I was not prepared for my role as mom to change so much over the years, especially the changes that have happened over the past 3 or so years! So much of it happened without much thought and I took on roles as my kids explored their passions and interests. Though I don’t go into it in this post, there are far more roles than those I am going to talk about! Some of those other roles are: chauffer, cook, maid, financial planner, therapist, doctor etc.
1st Time Mom
I was ready to become a new mom, at least to an extent. I don’t think you can be fully prepared for exactly what it means and feels like to be a first time mom. To hold your newborn baby in your arms and feel the responsibility of being their entire world. You really do, suddenly have the world on your shoulders. It’s the world of the precious child who now depends on you for everything. You, too, are their whole world!
I really did feel this weight. Not only about feeding, changing and clothing, but also loving, nurturing, and guiding this little person into being a wonderful grown up, someday.
Mom of several children
When I had my second child, I was no longer the mom of an only child. It was terrifying in a different way, than it was having my first. I worried and cried about whether or not I could love my second child as much as my first.
I’m not gonna lie! There were struggles. She was not a happy baby and it made it hard. I remember crying that I wanted to like my baby as much as I loved her. We definitely grew together through all of those rough times. It did take mental and emotional work and focusing on all the good; and it certainly helped to get all of her medical issues sorted out, but the love is and was definitely there.
I learned with my second, third and fourth that you love all your children, but not necessarily in the same way. We are silly to think we are going to love everyone exactly the same! Personalities work together in different ways. Different doesn’t mean more or less; it is just different.
My Roles and Changes
It is amazing how much your toddler changes when you bring a new baby home! My oldest was 3 and I still saw her as my little baby. Then, we brought her sister home and I watched and realized how much my 3 year old had truly grown up and wasn’t a baby anymore! It really was a blink of the eye and there she was an independent, thinking and doing child who was growing up, so fast!
One day, I realized how big my oldest was getting and realized that while I had toddlers, I wasn’t just a mom of toddlers. I had a daughter who was going to school and having very independent experiences of her own. Experiences I wasn’t a part of after being her world for the past 5 or so years!
When my oldest went into First Grade, it was hard on me and her sister. My second daughter’s sister and best friend was suddenly gone every day and she missed her like crazy. My girls are 3 years apart, but have always been really close and loved playing together. Number 2 wanted to be with her big sister so much and I, too, missed her all day long.
I volunteered to be a parent helper, during the first week of the first graders learning how to pick up their lunches. I was excited to be there and make sure my daughter got her lunch okay. I was assigned the 3rd day of lunches, so they had already had some practice. Oh, my disappointment when she waved me away and told me she was fine! I can still see her walking off with her lunch tray in hand talking to her new best friend as they found a seat together. I had to hold back my tears as I realized how big and independent my sweet little baby had become. She was no longer a baby and I suddenly felt so unneeded. I went home and cried.
This came as a huge surprise. You can read our homeschool story to learn more about why we decided to go this route. I didn’t expect to enjoy this role as much as I have. It was a really hard transition, but has been worth it!
My oldest had tried dance when she was 3 and hated it! She would ask everyday if today was dance day and when I would say no she would say, “Yeah!” and jump up and down. When I heard the other moms say their daughters asked every day if today was dance and when they said no, their daughters would get sad and sometimes cry. That’s when I knew that dance wasn’t her thing!
All my girls enjoyed gymnastics at some point. Some loved it and stayed with it and others moved on to try other activities that better suited them.
As a gym mom, I often watched practices, went to gymnastics meets, volunteered with fundraisers and other gym events and helped with being the gym photographer. I loved our gym life mostly because it was great to watch my girls excel in something they really enjoyed and did well in.
Daughter #2 wrote a great post for her blog about what she learned from gymnastics.
It was as hard on me when that part of our life ended as it was on them! Gymnastics was a part of our life for almost 20 years!
