Mothering In the Trenches: The Beautiful Chaos

I was asked by my Churches Womans Ministery to share a little about my story as a mother so far. I took this as a great honor and spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I could even offer these ladies? I have only been a mom for 3 years and 6 months and 2 days?

I sat down and just started writing about what life is like in my crazy house. I soon realized that I didn’t want to just talk to Moms, I wanted to talk to all women. I have always had this deep love for my fellow sisters. My Female Friends have always played a vital role in my life since I was really young. Sisterhood in Friendships is so important. So that inspired the speech I am now going to share with you. I had a few people who wanted to hear it but couldn’t make it out so I am posting it here for all to read:)

This is a subject I am very passionate about and I am excited to share it with you.

Here it is:

“It is Such a great honor standing in this room with all of you women. So many amazing women with amazing families and waaaay more depth of knowledge on any topic I could ever talk about.  I first came to breakaway as a “mom” when my oldest was 3 months old. I along with my best friend, took the mommy and me class. It is a super special memory. I grew up in this church as well. I left for a few years living in Ontario but quickly learned the errors of my ways and came back.

I am going to talk to you about my experience with parenting those tiny little human beings who you think you have figured out one moment and then in a blink of an eye, you seem to not know anything about them. Children, They are crazy and wonderful all wrapped up in one. They can remember what you promised them three Tuesdays ago at 3:15pm right after they ate that apple off the floor in the bathroom. Yet they cant remember what you asked them to do 3 minutes ago. They are such tiny little people but require the most space in your house. They can’t do a tone of stuff yet they consume your whole day. They sleep whenever they want which never lines up with when you want to sleep.

Children are ever changing and growing and as a Mother, Aunt, Grandma, so are we because of the impact they have on us. They teach us way more about ourselves then their little self-centred brains realize. They think the world revolves around them. And they are right.

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I am a mom of 2 beautiful, wonderful, conceited and stubborn children. They both rocked my world with their entrance into it. My son is 3 and My daughter is 2. They are 16 months apart. I found out I was having my daughter while holding my son in my arms. I remember thinking it was ironic that I couldn’t even get a moment of privacy to pee on a stick to find out if I was going to have another bathroom invader on my hands. Is that irony? I am too tired to figure it out.

Motherhood changes you. Not “Can” change you. It does. No matter how you become a mom. You will never be the same when that sweet little person enters your life.

I am not just a stay at home mom(although that is enough of a job in itself.) I also run a small daycare in our home. Because we needed the extra income and my profession as an Early Childhood Educator seemed to suggest that this was the easiest and most obvious choice for us after my matt leave was up. I started to take two children in at a time.

I have been taking in children since my son was 10 months old. I have chosen families who have the same outlook on parenting and life as we do and whose children are along the same ages and stages as my own. So on most days I have a house filled with 4 children under the age of 3. It is beautifully chaotic.

So I consider myself to be an expert at mothering in the trenches. What I mean by that is :” mothering children under 6 years of age. Currently.  Right now. That is my life. The mother trenches! When said fast enough and in a deep enough voice it can sound really hard core. And in my opinion. I am hard core.

My husband also thinks he is Hard core. My husband was in the army. He never got deployed but he did do all the training. He spent a summer doing basic training here in Chilliwack when he was 19 years old. He often tells me the same stories over and over. As we get older my reaction to them is a little different. At first I started out quite enthralled and entranced by his manilyness. I thought. There is no way I could ever do that! That is so hard! You are so Strong.

We got married. My reaction stayed the same.because he is my husband now. The strongest man alive is my husband. Newly weds.

I got pregnant. This is when Things shifted. I started to be able to relate to his pain and stories of uncomfortable sleeping or the weight of his back pack while hiking around didn’t seem as amazing or unbelieveable anymore.

Well, after I delivered our first child, after 18 hours of labor, after enduring being induced. 9 days overdue.  His army stories now  didn’t get much empathy  from me anymore and now result  in me cutting him off short and reminding him of how our beautiful  son AND daughter (10 days late) came into the world.

Men just do not get it. I love my husband. He is novel worthy of me explaining how wonderful he is. But when it comes to being a mother and the sacrifices we make he will never actually understand. This is amazing because he is super intelligent. He is a lawyer. You would think he could figure this one out.

I recently learned about an octopus who lays her eggs. Stays in the den until they hatch and starves to death as her very last breath helps hatch the eggs. Dedication. Love. Sacrifice. I get that.  There are moments when I wished I breathed my last breath. nOpe, they are still there. I know what it means to starve. My children often end up eating my whole entire breakfast,  after they have eaten there’s.

