So the month of April pretty much flew right by me. It seemed to be one adventure after another. Then we get to the end of the month and I had that whole blow up with the family member. That blow up brought some issues right to the surface that I had tried to bury away in the recesses of my mind.
So April flies by and I hardly even realize it’s May until I start reading guest blog postings on the blog, SMITTEN BY. They were all really good posts about being mothers and what that all means in each persons life. There was one that resonated with me because of the feelings I was feeling at the moment. I am sharing it below…
“Becoming a CONFIDENT Mother!
MAY 2, 2012 By Emily C.
Just over 5 years ago, I became a mother for the very first time. It was everything and more than I expected. The EVERYTHING was the positive and the MORE was the negative side to motherhood that I had no clue even existed! When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I signed up for a weekly email that basically told me what was going on with my unborn baby each week. Once my baby was born, I began to search the same website that sent me these weekly updates a little more and found it was a community for mothers. I thought it was awesome!
I remember reading a thread that started with a valid question about how this specific mother needed advice on a question she had. Wanting answers to the same question, I read the replies and was so SHOCKED to read several of the responses. The responses were posted by various mothers who each parented in entirely different ways and who each felt their way was right and belittled the others who didn’t agree with them.
Seriously? I thought this crap only existed in high school! Since that thread, I’ve had a few direct experiences of my own where someone else has expressed their opinions on my own personal parenting style.
Motherhood is SO personal and when someone is really trying to do their best, it really doesn’t matter what others think. My purpose with this post is not to talk parenting styles and argue what is right parenting and what is wrong. Instead, I am going to dig deep and get really personal and share how I’ve gained the confidence I’ve needed in myself as a mother and how I came to be able to tune out the background noise. (other‘s opinions)
Lets start from the beginning. When my first baby girl was just 8 months old, I found out I was pregnant again. I was even on birth control! I had the HARDEST time coping with the news. How was I going to care for 2 babies??? Did I mention that my husband travels for work and is gone 4 days every week? I know that many women have had closer babies, BUT they are all super women and I am just an ordinary woman! Anyway, I ended up miscarrying at 11 weeks. I don’t know if I can express the feelings that went through my soul with that miscarriage to where they’ll make any sense. Basically, I felt like I was being punished because instead of being grateful for the experience to have another child while so many other women will never get the experience to have even just one, I was worrying about frivolous things.
Time passed and I overcame that hurdle. Two years after my first baby girl was born, I had my 2nd baby girl! I had completed a pregnancy that was on my own terms. Two little girls–I felt so incredibly blessed! Once my 2nd baby girl turned 4 months old, I found out I was pregnant AGAIN! What??? I had even switched to the Nuva Ring since the pill OBVIOUSLY didn’t work for me. I was overwhelmed to say the least. BUT I came to terms with it and just embraced the thought that this was going to be my biggest trial in life– having a gaggle of babies all at once. Boy was I in for a surprise!
It has been two years since I had my 3rd baby girl. It was CRAZY! I think our minds have a way of coping with tough situations and mine went into survival mode. When my husband would leave for work for a few days, I remember thinking, “just make it to bed time….. just make it to bed time…“ Baby #3 soon turned 2 months old and I know what you’re thinking, “She totally found out she was pregnant again!” No. I wish that was it! What I found was that I had an Adam’s Apple. My MIL, who happens to be a nurse, pointed out the bulge on my neck and I told her I had found it a few days earlier and not to worry because it’s just my Adam’s Apple. She then told me that women don’t have Adam’s Apples. Oh…. So I went in and had it checked.
A few specialists, x-rays, ultrasounds, needle pokes, and 3 months later, I found it was a tumor on my thyroid and I needed to have it removed. I had surgery to remove part of my thyroid and tumor. The pathology reports came back after my surgery and indicated that it was Follicular Thyroid Cancer. Awesome! I get to die now and leave all these babies I just recently had. After all, isn’t that was happens when you have cancer??? You die? That same feeling of guilt that came with my miscarriage came rushing back and I felt like I was being punished. I actually started to think that maybe I was a terrible mother like I had been told me and maybe this was God’s way of taking my experience as a mother away from me! It sounds so ridiculous now, but these are the true thoughts I had in my inner core at the time.
Time went by and I am elated to inform you that I made it over that hurdle too! I am not writing about these experiences for sympathy, but I do have one last hurdle I need to write about before I get to my point. One year after my cancer treatment was complete, I found out I had a large growth the size of a soft ball in my uterus, and was advised by my doctor that I should have a hysterectomy but that he’d leave the final decision up to me. I began to pray like crazy! After a lot of prayers, I remember getting my answer CLEAR AS DAY.
I believe in God. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Had I waited until it was on MY TERMS to have my babies, they all wouldn’t have been able to make it here. So what I thought was a burden, (having 3 babies (4 pregnancies) so close together) was actually the BIGGEST blessing God could have given me!! All that guilt that had been weighing on my shoulders went away. Hearing that someone thinks I am a sorry fit for a mother didn’t matter. What matters is what God thinks of me and I tend to feel he thinks I’m pretty important if he trusted me enough to put the lives of these three beautiful girls in my care!
In the end, it doesn’t matter that I didn’t love breast feeding, or if I did not potty train the way someone else thought I should. What matters most is I value life and I value myself and I value motherhood–the way I choose to do it. I truly feel that letting go of what others think has been a huge progress in my life. I am a better wife, mother, and friend because of it. I am so very thankful for the trials that I have been given in my life because I KNOW first hand that life is too short for the trivial drama life occasionally throws at us. I have also learned that having contentious relationships is a decision. I have chosen in my own life to stop engaging in these relationships.
