In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Birth of a Mom

I talk a lot about my little’s here and while I have written about my 5 now grown children on occasion, I realized recently that the last time I really shared about them was towards the beginning of this blog. Since most of you were not readers way back then, you probably haven’t read much about them.

Being a good Mom is my passion. Preparing children for their road ahead is something that is as important to me as my beating heart. I know that I am more than this Mom title and I have other passions as well but none of them are as close to my heart as this.

This is my story about how I became a Mommy to my first five children… 

I was still a child myself when I started out on this journey. As I birthed and raised each of them, I basically grew up with them. They raised me up, so to speak, to be the Mommy I am right now. I seriously give them much of the credit for teaching me what I know today. The trial & error’s of this journey of learning what it really means to be a Mommy or parent is one in which I fell on my face more often then not.

I give them the credit because when I started this Mommy gig I didn’t really have a clue to what the hell I was doing, even though I had gotten lots of advice from reading tons of parenting books. While these books can give some great wisdom to help out with this incredibly big task, it comes down to us putting what we know into practice and that doesn’t guarantee it will work.

Still, there are a lot of things that parenting books don’t tell you. But, even if they laid it all out, step by step, sharing all the messy secrets, would we really listen?

Our children don’t usually fit inside the box that we try to put them in nor in what the books or parenting experts say they should fit in. And could we please stop feeling badly when our children don’t?

I learned as each one came, that this is not a one size fits all kind of task. Each one of them is intricately different from one another and that meant what worked for one, did not guarantee it would work for another. I learned that my greatest tool for parenting them was to study each one of them and to really get to know their nature or temperament and their personalities.

I did not have to be a parenting expert but I did need to be an expert of knowing them. 

I learned early on that I wanted this Mommy gig to be about more than just feeding, clothing and keeping them alive. I wanted something more.

I asked myself, “What is the point of all this? What kind of qualities do I want them to possess when they reach point B.”

I wrote out a Mommy mission statement so to speak in which I described the kinds of qualities I wanted them to possess  once they reached adulthood. It’s these things that fueled my fire and set forth the intention of raising these children to be able to fly on their own some day.

Coming into this role with my share of hang-ups and being the fallible human creature that I am, I made mistakes a lot. Sometimes I forgot my mission statement & got off track. I’d try to fit them all in the same box. I messed up. There were times I listened to other people, who are not experts of my children, instead of allowing my own heart to lead. I apologized to my children a lot. I cried a lot. I prayed a lot.

On the flip side, I did a lot of things right. I loved a lot. I laughed a lot. I had a lot of fun. And so did they. I followed my heart and them.

Once I figured out that trying to control my children into being midget robots of me would only lead to failure in the end, it gave me freedom to enjoy letting them be themselves. Giving them permission to be their own unique selves took the pressure off of me to make them be who they are not. 

Investing all our time, energy and work into little people can seem like an endless task and one that seems to go on and on. This parenting gig is monotonous and often times not pretty. Yet it is filled with the greatest, happiest and wondrous moments of our lives.

Loving these people that were born from my body or from my heart is like watching a part of my heart walk around. Loving my children was the easy part. The hard part was putting that love into action on a daily basis. Not an easy task to do if you’ve been up with a child all night and then find yourself right smack in the middle of childhood messes the very next day. Loving my children fiercely and passionately is what drove me through those moments in which I wanted to lay down on the floor & sob.

When we first start, the thought of at least 18 years with them in our care(if we’re lucky)seems long. Many of you know, like I do, that this ride goes way too fast. The ride from point A to point B is over in a blink of an eye. All to quickly and often times before we are ready for it to be done.

They each made their own share of mistakes along the way. Watching one’s children fall is painful. Being there to help cushion their fall by guiding, listening and loving them while they were still young in the safety of our home, was a blessing in disguise.

Getting my  kids from point A to point B was the hardest, most joyful and greatest ride of my life. I wish I had kept that piece of paper with my hand written mission statement on it just for the memory of it. Yet, it seems that those things are still etched into my heart today.  Seeing them reach adulthood with many of these traits that I, their imperfect teacher had worked hard to instill in them, is amazing.

