With Mothers Day tomorrow, I’ve been reflecting on my personal journey through motherhood and what I’ve learned after 21 years of being a mom. Wow! 21 years right? How is that possible when I’m only 37? Read here for the whole story but basically that’s what happens when you become a mama at the tender age of 16.
So, having been a mom for pretty much my whole life, I should have picked up a few tools along the way, right? Although, here I am still learning. Motherhood is a gift that never ends and is always changing.
On that note, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way. Maybe I can help another mama on her journey, or at the very least give someone a little giggle with a few of my motherhood stories.
On pregnancy and childbirth
No two women are exactly alike and therefore every pregnancy is going to be different and with that no birth experience will be the same. Its ok to read books and google these things but take it all with a grain of salt. And better yet, even if every woman in your family had a beautiful pregnancy with the perfect childbirth, this doesn’t necessarily mean you will. I always thought I’d deliver my babies via c-section because my mom did and when I ended up having a c-section with my first baby I was convinced all the more. Until I had 3 VBAC’S . As I said, every woman is different and for that matter every pregnancy and delivery can also be very different. I could go into a lot more detail on this subject and perhaps even write a whole blog post on this subject alone. I guess what I’d love you to take from this is that its important to be open minded and embrace your experience however it turns out. There is beauty in every pregnancy whether difficult or easy. The same can be true for every labour experience. The end result is always a baby and thats what you wanted in the first place right?
On that note, I want to take a moment to acknowledge that pregnancy and labour can very often bring a woman through emotional challenges that are difficult. Many pregnancies end in miscarriage, and a lot of birth experiences don’t go as planned. I want to honour those mothers today and the journey that they go through.
Babies and Toddlers
The stage where a sweet smile can make you forget your sheer exhaustion. The phase where every day is a new discovery, a new milestone, all the while trying to freeze time and make sure every single moment is stored in your memory banks
Some would find this stage to be the most challenging but for me it’s one of my favorite stages of motherhood. They call it the formitive years. The window of motherhood that gives you a daily opportunity to give your child the best chance at a bright future. This is the stage where you work hard but don’t often see the long term results until much later.
Mama’s be easy on yourself. Don’t compare, don’t strive to be anyone other than who you are. You have been given instinct and that mothers instinct is strong and wise and gives you exactly what you need to get through this stage. Do what YOU know is best and beyond anything else, hold your babies, sing to them, read to them, and tell them every day how much you love them. These tender moments are so important in this stage of development. They’re not going to remember whether they were breastfed or bottle fed, they have no idea whether you cloth diapered or used disposables and they certainly won’t remember what brand of clothing they wore. All that truly matters is that they were well loved. Keep it in perspective mamas! That’s my biggest piece of advice for the first 5 years.
This is the stage that humbles you as a parent. No longer are you there “supervising” your childs every move or action and all of a sudden they have the freedom to be who they are and want to be. These are the days where all your hard work in those first 5 years starts paying off….or not LOL. Just because you taught the lesson doesn’t necessarily mean your child is going to follow it. This stage is when you really start seeing the individual personalities and its time to see their strengths and weaknesses and work hard to find the positive ways to mold these little humans into the best person they can be within their own unique personality.
Sports games, birthday parties, play dates and more; this phase is chalk full of daily activities and the simplicity of staying home just doesn’t exist any longer.
Each of my older kids had different experiences in elementary school. There were days when they came home crying because someone was mean to them, there were days when the teacher called home because your child peed on another child in the bathroom (legit you guys…this happened. I won’t name any names ha!) You’ll have a child that excels academically and a child that struggles and needs a lot of help.
One thing I heard recently at a seminar was this. Don’t be too concerned about your child getting straight A’s, or being the sports star, or having the most friends. At the end of the day, the most important thing you can teach your child is to be a good person. This stuck with me so much! So often we put expectations on our children that are unrealistic to who they are. At the end of the day, lets teach our children to be good people who love well and bring positive change to the world.
Tweens, Teens, and beyond
I feel like this stage always gets a bad wrap and truthfully it’s not all bad you guys! The teen years come with their own set of challenges for sure, but I don’t think any more than all the other stages of parenting. To be honest, I think the hardest part of the teen years for me so far has been letting go and trusting. Trusting that the lessons we’ve taught, the morals we’ve instilled and the personalities we’ve worked hard to shape are going to shine through. My oldest daughter always said “Mom, how am I going to learn if I don’t experience a few bumps along the way”. Everything inside you wants to guard them from making any wrong turns, you see the road in front of them and you know what their next decision could mean for them. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and pray. My biggest lesson through these teen years has been to let them go, let them learn, and understand that simply hearing my story isn’t enough to make them choose one path over another. This is their journey, their life story and my experiences aren’t going to determine their decisions.
The fun part about this stage is seeing the person they are becoming. It’s rewarding when you look at your teenager and think to yourself “wow, he/she is a cool person”. All of a sudden you have these people that are fun to hang out with, go on adventures with and chat with. It’s a neat place to be!
If there were a test for parenting through the teen years, I can honestly say I haven’t passed it with an A+ (yet…there’s still Mila right? lol) . I can say though that I’ve tried, I’m learning and my kids know that I love them unconditionally.
So, now that I’ve shared a few insights into my motherhood journey, I’d love to hear yours! What would you say is your favorite stage? Maybe you haven’t had children but have “mothered” in other ways, perhaps you’re just starting your motherhood journey. Whatever place you find yourself in, there is a story to share and someone who needs to hear it!
Thanks for reading a bit about mine:)
Happy Mother’s Day!