Anyone that says motherhood isn’t, is not only a liar, but they are also cruel. It takes a cruel person to tell a lie so profound and utterly beyond or even close to the truth. It takes a cruel person to tell the story that “it”, motherhood, is easy, and it will be glamorous, and smooth-sailing, and then your kids grow up and you will miss them and so you will not want them to leave the house, and blah, blah, blah. Motherhood is tough! Tough as hell!
But, it is also the most beautiful and rewarding thing you will ever experience. Motherhood is the most selfless act of unconditional love you can give and if you are not ready for such a sacrifice, parenting may not be for you. I absolutely love being a mom, as tough as it is. Sometimes, it makes me want to scream, other times, it makes me cry with an overflow of joy. Do you have children? If not, do you want to?
When I was younger, like in high school, I used to want 10 kids. I grew up in a big family. My parents had six kids, one boy and five girls. I always knew I wanted a big family and ten seemed big enough. I never in a million years thought I would have twins. But, the first time I got pregnant, it was with twin girls. Boy, what a shock that was. People tell you that pregnancy is fun and it seems glamorous, but it really is hard work. Sharing the inside of your body, growing another human inside of you, is very difficult. But, as tough as it is, it is also very beautiful.
Now, that I have been a mother for almost 18 years, I feel like I know a little bit about parenting. Now that I have successfully avoided accidentally: drowning, electrocuting, poisoning, burning, and choking all my kids, and my oldest kids are almost adulthood, I am celebrating myself! There are many things I have learned along the way. There are some things I wish I had known from the beginning of my motherhood journey, but as we know, no baby comes with an instruction manual, no baby comes with a list of things they will experience, or a list of how to deal with them. Parenting is tough because you do not know the kind of kid you’re going to get. We do not know what the future holds nor how to prepare for every unexpected incident life will bring our way, so we must do our best and learn as we go.
Here are three things I learned about motherhood while raising my twin daughters and things that may help you with raising your kids, too.
- Your kids have their own personalities and need to be allowed to be themselves- as difficult as it may be to allow your kids to be independent, it is a must. We are not to attempt to live our lives through our children, force them to do things they don’t want to do because we think they should, or make them into who we want them to be. Our priority is to affirm our kids, encourage our kids, expose them to a variety of things and see what they are interested in and/or good at. Our job is to help shape our kids into positive contributing members of society. As easy as it is to try and force our kids into being one thing, we must remember that they have their own personalities from birth and we must allow them to simply be themselves.
- You will not always like your kids. They will do things that piss you off. They will say things that make you question who raised them. But, that, too, is ok. It is alright to feel like your kids are tiny assholes sometimes. It is ok to feel like you want to escape from the little hell-raisers that you gave birth to and love beyond explanation. Because, let’s be real, the changes that kids go through, especially puberty, will have you questioning your sanity and level of restraint. They may make you want to cry, scream, or even break something. But, remember that it is temporary, hold your ground, you have been there and so you understand, and you will survive.
- Set boundaries and take time apart- as hard as it may be to say no and to risk disappointing your kids or hurting their feelings, learn now that it is absolutely necessary. It will save you a lot of headache and heartache.
You have to set boundaries that make it clear who is in charge from a very early age, or when your kids get older they will run all over you. It is an absolute must to take time apart from your kids in order to maintain your peace of mind. Not just yours, but theirs, too. Time apart is crucial for maintaining a healthy relationship and that is what we ultimately want with our kids. Take time apart from each other, even if only for a day or two.
Not one baby comes with an instruction manual or a preparedness pamphlet so it is truly a “learn as you go” thing. Parenting is a “try this out and see if it works and if it does keep it up and if it does not then do not do it anymore” thing. And the beauty of it is that children are forgiving and resilient and even when you make mistakes or they make mistakes, dealing with everything in love and grace is the key. I have learned that being the type of mom that I thought I wanted to be, does not work for raising my kids. I have learned that I do not have it figured out and won’t figure it all out, but as long as I do my best, that is all that matters. I have learned to be the best mom I can in the moment, and from day to day, no matter what that looks like. I have learned not to compare my journey with anyone else’s. I have learned to forgive myself for mistakes I have made and mistakes I will make in the future. I have learned that I am the mom that my kids need, I am doing my best, and my kids and I are awesome!