They are amazing.

They started out loving me and thinking that I was pretty great. They seen me as all knowing & as Princess Mommy.

As they matured their view of me was tainted with seeing me in my humanness and they began to question my authority…not always liking me and questioning what I knew. They fought for their independence to believe and think for themselves. They thought they knew more than me. They tested. They pushed the limits. As they embarked on their own journeys of discovering themselves on the emotional rollercoaster it was up to me to remain the constant, ever present force of love in their lives. This was the hardest stage to go through because as much as I loved them and they loved me, we didn’t always like each other.

Just when they got to the point of really liking me again, it was time for them to take flight.

After they each had time of living their lives independently and separate from me they now realize that I really did know what I was talking about and they have a new respect for me. They are back to this place of loving me and thinking I’m pretty great. They know I don’t know everything but value my wisdom and although they no longer call me Princess Mommy, they do treat me like a queen.  I call this coming full circle. 

I wrote a post called Coming Full Circle back in August of 2008 that talks about this journey.

Now that I’ve jumped on the Mommy train once again, I am benefiting from what I learned the first time around. I’m learning my little’s day by day. I am becoming an expert on them. I am enjoyed these days of them adoring me and thinking I’m great because I know all too well that will change for a season until they too come full circle.

I still make mistakes. I still have to remind myself that kids don’t fit into boxes (except to play in of course :). I still have to say “I’m sorry.” I still cry and pray. And I’m still having fun. The fun part of a do over is that I now know to cherish every single moment. I know now that laughter is a key ingredient for parenting 101. I now know the value of choosing my battles and not getting upset over the spilled milk in my life. I now know all too well that before I know it they will be flying from this nest too. Until then, I will enjoy this ride…every moment between point A and point B.

Next time, I want to share more personal details with you about my extraordinary sons and after that my amazing daughters. I want to tell you about these people that are carrying part of my heart with them out in this world.

Cheers to all of you that have taken this parenting ride or are on this ride right now.

Cheers to all of you that while you may not wear the title of parent, whether it’s by choice or circumstances, you stand in as awesome supporters of the parents and children in your life. You rock.

Have a great weekend dear friends. Hope you find something to smile about! :)

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori



The Incredible Woody said...

You are the most amazing person I know! Hope you have a fantastic weekend:)

Jeannie said...

I look forward to this.

I think the hugest thing you did right with your kids was saying you were sorry when you screwed up. It's so much easier for them to accept your imperfections when you admit they are there. It means they don't have to feel quite so bad when they mess up too. They know they can face you and you will still love them.

ain't for city gals said...

I am really looking forward to reading about the original five...I have never had children but I helped raise a lot of nieces and particular one niece who to this day is the light of my life...there is no better sence of accomplishment in life than having a hand in raising a child to become a caring adult...

Joyce A Gray said...

Lori, I love reading your blog, although we were not blessed with children I have two of the most wonderful sisters who are mothers and were so incredibly generous to share their children with us. It was amazing seeing each one take a different path due to circumstances in their lives, one was a working mother and the other was a stay at home mom.I have such admiration for both of them in the way they loved and nurtured their kids And it was wonderful to be the Auntie Joycie in all their children's lives. Still today, we are a part of all their lives and it is only because of the loving hearts of my sisters. I enjoy your blog so much and am amazed at your resilience in raising the little ones.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written, Lori, and beautifully lived. I love the concept of a "mommy mission statement" because I think that would really help keep the focus on what and why we do what we do. It makes me wish I had one for my older kids. It might be a little late for my 2 oldest teenagers, but the other 2 boys might still benefit. And I know *I* would benefit, too. Thank you for this idea!
Love *does* mean saying "I'm sorry" --and crying and laughing, too.

Redbush said...

I'm sure motherhood has given you many amazing experiences not even written here! We need more people like you parenting!

Anonymous said...

