huh? Me?" It made me really start thinking about motherhood, parenthood, expectations, slobber, and everything in between.
I don't consider myself a "natural mother." It took a lot of time, effort, energy, and practice to get to where we are now. I consider myself one of those people who was a great parent before I had kids :) All these ideas of how it will be...a stork delivery, play dates, cute miniature clothes, cookies, naps, bottles, books, and a few dirty diapers.
I made a lot of personal mistakes when I was a young mother of two. I wasn't always a good friend, wife, or daughter. I am truly sorry for anyone I hurt, abandoned, or didn't act supportive to. I was such an insecure person at this stage of my life as a mother, and it affected so many other areas of my life.
I used to feel judged when my kids didn't act the way they should, or that I didn't act the way I should have, or the kids didn't eat what they should have, or they cried too much, or had dirt under their fingernails. Now, I am like "let them eat cake for breakfast!"
And now I realize: I am a "toddler mama."
Now, I was not good at this whole "toddler" thing until about a year ago. I don't know what happened, what switched, or what light bulb when off in my head, but I just found out "I can do this!" When Maddux turned three-ish to four, it really just all came together. I don't know what it was, but it just happened. I learned how to have fun with them and love them for the things that they do to make us laugh and the things they do to make us cringe. Jeremiah and I fell into a groove and things just became more "manageable."
Jeremiah and I may not make the best decisions for our kids, but we do what we think is right in the moment and give ourselves a break if it doesn't work out. People can judge, and that's just fine. I have gotten high-fives from strangers on Halloween and at the grocery store, and re-assuring smiles and kind gestures at the zoo. Always from other mothers. We have a sort of "gang" I guess, although I still haven't found the clubhouse yet. Although I am always keeping an eye out for it. :)
But now we are parents of "toddlers"...building forts, dancing to Disney music, tea parties and hot wheel car ramps, chicken nuggets, button-up cardigans with flowers on them and how to match them perfectly to your shoes...that we can do.
I am not saying we don't have our struggles. Oh lordy. Because we do. Every single day, friends. Sometimes (more often than not even if I don't care to admit it) the kiddos go to bed with jeans on (because they want to). I find snot on my favorite pillow. Sometimes we have cereal for dinner. I have seen pink marker streaks on the new puppy. Maddux has gone through an entire day with his pants on backwards. I have found peanut butter behind kiddo ears and thought "well, that makes sense". And Paetyn has accidentally ordered and began watching the movie "Black Swan" more than once OnDemand. (Insert deep sigh).
Motherhood is a wonderful gift and the rewards are plentiful. Art on the refrigerator. Teachers telling you your kiddo is great. Free hugs whenever you want them. Fist bumps on a good dinner of mac n' cheese and hotdogs. Kisses from runny-nosed kids and then they take care of you when you get sick. Nights with movies, popcorn, and forts which are magic. Introducing your first child to your second child for the first time. Being the one they ask for in sickness and health. Being their whole world. It is a lot of responsibility to put on any one person or couple, so take it in stride because it goes by fast.
So to all you new mama's with little babes at home, mama's to be, and everyone in between this is our advice:
I think that we all have wonderful stages. And hard stages. You will always love your children, but you will have times you don't like the moments of parenthood. And that's okay, because it only lasts a few minutes, and then you can pull up your big-girl pants and move on. You will find your 'groove' and when you do you feel like you are on cloud 9. Have fun, it goes so fast as it is so don't dwell on mistakes you make.
Good luck to Abigail and your hubby, Alan on the arrival of the twins...you can do it!