Monday, November 15, 2010

A few thoughts on motherhood...

This blog is supposed to be about me and not my kids, but I've been a mom for almost 18 years.  It's part of who I am so I think it's a fair topic.  I've been a stay-at-home mom since before my children were born.  I spent seven weeks of my pregnancy in bed and much of the first year after their birth stuck at home with two infants and no car.  Honestly, it's been a sacrifice at times.  Those first five years before they started school seemed to last forever.  I honestly can't say I enjoyed anything about spending all day feeding and changing babies.  There were some fun times when they were toddlers but it was still exhausting work.  I think I did a pretty good job despite not always loving what I was doing.  I played with them and read to them and when they were 3 we started having "home preschool" where I taught them colors, shapes, numbers and letters, and we played games and made crafts.  At 4 years old they started real preschool and I got a little bit of a break while they spent a few hours away from me.  That's about the time I started working at our family business.  It was only a few hours a week while the kids were at preschool, and it gave me a little spending money but also used up the free time I'd been looking forward to.  I got more of a break when they started kindergarten and then the longer days of first grade and beyond.  All through grade school I volunteered in the classroom, partly to see how they were doing in school academically and socially, and partly because I really enjoyed spending time with them and their friends.   Parenthood really started to get fun for me when they were in middle school.  They were independent enough to do their homework without being reminded and they started to experience more things outside of school and home.  They were old enough to have real conversations with and they were really a lot of fun. About that time I started to have church responsibilities that let me be an almost-mom to lots of other teenagers.  I think I was born to raise teenagers.  I love it when my kids invite all their friends over to our house.  I love to hear them laugh and play, I don't mind it when they're noisy, and I'll gladly feed and take care of all of them.

I had thought that as my kids got older it would be best for me to get a "real job" to help with the added expenses that come along with teenagers.  I didn't do that, choosing instead to keep my very part-time job so I can be available whenever my kids need me.  I can honestly say I'm glad I made that decision.  I'm grateful for all the times I'm able to greet my kids at the door after school, ask about their day, congratulate them on their accomplishments and hug them when things haven't gone so well.  I'm glad I can drive to school in the middle of the day to deliver a forgotten lunch or assignment.  I'm glad I can answer a text or email from my kids or from one of my many "other kids".  I thought motherhood would be less work at this stage and in some ways it is.  I don't have the constant drudgery of cleaning up after babies, but I still have a lot of laundry to do and the clothes are bigger.  The problems are bigger too.  A kiss and a bandaid used to fix most things, but not any more.  There are big decisions to be made and big issues to deal with.  The successes are huge, but so are the disappointments.

Overall, despite the sacrifices and challenges, motherhood is the biggest and best part of my life.  I'm grateful for all the children (most of whom are too old to want to be called children) who call me Mom, Mama, or friend.

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