I do believe you're the only person i know who has ever had a Mommy Mission Statement. What a great idea! And it is so YOU. LOL

I love you to death, Lori.


Busy Bee Suz said...

You are amazing as well as inspirational.
Keep up the good work...I hope you are feeling well and that you enjoy this wonderful weekend ahead!

Brittany said...

You're pretty much the best mom ever! :) ILY!

slommler said...

Knowing when to say your sorry is so important. Kudos to you dear one

NENSA MOON said...

Hi Lori,
I can say you're such a wonderful mommy..
Your post was really inspiring I'm also a mom of my 4 children...
Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Brian Miller said...

you know there is a lot fo wisdom here that expectant moms should really hear...

Rob-bear said...

Wow, that's touching! Amazing!

A wonderful gentleman, a friend, who I also buried long ago, talked about having children when he and his wife were young. "We kinda grew up with our kids," he used to say. Just as you have, and have described so wonderfully.

I'd love to see that mission statement, too.

One added thought. Our two children will soon be in their 40s. And they are still our children, no matter how adult they may be. And we still love them.

Blessings and Bear hugs.

shortmama said...

The time definitely goes by so fast...mine are just 8 and 2 but the time has already gone by so quickly.

Stella said...

I love your journey. I love how you share. I love you!

TechnoBabe said...

I applaud your wisdom. Encouraging our children to be who they are and not what we demand of them is so freeing for them and for us as parents.

wolfie185 said...

Well put Lori! Good parents work at being selfless something that is really hard to do at times. You have written a very humble post, it shows your growth and wisdom.

For me the toughest part is being a grandparent now and allowing my daughter to make parenting mistakes and also live choice mistakes. My errors and experience show me her mistakes, I have to be strong enough to allow this happen for her growth. Good parents don't want their kids to get hurt but know getting hurt is for the best. I monitor what is going on for the safety of the babies just as you do, nothing bad has happen and I am greatful for this.

Thanks for sharing!!!!

Jeni said...

I know of what you speak -where you are coming from -in the matter of learning as you go, flying by the seat of your pants, trying to raise children! My older daughter often says I treated her much differently than I did her brother and sister -both younger than her -and she's right, I did that! Why? Because with her I learned from mistakes I made and tried not to repeat too many of those with her siblings! And today, with my youngest daughter and her two small children living with me, I'm back on the learning track with small children once again! Oh and by the way, I'm loving it and enjoying this trip around even more than the first three!

Anonymous said...

You are a truly extraordinary person - so I know your kids are too. To give them the freedom to be themselves and to help them that this is the best thing you can do in life - what a gift you have given them!

Katherine said...

You are simply all kinds of extraordinary amazingness.

Much, much love,

K xx

Natalie said...

Yes, you are absolutely right, Lori.xx♥

Garnetrose said...

There is no book of instructions tht come with being a parent. I would say you have done a fantastic job. The Mommy Mission idea is wonderful. God bless you and your family.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hi Lori, I would love to hear more about your older kids.
And if I miss you before, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope you're able to have a big family dinner together.
xo jj

Pseudo said...

I love the honest in your writing Lori. And I have been reading you long enough to know a little about your older children, but look forward to hearing more.

Just Be Real said...

Wow Lori! Thank you for sharing! Your honesty throughout in sharing with your children was such an important factor! This post was amazing. Thank you again.

Elizabeth Grimes said...

This really struck me, "Giving them permission to be their own unique selves took the pressure off of me to make them be who they are not." What an amazing and overwhelming task to be a mother. I have a great amount of respect for you!

Hilary said...

All of your children are so lucky to have you. All parents and parents-to-be could learn a lot from you. Beautifully expressed, Lori.

SciFi Dad said...

So sorry to be late to this amazing post, Lori. Beautifully written.

deb said...

um... I so so get you .
I knew this, know this.


deb said...

I have five children. btw

Buckeroomama said...

What a beautiful post, Lori!

You have such a big, big heart and such a generous spirit.

I LOVE the idea of a Mommy Mission Statement. I'll have to go do one of my own. :)