Seven Years of Being a Mommy
Our First Family Photo
What Seven Years Has Taught Me
1. It's amazingly cruel how little sleep Mommies get. And how we are expected to behave like normal, productive, 8-hours-a-night citizens. Of course, I should tell you that I am writing this after my daughter hosted her first sleepover and this Mommy didn't sleep much. Actually, it was much like having a newborn in the house. I was up about once every 90 minutes or so. The girls took turns needing something, or simply not sleeping, throughout the night. I'm not complaining... I adore them all. And they were so well behaved and sweet. Plus, I've got two kids. This woman has done the no-sleeping-tonight thing too many times to count over the last seven years. The thing that struck me this morning was that my husband was commenting to one of the Moms that he's tired. I tilted my head and looked at him. He quickly revised his statement. He said "Well, I at least slept all night with Buddy upstairs. Momma was the one up all night with the girls."
I was thinking about how women get way less sleep than men. I know my husband will have some lame argument to this, but I think Mommies sleep less. Period. Kids are sick? Mommy is up and down all night dolling out meds and cleaning sheets and butts. Baby is hungry? Mommy is rocking and nursing baby. Baby teething? Mommy is up walking, rocking, singing to and just about anything to Baby to relieve the pain. Kid had a mild head trauma? Mommy is up all night making sure that Kid doesn't sleep on that side of her head. Where's Dad? Snoring peacefully in his bed. I know because all of this has happened in our house. Oh well, complaining about this is a completely different entry altogether.
The point is, Mommies function on very little sleep. And we are all expected to do so. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
2. The parts of my personality that I maybe dislike a bit get magnified and mirrored back at me. Listen, I get grumpy. Or I am grumpy... depends on who you ask. I think I am usually pretty good at going with the flow. I think I can, despite #1, wake up relatively happy. But I occasionally can be a miserable-miser. When I am grumpy, my speech (both word choice and tone) reflects it. I have noticed that the little Stu monsters do the same. It's more apparent in one of them... but whatever, everyone has their bad moments.
A while ago I realized that my daughter is my husband. She may look like my tiny twin, but she is a small version of my husband. He thinks he poops rainbows, so he doesn't accept much credit here. Anyone who really knows both of them (and isn't trying to suck it to Big Stu) will tell you that they are twins. I diagnosed this condition as Stuitis - it has two major symptoms: StuHungry or StuTired. I wrote another blog about this a year or so ago. You can check it out if you'd like. Just click here and enjoy.
3. Traditions are important. Holidays are magical - all of them. Even ones I didn't realize were holidays to be celebrated (particularly St Patty's Day). We aren't Irish. I thought St Patrick's Day was a holiday for college peeps to get wasted and wear green. Who knew there was a market for little kids to enjoy it?
It started in Pre-K for Rea. Her teachers had a visit from a leprechaun on 3/17. The little guy apparently peed in the toilet (green food coloring). Rea was really unhappy that a leprechaun didn't stop by our house. As luck would have it, one came the following year! He left us a pot full of gold (candy) and I made green pancakes. This has been our usual practice on March 17th.
4. I'd beat up a kid. I mean, the urge to protect my child is physical and sometimes a tad violent... The old adage of being a "Momma Bear" or "Momma Lion" is totally true. It kills me when my kid cries because of another. There have been a few instances where I've had to step in as the Mom and refuse playdates and limit the interaction as much as possible between my kid and another.
The problem with this is that I don't want to be a helicopter parent. I think it's crucial for kids to make mistakes or work out their own problems while they live with us... It's good to let them figure things out for themselves while the stakes are low and we are around. That way when they grow up and are on their own, they'll be well-equipped to handle their issues.
But alas, I can't stay completely in the shadows. Momma Bear is going to protect her cubbies.
5. The flip side to #4 is that it kills me when my child is the one causing hurt and pain to another. Empathy is a really difficult thing to teach someone. It's also, in my opinion, one of the most important and under-taught traits. Think about how many problems/issues/tense situations might be avoided if we all thought about who the other side really feels or will feel when we go through with our plans.
Time, Please Slow Down
I know it's cliché. And ever since the day she was born, older and wiser people have told me that kids grow up way too fast. It's true.
I cannot believe that it was seven years ago that I got the best gift from God. Rea made me a Mommy. I am so impressed with the girl she has grown into, and even though it freaks me out, I am excited to know the woman she is going to be one day.
She's done some things recently that have made me stop and smell the roses... I want to remember this.
This one was at school. Rea brought in the church song book for "show and tell". I was taken back by her selection. Show and tell in the 1st grade isn't something they get to do regularly. So the fact that she chose this is interesting. On the way to school she was chatting about how excited she was to show her friends this book.
Fast forward. Pick up car line. Rea's teacher came up and told me that Rea belted out an entire 3-verse song! She said Rea was so confident and proud.
I am without words. There are so many things that I love about this particular story. I am so grateful for her love of God and church. I adore that Shane has taught her these songs and that they sing together at home (I can't carry a tune to save my life). I am stunned by her self-confidence. As someone who struggled with this for almost ever, I am so relieved that she felt comfortable enough in herself to do that. I am incredibly grateful for her teacher... It says a lot about the safe zone she has created in her classroom. I love that she allowed Rea to share that part of herself with her peers.
Which age group is the easiest to raise?
Let's Hear It...
As parents, I think we are always in the market for new and fun holiday traditions to do in our homes... In the comment section, share with us one or two of yours.