It was recently my oldest son’s seventh birthday, and as I reflect on the last seven years, I’m in disbelief of how fast it went — but also, how much has changed in our lives in those seven years. When you are in the midst of the dirty diapers, tantrums, no sleep, hormones, post-partum depression, and everyday crazy, time ticks by as slow as can be, yet it is also moving the fastest it ever has. It’s so hard to explain, but once you become a parent, it all makes sense!
I know as a mom, I am thinking daily about how bad I am probably screwing up, how much I will have to pitch in for my kid’s therapy (we have a “C” fund, which can be used for college or counseling lol), and how it is even POSSIBLE to love something so much it seems to take over your entire body/brain/being!
Of course, before we had kids, we knew EVERYTHING about being parents, and knew exactly how we would raise our kids and exactly how they would behave, because they were ours! And since we were raising them RIGHT, they would be perfect and do everything we want them to, right? Anyone else experience this phenomenon of the “know-it-all” non-parents? When you’re in this zone, you really like to tell people who actually have kids how to deal with their children and what we would do if we were them! What a kick in the face when you actually have that screaming newborn enter the world and turn everything upside down, right?
We are super lucky: Our boys are actually really good, and they get along so well. They were good babies, pretty good toddlers (man though, those 2s and 3s: HARSH!), and Kaleb is turning out to be one of the sweetest, most empathetic, smartest kids I have been around! But even with good kids, parenting is SO FUCKING HARD! And it requires F-bombs, so if you don’t like curse words, just stop reading! There are millions of parenting books, but I feel like the best thing to do is really listen, really empathize, and really get to know your kids. I want my kids to be open and honest with me, and I want them to look at me as a safe space where they won’t be judged. That doesn’t mean that they won’t be disciplined or that we will let things slide. We have very serious conversations about very serious topics and behavior. I want my boys to accept others, to be a friend to anyone who needs one, and to also be strong enough to not fall into the “everybody’s doing it” downfall. I want them to stand up for others who are being bullied, and also realize that the people doing the bullying are doing it from a place of pain, so we should try to understand and not judge.
Some people might think that is naive, but I’ve already seen how our serious conversations play out in my sons’ lives. Jamie came home the other day saying there was a new kid in class and he was very shy, so I told him that maybe he should introduce himself the next school day and see if he wanted to play. He was so excited when he got home to tell me that he had a new friend named Jack and they played outside together.
Proud mommy moment for an amazing 3-year-old. Kaleb has a way of befriending a few trouble makers, much like his momma. And I have to be diligent in talking to him about these friendships; as much as it can drive me crazy when he gets in trouble because of certain kids, at the same time he tells me that he is friends with them because of xyz, and they are important reasons to him. I finally got to meet one of these kiddos at Kaleb’s recent birthday party, and he was such a sweet boy, just not from the greatest home situation. Kaleb is a helper, just like me, and a caring person, just like me, and now I see why he is gravitating towards this boy. I can’t parent the other kid, so the best thing I can do is make sure that Kaleb is staying true to himself and realizing that he doesn’t have to join in when others are acting out and getting into trouble, which he is getting much better at.
I can hardly believe that I am done with the baby/toddler years, and now the HARD part is starting: helping my kids turn into decent humans and put their mark on this world. I’m amazed every day by my boys, the things that they think up, their amazing imaginations, and the way they see the world around them. I learn something every day about them and about myself and about life in general. The world we live in now is completely different than when I was growing up, and it is a challenging place to be a parent. But really truly listen to these beings that you created, because children’s wisdom can be one of the greatest teachers in life.
I’m so thankful that they are growing up surrounded by amazing family and people in my life. Kaleb was almost 2 when I joined my home business, and I try and share as much of the positive influences as I can with them while I’m working. They love affirmations, positivity, and helping others. I love that my company is so supportive of mothers and families, and I love that the life I’m building is influencing them and showing them to always reach for your dreams and to never quit on yourself. When my boys spout off something that they learned because of watching me work for my dreams, it brings tears to my eyes, hope to my heart, and so much love for this culture that I have been so blessed to be a part of. I can’t wait to be able to take them on earned trips and show them the world through travel with like-minded people and families. They are my why, and I will never quit on my dreams of building our lives on our terms and not needing to take a vacation from the hum-drum, everyday drag that an ordinary life can be.
HUGE Shout out to all of you mommas out there. Being a mom is the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life, but also the most rewarding. Having kids is like watching your heart outside of your body running around in someone else. You will do anything for them, and you can’t explain the utter amount of love you have for them and that they bring into your life. So, to you moms…I see you…I understand you…I love you…and I am cheering you on!
Happy seventh birthday, Kaleb Joseph. You made me a mom on March 29, 2011, and it is my greatest accomplishment to be your mother.