I got to spend some time with a sister this weekend. We did a lot of errands. We cut up some trees. But most importantly, I deepened my connection with some women. It’s the most important thing in the world to me: to create connections and deepen existing connections.
While we were cutting the trees, I was given a chance to think about the direction of Michigan Framily Reunion, Year of the Mother. I contemplated what being a mother really means to me. It’s not an easy job. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not something you can ever be ready for but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it well. Doing it well can look different for different moms and that is the beauty of being a women and a mother. there is no one way to do it.
The intention of MFR is the Year of the Mother. Being a mother for me is super fulfilling and super frustrating. It is overwhelming and sucks out your soul but it also fills your heart with joy and happiness and incredible love.
As a mother, I learned all of my best life skills. I learned to be nurturing. It takes a special kind of person to set their own needs aside to take care of an infant, toddler, and even more so, a teenager.
I remember being pregnant for #5, sitting on the floor of my kids’ bedroom, reading out loud. I was 8 months pregnant, fat as a house, and exhausted. But I valued reading to my children. I took it seriously to help their little brains to form connections and neural pathways that couldn’t be formed by watching tv or playing on the computer. But I was tired. I was so tired. Then #5 climbed up my stomach so she could breastfeed. I broke down sobbing, “I want my body back”. Every inch of me was given to my kids and to my ex-husband. I don’t regret a bit of it.
When I left my ex-husband, it was not a decision made lightly. I had been married for 14 years. I had 8 small children. My youngest was 1.5 years old and my oldest was 10.5 years old. I didn’t have a job. I didn’t have any training except for what I learned from being a mom, which was a lot.
I chose to leave him because I didn’t want my daughters to grow up thinking that what they saw between my ex and I was love. It was unhealthy. It was toxic. It was abusive. It was sick. I didn’t want them to think our relationship was an example of a good, loving relationship.
I didn’t want my sons to grow up thinking that was how they should treat women. I didn’t want them to think ignoring, rudeness, and emotional abandonment are the ways to cope with stress. I didn’t want them to grow up to be assholes too.
It was completely worth it. I was scared. I had no idea how I was going to support my family. I was apprenticing as a home-birth midwife. I wanted to change the world through gentle birth and empowering women with their power through labor and birth. But I had to do what was best for my family. I needed to do the best for my kids. I wanted them to know something better.
I found a way. I found a way to support my family. I found a way to work through the fear. I went through the fear. I didn’t avoid it. Although I tried to avoid it by dating too much. I had to go through it. I had to find the other side, not even knowing what that was supposed to be. I just knew that I needed to do what I needed to do. I kept swimming.
One of the reasons I homeschooled my children was the hope that I would build a relationship with them that would soften the blows of the teenage years. Although, homeschooling my kids did build a great base of hard work, dedication, and a great education, it did not alleviate the angst of raising teenagers.
I have raised 6 teenagers. My youngest son is 16 and my youngest daughter is 18. We are still in the deep throes of isolating, knowing it all, and just being plain rude af. Parenting teenagers sucks. They argue about everything or they just ignore you because OBVI mom is way too stupid to understand anything about life or being a teenager. Pushing back against them, pushing them to do the right thing, work hard, and be kind, it’s all so much work. I hate it. I love it. When I finally do make a connection with one of them is so much more meaningful. When they “get it” or they act with integrity, kindness, or empathy, I, sometimes, break out in tears since most of the time they are just plain asses. But these little bits of connection show me that I am doing a halfway decent job as a mom. When I see my successful adult children, I know that I have done good.
This is what being a mother is, loving, fighting, pushing, encouraging, motivating, trying again, yelling, discipline, teaching, loving, trying again. We do whatever we need to do to make our kids need, what our family needs, what our FRAMILY needs.
Year of the Mother has special significance to me as a mother of a TRIBE of children and a Tribe of my Framily. Although, I have never done anything perfectly, I keep doing what I need to do. Sometimes that means learning new lessons. Oftentimes, it means learning new lessons. Sometimes it means working my ass off and feeling unappreciated. But sometimes it is the greatest joy and love of my life.
#findingmybestlife #findingthejuicy #mfr19yearofthemother