I am a constantly moving mother of two wild ones. A sense of humor (and immense amounts of coffee) are vital to my success as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, and a high school teacher.
Though I strive to be everything for everyone, I often find myself over-committed. Each day, I learn to evaluate what matters, savor small moments, and breathe deeply.
My most powerful mom power is not taking parenting personally. My job is to raise strong, powerful, compassionate adults, not to raise kids. I am their confidant, not their friend. I am their protector, not their doormat. When my son tells me I’m no longer his best friend because I won’t let him ride the laundry basket down the stairs, that’s ok. He’s four. And when he’s cooled off, he comes out, we talk, and hug, and play swamp creatures. This realization has helped me channel energy into lessons of empathy, patience, and effort as a means of achievement
When I’m not momming, I love to read autobiographies, and craft things I’ve found on Pinterest, and travel with my handsome husband, and take long naps.
Going from 1 to 2 children
What is your background with siblings? I am an only child who yearned for siblings when it came time for vacations or family camping trips. Other than that, I was fine as an only. I am very close to my parents, I was fortunate enough to have 30+ cousins around. So, I really had the best of both worlds: sibling-cousin when I wanted them and privacy when I didn’t.
How have your views of family evolved as time has passed? I recently found a journal entry from way back in high school, when I first met my husband, that mentioned having 7 kids! Apparently, I felt the need to compensate for my only childness. I didn’t realize what having children entailed. When we were married in 2010, we felt three kids would complete our family. Five people can still get restaurant reservations and all fit in one car… Now, after two, we’re feeling quite content. Running man-on-man defense is keeping us pretty busy.
What is the most challenging thing about having two children? My greatest challenge with two is accepting how very different they are. When you have one, and s/he turns two, you think, “I could do this again. I’ve got this mom thing down.” But two is a whole new circus. What worked for the first doesn’t always work for the second. It’s humbling to realize that you will never be a master parent. Though I’m typically a solution-oriented person, with parenting, I’ve learned to become acceptance-oriented. Sometimes, it is what it is, as the tired cliché goes. It’s also immensely helpful to have a strong mom network to help validate your challenges and offer best practices…and drink wine with; that always helps.
What has helped you along the way? I don’t know if anything could have prepared me to care for two small people and one big person. I’m grateful to have a strong support system that includes family who are willing to watch the kids when I need a break. In fact, it’s a challenge to know when to ask for a break. Some parents feel guilty for wanting time away from their children, but I’ve always known that my children want and deserve the best parent possible. To be the best parent possible, I have to attend to my needs as well as theirs. An exhausted, neglected mom is a mom who cries while folding laundry and grows resentful of her partner. My kids deserve better. My husband deserves better. I deserve better.
What makes you feel “I’ve got THIS!”? I feel like I’ve dominated momming when both of my kids are laughing. Those are the times when dishes, or dinner, or papers that need grading don’t matter. In that moment, everyone’s needs are met. I also love watching my son demonstrate kindness. When he offers to help me with his sister or goes out of his way to include another child on the playground, I feel like I’m doing something well. It’s these moments that absolve the ones where I’m drowning in mom-hell… when both kids are crying because they’ve missed their naps and I’m losing my patience. For every moment of defeat, there are at least three moments of success.
Brijette, We’ve gotta remember that one, for every moment of defeat there are at least three moments of success. That is pure mom genius!