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Parenting

The Adventure of Raising Boys

On Mondays I share my musings on Motherhood or Marriage. Today’s post is about Motherhood.

Adventure of raising boys

I remember how anxious and afraid I was when I found out we were having twin boys.  I had always  dreamed of having children and our infertility struggles seemed to magnify both my desire to become a mother and my determination to be the best mom that I could be.

I worried aloud (frequently) to the Road Warrior how a ‘girly girl’ could raise boys.  What about all those nursery rhymes I longed to recite and the crafts I imagined us doing?  Could you do those things with boys?

He assured me I could. But quite honestly I had my doubts.

I was fearful, didn’t play sports and wasn’t particularly adventurous.  Three traits I was convinced would make me an epic failure as a mother to boys.

When I think back to that time, I have to laugh at myself.  In the Ten things I’ve learned after 10 Years of Motherhood, I shared that I now believe anyone can be a Boy Mom.  I’m certainly proof of that.

As their Mother I definitely don’t try to become their Dad, but I do try to be open to exploring their interests with them and supporting them in their ‘boyish’ pursuits.  Pursuits which have surprisingly now become family pursuits that include their sisters.

Raising Boys has been an exciting adventure and while I still get nervous, I’ve learned that by not always holding them back, I expand my horizons as well.

Their sense of adventure has unleashed my own and taught me a lot about myself in the process.

I’m stronger/tougher than I thought.

Rifle Range

and  I’m a pretty good shot.

 

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What I’ve learned after 10 years of Motherhood

 

On Mondays I blog about Marriage or Motherhood.  This weeks post is inspired by the 10th Birthday of our Twin boys.  My firstborn.

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I believe Motherhood is a lifelong learning experience.  Since our first borns recently turned 10 (double digits!) I thought it would be a good time to reflect on what 10 years of motherhood has taught me.

10 Things I’ve learned after 10 years of Motherhood

Children are resilient.  One innocent (well intentioned) parenting mistake won’t ruin them for life.
I shudder when I remember sitting our boys in front of the television to eat their breakfast and watch Baby Einstein.  Now we have a house where they only watch limited television on the weekends.  They can read, write and appear to have a good number of brain cells.  Whew!

Your children will teach you more about yourself than you will ever teach them. They challenge you, show you sides of personality you never knew you had, mirror your worst habits, and just fill you with an overwhelming desire to be a better parent, person and friend.  I am by no means perfect, but I am a much better person today than I was 10 years ago.

Through your children you will experience the heights of pride and the depths of humility.  I have never felt prouder or been more humbled as I have been with and through my children.  Whenever you think you have this parenting thing down, something will happen to remind you that you don’t.  On the other hand, sometimes during the hardest weeks and most challenging days, when you’re wondering whatever made you think you could actually be a mother, your children will do or say something that surprises you in the most wonderful way and fills your heart with pride.

Anyone can be a ‘Boy Mom’.  If you told me 10 years that ago that one day I would be able to:  Name the various types of construction vehicles by their proper names, identify  insects and bugs, raise and breed reptiles,  enjoy shooting targets at a rifle range, and be able to plan fun birthday parties for boys—I would have laughed.   Yet, I’ve not only done it, I’ve truly enjoyed it.  Loving my boys has opened me to new experiences I would have never thought I could handle. While I’m still terrified of roaches, I am also a ‘Boy Mom’ and proud of it.

Motherhood is club, a sorority, a clique and a mob.  Mothering is both a universal language and a way to divide women.  I have enjoyed and benefited greatly from the sisterhood among mothers.   I’ve also been bitten by it.    Women are passionate and opinionated about motherhood, and when I’m honest with myself, I realize that I am too.

You won’t die of exhaustion or sleep deprivation, although it will feel like it.  They say the early months of bringing home an infant are hard because of the sleep deprivation.  What they don’t tell you is that after you have children you won’t ever sleep as soundly as you did before kids.  

You will say those things that you swore you would never say. You know the ones I’m talking about.  Even worse, you’ll say them often.

You will think in-depth conversations about poop are normal.

You will eventually learn how to handle all the unsolicited advice that comes your way.  When people tell you to “sleep when the baby sleeps” you will muster up enough self control not to slap them and point out that twins aren’t identical robots, but rather 2 separate individuals who sleep, eat and poop on their own accord and not just in sync with their twin.

The most ‘thankless’ jobs are also the most personally rewarding.  Motherhood isn’t  glamorous ,  high paying, or highly regarded as an occupation  by most of society  but it’s always a worthy endeavor for those who choose to embrace it.

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For my daughter: On the Occasion of her 8th Birthday

Today is my first daughter’s 8th Birthday.

Her birthday request today was that Mommy ‘not work’ and just ‘have fun’ with her today.

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From the moment this child entered my life my world changed.

My heart grew and I continue to stand in amazement of what she has taught me through the gift of being her mother.

 

An Open Letter to my Daughter on the Occasion of her 8th Birthday

Dear Posey,

This morning I got up extra early to do the last of my ‘Mommy Work’ before I devote the rest of my day to you and whatever you want to do.

