Back when I had just 4 young children, and not the 8 growing miracles I am blessed with now, I was quite overwhelmed, totally unsure of what I was doing.
My husband and I didn’t have too much in common, something we both failed to notice in our early rapturous love for each other. Our nationality and ethnic backgrounds were different, our ages different, families very different, political opinions different. But one thing we had in common was the fact that we both wanted to have a big family.
What happened next seems like a blur: One child every 18 months with several moves to different cities, and a one year stint overseas. And I fell in LOVE with every one of my babies…
Now to catch you up on what my home life looked like about then…There I was with my baby and 3 little kids who were like little monsters, not listening at all, and wreaking havoc. You know how sometimes you see one of those parents whose kids are running all over, completely ignoring anything they ever say, being disrespectful, the parent who has to go running trying to catch their kid at the park….. You know what I mean…. Yep.
That was me. I was exactly that parent.
I had always pictured myself as this all-loving, only positive, never raising my voice, totally tuned in with every child’s needs type of mother. But I had no idea how to actually accomplish that. No clue.
I thought I could just be positive and all-loving, which is what I set out to do from the start and that, of course, naturally everything would just fall into place.
But as they grew, they just learned the pattern, walking all over me. They were like a little gang running around giggling and making messes, and the joke was always on me (and the mess too).
But that’s not the worst part. The worst part was ME!
I became this frustrated, yelling all the time, seriously overwhelmed mother. My worst nightmare came true. And this of course just added to my frustration towards my husband – that he needed to come home and deal with the kids!
I happened to be outside one day on the front lawn along with my next door neighbor, Rebecca who I liked A LOT! Her kids were nothing like mine. They were a bit older, yes, it’s true, but they were incredibly respectful, thoughtful, and seemed to have an amazing relationship with their parents. In short – Rebecca had everything I wanted.
So it was more than slightly embarrassing when she witnessed my less-than-perfect kids doing their thing.(!!!) That morning my eldest son took off across the park alone when I wouldn’t allow him to go, leaving me to chase after him.So, I threw up my hands in frustration and looked at Rebecca, partially in embarrassment, partially beckoning for some advice. “What now? What should I do?” I half laughed. I always laughed about the ridiculousness of my kids not listening. Probably because otherwise I’d cry.
Rebecca smiled that empathic, sweet smile and shot back: “I don’t know, but you have to do something. Don’t do nothing.” I still remember the feeling, like a ton of bricks hit me. The words echoed through me. So simple yet so powerful.
DO SOMETHING. DON’T DO NOTHING. There was the answer. Because I had no idea what to do, I did nothing. And when I did nothing… nothing changed.
That’s when it hit me: I am the only person with the power to change this situation. My kids don’t need a mother who tries to throw her parenting responsibilities on their father, regardless of whether he’s around or willing. My kids need a mother who is a real parent. A strong parent. A loving parent, and a skilled parent. I realized in that moment that I had to stand up straight and live up to that belief. If I wanted to become the mother that I wanted my kids to have I needed to believe I could be that AWESOME mom.
IT WAS THEN THAT I MADE A VOW. I looked up at the sky and I made a promise. “I will earn this.”
It was like the world stood still for me in that moment.
I looked down at my three little girls who were all holding my skirt and looked into their big beautiful round eyes. These little girls believed in me. They believed I could do anything and they looked up to me to be their whole world.
I just stood there as if in a trance thinking – of the magnitude of how truly blessed I was. Truly. Such a beautiful family. I remember feeling this new sense of mission. Like I had this drive to fulfill my life’s purpose of raising these beautiful children. I realized I needed to rescue me. So, I needed to do an AWESOME job.
This incredible thing happened to me. There’s this amazing quote from Wayne Dyer “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” The things that I always wanted to push off to my husband, like disciplining the kids, getting bed time done, homework time, having the kids do their chores, those things totally changed for me. They became the things I wanted to do, that I enjoyed doing.
Now I was on this mission– it was exciting even exhilarating going out and getting these desperately needed skills. I was going to do this. And do it well. I devoured every parenting book I could get my hands on. I signed up for course after course. I interviewed moms, dads, grandparents, doctors, therapists, experts.
My friends were used to seeing me tired and overwhelmed, but all of a sudden I was full of energy and like this obsessed woman. They were like “What’s up with you?” “Are you Ok?” “I think she’s cracked or something.” It took time and a lot of trial and error. And tweaking for each of my kids’ personalities and issues. And I continued having more kids. Albeit with a couple of years break here and there.
This was the greatest journey of my life. It was the journey of becoming the person I want my kids to have as a role model. It was the journey of learning the skills I needed to be a great parent. It was the journey of spending a lot of real time with my kids and developing an awesome relationship with each of them.
But most of all it was the journey of coming to believe in myself. Believing that I could be a fabulous parent.
We divorced. After having 8 kids together. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t bridge the gap between our differences. The funny thing is that after we got divorced, friends, neighbors, and extended family started asking me, “Oh my goodness! How do you do it? Eight kids? Alone?”
I laughed to myself. Alone? Alone! I’ve been doing this solo for a long time. But now I was no longer that overtired, overwhelmed, clueless mother I once was.
Instead I now have an amazing relationship with my kids. They not only listen to me, they are my biggest help. And I don’t feel lonely anymore because I have the 8 of them.
My dream big family. I do have my dream big family now. Albeit my original dream did include a father in the picture, but we have to take the blessings that we’re given and appreciate them.
But I’m still in the middle of this story. While my oldest is already 18, many of my kids are still very young. But I hope, and I pray that one day when I look back on my life I will have fulfilled my promise and will have earned the 8 beautiful souls that were entrusted to me.
That day will come. And deep down I know that it’s because I learned to believe in myself. You need to believe you can be an AWESOME parent. Cuz whatever you believe you become.
Parenting isn’t about dressing, feeding, bathing, shuffling off to school, putting to bed.
Parenting is about:
Inspiring. Uplifting. Teaching. Motivating. Caring. Loving.
That’s the parent I strive to be. That’s the parent I believe I can be.
Does it feel like it takes a miracle to get it all done sometimes?
Yeah. A Miracle. I guess that’s what I believe I can be.
A Miracle Maker Mom
Believe You Can Be an Awesome Parent. Cuz Whatever You Believe You Become.
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