Mom with new baby
We repeated this role 4 times! I would say the last time was the easiest as far as having multiple children in the house goes. What a difference it made having a 10 year old and a 7 year old who were excited about the new baby and eager to help! (The 4 year old wasn’t very helpful and struggled the most in adjusting to a new baby sister.)
However, it became increasingly challenging to juggle a new baby and the activities of kids 10, 7 and 4 years old! Not to mention the serious complication and health issues I had after that last baby.
Soccer Mom and More. . .
Various sports were tried and during those times I was soccer mom, softball mom, archery, etc. Driving to practices, finding the field, I even coached basketball once, and sitting through games in the cold weather.
I was the “my daughter is an art student mom”. My daughter had to go to museums and view pieces of art to fulfill her requirements and I often went with her. This was fascinating. She shared her interests with me and I got to see things through her eyes.
You can check out her art and writing blog here.
Dance, again. . .
I was dance mom again when #2 made the dance team at the high school. We would go to performances, make sure she had costumes listen to music she was considering using, take pictures and video. I went with her to see professional dance performances to fulfill requirements for her dance classes. I went with her to auditions.
Piano mom: I made sure they all practiced, went to their lessons, worked on music theory, learned notes, etc. However, my husband often helped with piano and singing with the girls. He is very musical and I actually barely read music and don’t really play an instrument. (Did I mention. . . several people in my family (the one I grew up in) are tone deaf?!)
Daughter #3 went to a performing arts charter high school for 1 1/2 years. The program didn’t fit her area of music very well and eventually she moved on. However, during that time we encouraged her to reach out to a famous pianist for an interview for one of her classes. David Lanz graciously gave her an over the phone interview. Definitely a highlight to this piano experience. You can read more about why my husband did more with helping with piano here.
I love that all of my girls have gotten to do some theater. I directed a play they were in, coached acting, helped memorize lines, run lines, driven to practice, gone to performances, and recorded through pictures and video their experiences.
Mom of teens
At one point, I had 3 teen daughters in the house! It really wasn’t too bad. There is so much hussle and bussle with teens and shuttling them to and fro! When I was a younger mom I didn’t believe mom’s who said they were busier with teens, until I had teens!
Looking forward to not having a brand new driver! It is sometimes really scary being in the passenger seat with a learning driver! This is my last learning to drive teen and I get so nervous! She is really a good driver, but I still get so anxious!
What I learned
- I learned to like the things my kids were interested
- I learned with them and that trying new things is important
- I learned that they aren’t always going to like what I like; they have their own interests
- I learned that trying several things doesn’t mean you are a quitter but rather you are trying to find your passion
- I learned that I love whatever my children love (somethings more than others)
- I learned that when my children love doing something it is not a bother, but when they aren’t enjoying it is hard on everyone
- I learned to listen
- I learned how to be the cheerleader they needed me to be (some needed more encouragement and others needed to just be heard)
- It’s important to find time for yourself and the things you like to do
- I learned that the only thing constant in life is change
- I learned that change isn’t always a bad thing even though it can be hard
- I love my family
- Children and parents can have close, healthy relationships
- Communication and not taking things personally is really important
- Things often work out
Just last year, we got our first son! I became a Mother-In-Law. It has it’s adjustments to the whole family as another person is added and everyone tries to find their place and how everyone fits together.
It won’t be long before grandma gets added in as a new role and what a blessed day and time that will be!
However, I don’t feel ready to be an empty nester. I find myself sad and wanting to cry as I write this. I love having my girls around and at home. I loved their growing up years. There are so many things I miss about when they were younger.
I know my time with my youngest is precious. We have a few short years to make count, before she heads off to college.
Strategy for moving into the empty nester stage
- Explore interests I didn’t have time to do when the kids where young
- I’m doing this blog
- Work on my house and yard
I think I’m going to want a different house when my kids are all on their own. This house was great for raising a family but it isn’t a great “gathering” house.