The best way I’ve ever heard it explained is we all have a bubble around us. We get to be the one to choose who is allowed inside our bubbles–these are the people we fully trust. These are the people who’s opinions matter. All others are just background noise. Let their opinions come and then let them bounce right off your bubble. You might have to pull away for a while in order to reach that point. I sure did. So go now and clean out your bubbles and MAKE the decision that you’re going to live a high quality of life with high quality of people surrounding you and your bubble!
It will change your life. I PROMISE!!!”
So this really hit a note with me. I shouldn’t be focusing on becoming the PERFECT mother, instead I should focus on becoming a CONFIDENT mother, which I’m so not. There are many days I wish I didn’t have children. And that’s not because I don’t want them or I’m not incredibly lucky and blessed to have these wonderful 5 spirits in my home. It’s because I’m afraid of screwing them up. I’m afraid of them becoming adults who despise me and have the feelings of “Why Was I Even Born?” or “I Didn’t Ask To Be Born.” type attitudes. It really does scare me.
I thought I was ready to be a mother when Tanis was born, but I quickly learned just how little I knew. I remember staying up with him into the wee hours of the morning (he’s been my only kid that had issues for a bit with day and night – though it wasn’t as horrible as I’ve heard from other people) and just being so stressed out. We were in a small apartment with neighbors and I was so afraid to just let him cry. It was a difficult time in my life.
Then as the years progressed we kept adding more kids and we realized just how easily we are able to have children. It wasn’t what I had planned for my life. In fact in High School I hardly thought of motherhood at all. I was going to be a career woman (even though I had NO IDEA what career that would be) and if kids happened along the side that would be okay. Being a working woman it’d only mean I’d have a couple kids, right?
It’s funny how life throws changes your way. As soon as I got married, I wanted to have children with Eric and I felt strongly that that was the course I needed to take my life. Even recently when I’ve applied for jobs, and not got them – it’s become quite apparent that I need to be home with my kids.
So, anyway I’ve felt very weighed down with the feelings that I’m doing everything wrong lately and I just haven’t felt happy. I kept reading these guest posts and started to feel uplifted and more sure in the way that I choose to parent my children. I was also very blessed to have the realization that I may not be raising my children to be some big-wig in the ways of the world, but I am allowing them to become the people their Heavenly Father set out for them to be. I feel very strongly that I am doing that.
Then I get the best Mother’s Day gift I could ever receive. Lex came home from school on Friday and was so excited to give me his gift. I told him I wanted to wait until Sunday to open it, but he was INSISTENT that I open it right then and there, so I did so. It literally made all of the raw and bad feelings I had been feeling for an entire month disappear!
I do need to mention that Lex is the child I struggle with most. He’s the one who is constantly feeling unloved and picked on. So hearing these sweet things come from this child made me realize that maybe I’m not doing such a horrible job with him (and the others) likeas I was thinking.
1. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOUR MOM ALWAYS SAYS TO YOU? I Love You
2. WHAT MAKES YOUR MOM HAPPY? Giving Her Flowers
3. WHAT MAKES YOUR MOM SAD? Being Mean
4. HOW DOES YOUR MOM MAKE YOU LAUGH? Tickles Me
5. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM WAS LIKE AS A CHILD? Happy
6. HOW OLD IS YOUR MOM? 31(He’s only off by a year… 😉 )
7. HOW TALL IS YOUR MOM? 28 Inches
8. WHAT IS YOUR MOM’S FAVORITE THING TO DO? Exercise (Oh, if only!)
9. WHAT DOES YOUR MOM DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT AROUND? Helps My Baby Brother And Sister
10. IF YOUR MOM BECOMES FAMOUS WHAT WILL IT BE FOR? Painting Good Pictures (This is news to me…)
11. WHAT IS YOUR MOM REALLY GOOD AT? Loving
12. WHAT IS YOUR MOM NOT VERY GOOD AT? Being Mean
13. WHAT DOES YOUR MOM DO FOR HER JOB? Takes Care Of Kids
14. WHAT IS YOUR MOM’S FAVORITE FOOD? Tacos (It’t not, but that’s okay.)
15. WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF YOUR MOM? That She Makes Stuff For Us
16. IF YOUR MOM WERE A CARTOON CHARACTER, WHO WOULD SHE BE? Girl Being Saved (I guess I’m the resident Damsel In Distress…)
17. WHAT DO YOU AND YOUR MOM DO TOGETHER? Family Home Evening
18. HOW ARE YOU AND YOUR MOM THE SAME? We Are In The Same Family
19. HOW ARE YOU AND YOUR MOM DIFFERENT? Our Faces Are Different
20. HOW DO YOU KNOW YOUR MOM LOVES YOU? Because When I Was A Baby She Was So Happy I Was Born (I couldn’t have come up with this…I loved how pure this answer was.)
21. WHERE IS YOUR MOM’S FAVORITE PLACE TO GO? Olive Garden (Guess I MIGHT go there a little to often)
22. WHY DO YOU LOVE YOUR MOM? She Is Always Nice To Me
Oh how I love Lex and who he is. He is such a ray of sunshine in my life when I’m really feeling low. I’m so thankful for his words and the words of complete strangers that I have read lately. It’s helped me out when I really needed it.
Living life on this note, my Mother’s Day was a pretty good day and I will post a bit more about that in the upcoming days.