Truth be told, my entire life is devoted to being your mother (and the mother of your siblings) and I’m sorry that it doesn’t always look that way.

Sometimes I forget that 8 year old girls don’t care if the house is perfectly organized or if dinner is Pinterest worthy.

You look around and you see your homeThe place where your family is. 

I look around and see projects and tasks.

You wait patiently for your mother to just play with you. Or ‘have fun’.

I wait for the list to get done before I allow myself to play…and it never seems to get done.

 

I hope when you’re a mother you’ll do it better than me.

I hope you’ll remember what it feels like to be EIGHT and just want your Mama to have fun.

But I’m not taking any chances on you forgetting.

I’m going to start modeling that for you.

Starting today, and every day you’ll want to be with me.

Happy Birthday, my love.

Mommy

 

 

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My 2 Greatest Achievements as a Mother (so far)

On Mondays I blog about Marriage or Motherhood. Since I have 5 children and only 1 husband,  I mostly blog about Motherhood.

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Motherhood isn’t a job that gives you instant gratification.

For the most part, most of what you say, do, and instill in your children won’t really matter until they leave your nest.  This can be hard, especially on the hardest days when you feel no one is listening as you repeat yourself for the tenth (thousandth) time.

On those days I choose to focus on what I call milestone achievements.

While society would tell me that my ‘work’ doesn’t matter or that it isn’t a worthy enough contribution to society or womanhood, I focus on the buds sprouting in the lives of my family and our children.

My two greatest achievements as a mother

 

1. My children have a love of reading

Love of Books

I taught our four oldest children to read.  I witnessed the first words and the first book they’ve ever read on their own and I feel blessed to have done so.

There isn’t a day that goes by that they cannot be found reading, or a night that we don’t have to turn off the lights and pry the books out of their hands.

All those nights I read to them, when it would have been so much easier just to tuck them into bed. It wasn’t in vain.

2. My Children are Friends

Kids in pool

People from large families always say what a gift it is to be from a large family.  That there is nothing like the holidays with a roomful of siblings.  But that’s taking for-granted that the siblings all get along.  Not all families are close-knit.

Not all siblings get along.

I love that our children are friends. They actually like each other.  I might even venture to say that more often than not, they prefer one another.

When the Road Warrior and I became parents it was important to us that our children were close.  When we are gone from this earth they will still have each other.

We decided to be intentional about this goal, instead of just hoping for the best.  We felt the way to do this was to not play favorites.  Neither of us has a favorite child. 

When parents play favorites they allow seeds of resentment to grow in the heart(s) of the unfavored as they compete for attention or praise.  We make sure our kids never feel they are in competition with one another.

We don’t encourage or condone them tattling on one another.  We don’t compare them to one another.

We give them room to like each other.

While our children certainly have outside friendships, it’s true they spend the majority of time with each other.  This is mostly because they are homeschooled, but whenever I hear criticism about this fact, I think the same thing:  You could do a lot worse than having your brother or sister be your best friend in this life.

 

What would you say are your two greatest achievements as a mother?

 

 

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When Boys Pull Away from their Mother

On Mondays I blog primarily about Motherhood or Marriage.  This post is part of my Motherhood series.

Tortoise Transport

Our twin boys are about to turn ten.  In some ways I can hardly imagine that I’ve been Mothering them for ten years.

In other ways, I can barely remember a time when I wasn’t their Mother.

My first-borns.

My initiation into Motherhood.

My Double Portion Blessing.

 

I had heard that boys eventually begin pulling away from their mother around this age.

While I heard the words, I didn’t think they would apply to me.

I homeschool them.

I go on adventures with them.

I am the one primarily home with them.

How could they pull away from me?

 

It started slowly of course.

One son began stiffening when I touched his shoulder in public.

Another made his hand a limp noodle when I grabbed it in the parking lot one day.

With 5 sets of hands I usually defer to the smallest 2 so I hadn’t honestly noticed that last one for awhile.

Although it stung a bit, I could still laugh about it.

 

Then there was that time at Universal Studios.  We were all laughing and I was proud of myself for going on the Spider Man Ride 3 times without complaining or getting sick.

Looking for affirmation I asked them if they were having a good time.

 ”Yeah, but I wish Daddy was here.”

And I told myself that was okay, because didn’t I wish Daddy was here too?

 

But now we are drifting into new territory.

A territory where they have begun to ignore me, sigh, resist my authority, and most hurtful of all, save their stories for  just Daddy.

Where they used to tell me things and ask me questions, they now only value the answers their Father holds for them.

In their quest to become young men they have realized that he is the one better equipped to teach them about what it is to truly be a man.

And though it stings I’m glad I married well.

I am glad a married a man worthy of the honor and task of teaching my precious sons how to be men.

It hurts, I won’t lie.

Meanwhile,  I’ll be not-so-patiently waiting for the pendulum to swing in the opposite direction, when I’m told at 18 or 19 they’ll once again seek out their mother.

If only for a home-cooked meal and a clean bag of laundry.

I’ll take it.

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