I recently heard about the 25 Things About Me lists that people wrote many years ago. I’m late to the party but now’s a great time to participate. 🙂
I wrote my own list and I hope you take the time to create your own list if you feel like that would be fun. It’s been a super helpful list to explore some things that I’d forgotten all about.
#1: I would absolutely be a less whole person without having had my children.
Having kids has opened up all parts of me that motherhood is privileged to discover.
#2: Parenting in this world with all of the outside advice and messaging is damn hard.
Staying true to my own heart and remaining strong against outside pressure hasn’t been easy, though it has gotten easier as the years move on.
#3: Parenting my kids has brought more joy to my heart than anything else in my entire life.
Hands down I have loved every moment of raising my children, even the shit moments that I wish hadn’t happened. They’ve all led me to this moment and “here” is where I love both of my kids with my whole heart. Tomorrow I’ll probably love them even more… imagine that.
#4: My kids were my initial motivation to stop drinking, which I committed to on April 10, 2007.
I didn’t want them to experience the loss, hurt, confusion, or fear that drugs and alcohol can pass down to kids. I wasn’t convinced at that time that I was an alcoholic but I made the commitment “just in case.” 3 years later, I discovered that I quit drinking for myself.
#5: Kids will make you insane in a dark and difficult way and also in an ADD, squirrel kind of way.
I’ve not wanted to hurt my children often, but I have definitely had the thoughts and some small actions throughout the past 17 years. I’ve made amends, worked on forgiving myself, and carried on the best I could.
I send so much love to us all who have children and live our human lives, because WOW.
#6: Children are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable and I have loved having the job of protecting them, even from myself.
#7: My kids have helped to make me much stronger than I ever thought possible.
My Mama-Bear parts are much fiercer than I would have ever imagined possible as being part of who I am. It’s impressive and I love and admire my Mama-Bear.
#8: Diversity is one of the most gorgeous things in my opinion and my kids are so incredibly different.
I swear it was the same two people who created our two sons. Michael and Mason are phenomenal human beings and they are so dang different from each other!
#9: Kids make life stupidly busy, OMG.
For almost the entire past decade, I’ve been driving between 2.5 and 3 hours per day taking my kids to and from school. I’m lucky they’ve been able to go to the best schools available. I think it shows in who they are as young men from the quality of education they’ve consistently received.
#10: I love my kids more than anything.
Someone slammed on their brakes in front of me this past Tuesday afternoon while driving Mason home from school. I slammed my brakes as well to avoid an accident and threw my arm in front of Mason (like that’s seriously going to do something – but it’s automatic so whatever). Everything was okay and nobody went boom or crash, but I instantly started crying at the thought of Mason being hurt in a car accident. Man, I love those kids.
#11: Again with the diversity, loving both of my kids for who they are as individuals is totally fun!
1 is very snuggly, 1 is not.
1 is neat (mostly), 1 is totally not.
1 is always hot, 1 seems to be okay with almost any temperature.
1 is actively helpful around the house, 1 wants to just sit.
1 enjoys cooking, we all enjoy eating and not one of us wants to clean the kitchen.
#12: My kids have become my friends.
I often wonder about the effect of this but mostly I believe that good relationships are helpful for everyone involved. I love hanging out with my kids. Munchkin is our new favorite game. Fun fact: I get rid of the cards with too many words unless Michael explains what it does to me… See? USE YOUR KIDS for their gifts that you don’t have! Mason is my music explorer – he gives me so much new music to love (or not).
#13: I feel proud of my children and their accomplishments though I hope I’ve released them enough so they have their own lives and no excessive Mommy-pressure that might adversely affect their efforts.
I hope that made sense but essentially I feel incredibly proud of my kids but I don’t want to push them to do things just to please me.
#14: I have been enmeshed with my kids in a probably unhealthy way.
I continue to work on releasing these bonds so they can be free to be themselves and I’ve named it for myself. So often awareness is 80% of the solution. It doesn’t feel like this is the case anymore but I’m always careful to watch for and maintain healthy boundaries which have definitely been one of my main failings as a parent (see #18 below).
#15: My kids are essentially my family structure.
They keep growing older, those waskily kids. Our family structure will soon be changing as Michael heads to college next year and Mason becomes more social with his teenage friends, but my kids are the ones I want to spend my holidays and special events with. I love that.
#16: What I want for my family is what Brené Brown shared for her family.
You can read that statement and download it here: The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto
#17: Kids are so expensive and they get increasingly more expensive the older they get.
When they were little, not having much money didn’t bother them at all. Going to Chick-Fil-A twice a month was totally cool and fun. Now that they are both teenagers, they want all-the things, plus sushi, plus new electronics and they can see what I spend my money on.
#18: Mistakes were made!
I’ve made countless mistakes parenting my kids but my intention has always been to notice it, understand why, readjust my outcome for the next time, and make consistently positive changes so I don’t make the same mistakes again. Alas, the human thing.
#19: I have had to readjust my priorities daily, weekly, monthly and yearly and sometimes minute by minute.
#20: Having kids has helped me learn to change my focus on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even second by second basis.
Focusing used to be a superpower of mine before kids but with so many things to do and help with on a daily basis, my focusing abilities have probably gotten sloppier though I can accomplish more things that are important to each of us in a day now. This is neither good nor bad, it’s just been part of my parenting journey.
#21: I’ve learned so much!
I’ve learned how to safely extract snot from a baby’s nose all the way to learning about double entendres in rap songs by Eminem, Kendrick, and many more. I’ve taken parenting classes and read dozens upon dozens of parenting books. I’ve learned how to care for guinea pigs, ducklings, chickens, and sheep. I’ve learned about dioramas and crickets and other such amazing things I can’t even remember what I learned. I am in awe of these things I never would have learned without having had children.
#22: I’ve become a complete advocate for special needs children and their families.
I’ve not done much formal work, but I’ve had several people referred to me for advice and support – and I’m always happy to help with that. If you know anyone who’s struggling with parenting woes and worries, feel free to share my contact information with them.
#23: Parenting has been filled with incredible sacrifice.
I’ve seen that some parents don’t sacrifice certain parts of their lives for their children and those can be super healthy boundaries that I fully applaud. I dove headfirst into raising my kids and didn’t get another job until my youngest son was 8. It was a super flexible job and I was able to work from home with a super flexible schedule so even that didn’t change our life much. Now I work at a store with specific hours and it’s super tough on our daily routine but it’s what life looks like now. Shifting in parenting is a thing.
#24: Raising Michael and Mason has brought me to my darkest hours.
It was 2010 when I started writing about the darkest days of parenting and here I am, 9 years later still writing and healing and moving forward as best I can. I’ve hit several dark patches since having children. I don’t consider them “good” or “bad,” but just part of the whole.
#25: Speaking of darkest hours – I truly feel like if I died tomorrow, I’d die an incredibly content and happy person.
My kids are now teenagers and whereas it would be incredibly devastating if anything were to happen to me, I truly believe my kids are prepared to live out rich, intentional, loving lives. I really think my goal for my kids has been accomplished as much as I could hope for which was to raise kids who are capable, willing, courageous, and loving to themselves and the world.
Oh, and 1 more… I really feel like being a mother was a “calling of my soul” if you will. I wasn’t much of a babysitter type growing up and I never really wanted to hold babies, but when I birthed my own kids it was like I came home to myself through two little boys who are now teenagers.
I feel so lucky to have had kids and I’m lucky to feel so lucky about being able to raise them the way I did.
Shared with love from me to you,