At the start of each year, we often take time for self-reflection, starting new projects and making resolutions. Many of us begin the new year with hopes to improve ourselves. What a perfect time to feature a series of posts on gaining wisdom! Over the course of this month, we'll continue to post interviews with experienced mothers and feature stories written by women about what they've learned, and are continuing to learn, about motherhood. Thank you for starting the new year with us. We wish you all a very happy and inspired year of growth! ~TMC About a year ago, I “met” Emily through her blog, Weak and Loved. I always enjoy reading Emily's posts because it feels like sitting down to chat with another mom over coffee. Her mama-love for her children is obvious, but so is her admittance that, yes, we do have bad days. Yes, sometimes those same beloved children do want to make me want to run screaming from the house.
Because that's really what motherhood is about, isn't it? Loving unconditionally, taking deep breaths on those bad days, and then getting up to do it all over again (early) the next morning.
So keeping all that in mind, here's a bit of a recent chat, where Emily shares a little of the good, the bad, and the ugly:
Let’s start things off with a little about you. I know that that you are a pastor’s wife and a very busy mom. What else should we know about you?
I do what I do each day upheld by grace and coffee.
I read and write to keep my sanity!
Now, let’s talk kids!
How many children do you have? What years were they born?
I have six children: Lorraine (2003), Aggie (2004- when daddy was serving in Iraq), Seth (2006), Marcus (2007), Eldon (2009), and Peter (2010.)
What do you remember fondly about those newborn and infant days?
I have always been a “baby person.” I love the tiny snuggles, and the excuse that nursing gives me to just sit, just be with the baby for hours a day. I love the amazement in their eyes as they discover the world, and I love how they help me see the world with wonder again.
Then, when I had older children, I enjoyed watching them change and fill the role of “big brother” or “big sister.” Siblings are a gift to each other, and I love watching their tiny hearts grow bigger as they get to know each other.
Do you remember any difficulties you had?
Though I loved being pregnant, I did not love the last trimester. I had an “irritable uterus” and lots of early labor. This got worse with each child- earlier and harder. An irritable uterus makes for an irritable mama!
I also remember that postpartum feeling of “how can I do this? There’s just not enough of me to go around!” With each child I learned new ways to juggle things, and noticed more things I could let go. A good mother is not a perfect mother, and children may not get everything they might want from me. Yet, God loves these kids more than I do, and He gave me to them. He uses my imperfect efforts to care for them every day. It is enough.
I also struggled with postpartum depression more than once. I’ve learned depression doesn’t make sense… but that is no reason to suffer silently with it. If you think you may be struggling with depression, say it out loud to someone how loves you.
Did things get easier or harder with subsequent children?
It gets harder:
Of course, the noise level and chaos level increases with each one. (I credit flylady.net for teaching me to juggle the chaos and keep my sanity at the same time.) There are more conflicts and more things left undone at the end of the day. Now as they are getting involved in school, the schedules are becoming more complicated. I am surprised to find that my big kids do not actually need less of me. They are more independent, of course, and they can take care of their physical needs, but it takes work to stay emotionally connected and engaged with them in their growing worlds. It takes time and effort and energy! Just like when they were little, I still find myself praying, God give me the strength to be a good mama today!
But it also gets easier:
I can now send them all out to the van, and hop in, and drive away. The big ones buckle the little ones, and get their picture books and sippy cups, and entertain them on the way. Big kids are wonderful. (I had no idea!)
I got sick this week, and I could hardly believe what happened: I was cared-for. Me, a mother! Cared-for by my own children! The big kids watched the little ones, made meals, cleaned, and even made sure I had fresh ice water!
Did your children have any serious illnesses?
We have had a few ER trips: One for a toddler who ate the Christmas lights! He literally chewed and swallowed four light bulbs. He was fine.
Another for a concussion (a son fell from the top bunk bed, with a little help from his brother.)
And a couple other minor scrapes and injuries.
Our biggest health trial was with our second daughter. Shortly after her fourth birthday, our daughter Aggie began having seizures. Short, daydream-like seizures became more dramatic and more frequent in the following year, despite many anti-epileptic medications. In the summer of 2009, she had a seizure at least every hour, sometimes turning blue, and often needing emergency medication for seizures that would not ‘let her go.’ We took her to Cleveland Clinic where they removed an extremely rare brain tumor. She has been seizure free since that day.
(I wrote a book about our experience, how God dragged us through- I mean, carried us, through that year. I learned so much about His love and living as His child during that year. The book is called Weak and Loved: A Mother Daughter Lovestory.)
See? I told you it's like sitting down for a cup of coffee. A much needed cup of coffee. Thanks, Emily, for sharing!