Growing up, I knew I wanted to be a mom. I had a sister, nine years younger than I, that I helped take care of. I babysat for any neighbor who asked. I loved kids and knew I wanted to be a mom.
Fast forward to college, a career, marriage…you know the whole “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage”.
It happened…a lot faster than expected, but it happened and I was a mommy! Then, thirteen months later, I was a mommy again, and again and again. In our first six years of marriage, we had four kids…and, none were multiple births. It went from man to man defense to zone defense (to quote my hubby) VERY quickly.
We decided, while engaged, that when we started our family, I would stay home and raise the kids. So, I did. Thankfully, in the very early years, Rick worked swing shifts, so I did have help. Then, I was blessed with a young girl, from church, who helped me while Rick traveled for work. Then we moved, away from my family, for a few years so that he would be home every night.
As a stay at home mom, I was busy with playgroups, mom groups, church activities, room mom….all the things. I was the mom that teachers knew, on that first day of school, would be their room mom, because they’d heard from other teachers.
I was the mom who woke up EARLY so that I could “fix myself” and my kids were always dressed cute and clean. I did this because, in the early mom days, a mentor from a mom’s group once told me “honey, he’s around beautiful women all day. Don’t let him come home to see you in the same shirt he saw you in yesterday. The effort will pay off” The same mentor once told me “don’t blink, enjoy every moment, it passes too quickly” (hard to believe when you have 3 kids in diapers).
I was not a perfect wife, mom….still am not. Our house was not perfectly decorated and clean. I wish I could say I never raised my voice. I didn’t have a homemade dinner on the table every night. I forgot things. I lost my patience. I broke a promise (not intentionally). I may have forgotten to pick up a child once. And, there was the time I ran into a store quickly and one of my kids pooped in a baseball cap because I took too long and they had to poop.
BUT….I did my best with what I was faced with. I had a hubby who traveled, no family to help, no house cleaner to clean, no nanny. I tried my best to do whatever it took to support our four kids in all their endeavors (and there were many, often at the same time). I worked different MLM businesses to add “mad money” for the kids and I (and to give me some adult time). We sacrificed vacations in the early days so that I could stay home. I was involved in everything so that we could participate in all the things. I joked that we were TEAM DEESE, and got lots of eyerolls for it, from them.
Everyone tells you how hard the early years are….the terrible twos (which, by the way, were easier than the threes), the tween years, the teen years…..but, no one tells you how hard it continues to be…
When they’re little, you are their superhero. You are the smartest person in the world. Only you can fix their problems. You know where they are, what they’re doing, who they’re with. You know what is going on in their world and can help when it’s falling apart.
No one told me, that when they’re big, things change and can change drastically. (I mean it’s expected, but the drastic part can hit fast and hurt BIG). One day, you’re still the one they call, you’re the one who knows all, the first person they call to help “fix” something. Then, suddenly, nothing you do is right. They quit talking to you (unless they need something like money, car help, etc), you don’t know anything. They make you feel like you aren’t needed or have no clue what they’re going through.
No one told me, all those years ago, how hard it would be to watch a piece of your heart head off into the world speeding towards disaster but unwilling to be warned. That your heart could be ripped into a million pieces by being shut out. That yesterday, the thing that helped, makes the situation worse today. That it would be so hard to have to keep your mouth closed and not help fight their battles. That you can’t say “I told you so” because they already know. That facing an empty nest is the hardest, scariest time, but it’s also exciting to see them moving into the next phase of their lives. That, as a stay at home mom, your job has ended and what are you left with? No one told me THIS phase would be so hard.