Reflections on a Quarter Century of Mothering

Reflections on a Quarter Century of Mothering

Jana has kindly allowed me to take over the blog for this week’s post. – Cindy

 

My oldest child turned 25 this week. This is not only a milestone birthday for my son, but it is also a milestone for me as a mother — a quarter of a century of mothering!  Much of the early years with my children are a blur but there are some memories that stand out.

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I remember:

  • how my mother-in-law helped me after the birth of our first child. She cooked, cleaned and generally pretended that she knew nothing about babies. She made me feel like I was the expert.

 

  • how proud we were of our first baby. My husband and I argued over who should carry him into church for the first time (I won!).

 

  • my 6 year old being present at the birth of our second child. His reaction to the birth: “Sometimes you feel so happy you could cry.”photo 5

 

  • the painful 6 years of waiting for our second child to be born. I felt my heart would burst with happiness on my first Mother’s day as a mom of two.

 

  • thinking that “sibling rivalry” was something that happened in the first 2 weeks after the birth of a new baby. I have learned that it is a lifelong condition!

 

  • spending the night in the hospital after the birth of my youngest. Our oldest child phoned me, feeling sad. I sympathized, “It’s sad to miss mommy, isn’t it?” He replied, “It’s the baby I miss!”

 

  • wondering if I would ever have the time or energy to get my bathroom clean.

 

  • being expected to put on a shower for a newly engaged couple at a time I wasn’t getting more than 4 hours sleep a night.

photo 3

  • our amazement about how different each of our children were, right from birth. How can two parents have three children who are so different?

 

  • how much energy my middle child had as a toddler. I made it my mission to “run him” outdoors every day. One day I paid him a penny each time he ran up the hill behind our house. He didn’t stop until he earned a dollar!

 

  • using a Rubbermaid bucket to bathe children while camping and later using that same bucket to make them a “hot tub” on our deck.

 

  • how delightful it was to nap while snuggled up with a toddler.

 

  • my children doing the “bare naked dance” (i.e.: jumping on my bed after bath time).

Some things I did well:

 

  • Without realizing its importance, I married a laid back and patient man. He has helped to counter balance my “less laid back” self and has made me a better mother.

 

  • photo 4I breastfed my babies. When my first child was born, I didn’t know about its health benefits. In my family, that was how babies were fed.  Years later, I looked after my niece who was bottle fed. I was amazed at the work involved with formula feeding!

 

  • I did lots of activities with my kids when they were preschoolers: library story time, skating, tobogganing, biking, and the zoo. I miss those times.

 

  • I made sure we camped every summer as a family. For us, it was a time to connect without a lot of distractions. (My children probably have less than happy memories of the campground hikes I forced upon them…)

 

  • Our kids were always allowed to crawl into our bed when they needed us. Some people worry their children will be in their beds forever; we are living proof that it does end. We can assure you that we have never had a teenager come sleep with us.

 

  • I loved my kids fiercely and I still do! Heaven help you if you aren’t kind to my children (as a couple of their teachers discovered…).

 

  • I apologized to my children when I messed up (and it was often!)

 

  • I made the choice to work part-time. It meant we had less “things” but we had more of what was most important to us — time with our kids.

Things I wish I had done differently (Note: There are NUMEROUS mistakes I have made but to preserve my dignity, I will only list a few):

 

  • photo-27I was given a formula sample some time after my oldest was born. He had been exclusively breastfed to that point but I noticed that it was nearing its expiry date.  I fed it to him so it wouldn’t “go to waste”. Illogical to me now…

 

  • I felt embarrassed that our house was untidy and cluttered with children’s toys. I wish I had turned a blind eye to the mess.

 

  • I wish I hadn’t yelled at my kids when I was stressed. I was the one who should have gone into time out.

 

  • I wish I had paid more attention to nutrition. I remember serving a lot of Kraft Dinner and hotdogs for lunch.

 

  • I wish I had allowed myself to take breaks away from my children. I thought a “good” mother would be available to her children all the time. In retrospect, I would have been a “better” mother if I had allowed myself a break.

A quarter of a century is a long time. It amazing how little I remember. (Hint: When someone with older children tries to tell you how they did it, don’t believe them. They likely cannot really remember either!)

 

“The fingerprints move up and up the window, and then they disappear.”

Enjoy your children, no matter what their age.

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Other posts you may enjoy: Why Cindy & Jana? and Creating NuuNest.

IMG_9687 4About the authors:

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

Download their app NuuNest – Newborn Nurse Answers and Baby Tracking for expert guidance through the first crucial weeks after childbirth.

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