My experience as a mom has taught me a whole load of things about myself and about the people I spend time with. I have most of all learned that I can not do this alone. I need community. But not just any community. I need to surround myself with woman who know. Woman who understand.  It was really hard at first to explain to my friends who didn’t have children or who had just never really been around children, that I couldn’t just leave the house. I know I am on matt leave and it looks like I have so much time on my hands. But I am literally carrying around a ticking time bomb and at any moment it will explode. From which end I am not sure. So I have to carry around this bag filled with resources to deal with said explosion and I have to bring different options of how to carry it around just in case it gets a little testy. I have a few different types of blankets just in case it gets too cold or too hot. But the most important thing I better not leave behind… the plug! If that plug falls out. The siren goes off.  Its safer if I just stay at home.

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So how do we survive these little beautifully chaotic people who have taken over our lives. Well that is where I want to challenge you.  In those early days of mother hood for me I felt like I was drowning. So many opinions, so many questions, so many unanswerable problems. Soooooo little sleep. My child was growing physically and I was growing in every other way possible. I became closer to God as I called out to him at 3 in the morning praying that he would get my son to just pass out for longer than 2 hours at a time! I grew in a way that made me tougher. I became a mama lion! I became less self-centred. I had no choice. It’s a motherhood requirement. I became more compassionate. I became for empathetic towards all mothers ever in the history of the world. Even the Grandma on Downton Abbey, I mean although she only saw her children for an hour a day she still was pregnant and had to push that kid out!

My challenge to you is to support each other. Be a village.

Not everyone is in the trenches. Some are past that stage and are enjoying the view from their comfy couch  After they have nap after nap after nap. Some are considering starting down the road of motherhood and now they are changing their minds thanks to me.  Some are in the trenches with me, but can’t hear a word I am saying because their child is distracting them or they are currently out of the room dealing with their own beautiful chaos.  I am speaking to women. We can be the biggest supporter for another. Whether you have walked down the road before or not. You can help. I have learned that woman have so much power in the words they use and the actions the do. Mothers in the trenches need your help now!. These children are tiring. They do not go to school yet and their language is whining and crying which can drain any saint of a person in 10 minutes flat.

So help!

Moms in the trenches; Let people help.

Make a list of the things you need done around the house or errands you need outside the home or meals you would love to have in the freezer to pull out when you just can’t handle cooking (which for me is every day) . Let people help. Take their help. People wouldn’t offer it if they didn’t want to. And if they do offer it not intending to follow through well call them on their bluff and give them your kid to take to the park and go have a nap! Ha! They will never offer it again but at least you got a nap!

When I had my second child I realized this. I preached it from the mountain top. Make that list.

Moms in the trenches; be a support and a shoulder to cry on for other moms in the trenches. My most favorite people are other moms in see in the grocery story with 3 children hanging onto their cart and they too have bags under their eyes, and are wear the same pair of sweat pants for the 3rd day in a row and they have toothpaste smeared on their shirt. I just want to run over to them like a little lost puppy who has finally found its long lost brother and just give her the world’s most embarrassing hug!! I know what you are going thru!!!! I get it!

To those People who have a heart for moms in the trenches. Surround them. Help them. Encourage them. Cook for them. Offer help. Play with their kids. Clean their house. Bring them a coffee (I love ½ sweet vanilla lattes) Be an adoptive Grandmother or Aunt.

create a village to surround our families in this community. Let’s remember all the  moms. Single moms, Married Moms, Young moms, older moms, teen moms. Adoptive moms, Biological moms, Foster moms.  Grandmas filling in the role of a mom. A mom is a mom. You know who you are. Let’s not do this alone. Its way to hard. If your children are older and you are no longer needed as much, help out a mom who may look like she is drowning in diapers and snotty noses. My mother in law always tells me stories of how she did it all alone. She had no help. She is an amazing example of living out the idea of a village. She is always the first to lend a hand with my sister and law and I. She also raises my nephew part time. My own mother is always over lending a hand and helping with her Grandchildren. Let’s not be proud. Let’s show these children how to share and how to ask for help. Show them there is strength in numbers. Show them that their mom is right because every other adult around seems to agree with her. A family comes in all different shapes and sizes. Let’s make our family huge!

You are going to fail as a mom. You are not perfect. This is hard to grasp. But where you fail your village can be your safety net. Maybe your child won’t feel comfortable to tell you something but you have surrounded them their whole lives with other amazing role models who can step in and take him or her out for coffee and be their sounding board. Use these wise moms as your own sounding board. Glean ideas and advice from them. Find a mom mentor. A mom who has raised or is raising their children the way you want to raise yours.

Motherhood is hard. Motherhood can be lonely. It doesn’t have to be. Ask for help. Be the help.

Thank you so much for lending me your ears and letting me share my heart for such an important topic. Our children are so important and they only get one childhood. We only get one chance at raising them. I know God has surrounded me with so many amazing women both old and young, with kids and without who have so much to offer. I am ready to stop pretending I know what I am doing. I will have a sign up sheet at my table so you can come by and put down how you are going to help me out!

Thank you.”

It was such a great experience to share my heart with these woman and I am hoping that there are some moms who will no longer feel alone and some woman who take the initiative to come along side other woman and be encouragers and support. Mother or not. Woman need community and we need eachother.

-Mama Lion!

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