Thursday, June 28, 2007

Evolution of a mother...

To be sure I have evolved as a mother over the last 7 1/2 years. It is inevitable that your mothering style changes with the stages that your child goes through, not to mention, as your family grows and you adapt to include more children (and animals in our case). When my first son was born I thought I was so grown up. Truth be told, I was still a kid myself. At 19, I of course thought this mothering business would be a snap. Don't get me wrong. I knew there were challenges, but to a 19 year old it just doesn't register the way it should. Austin, thankfully was an easy baby. I am not sure I could have survived otherwise. For the first 2 years of Austin's life I was very isolated. Raising him virtually alone and 1000 miles away from my family. While it was definitely hard it made me a very confident mom. I knew I could handle anything. I didn't need help, though it would have been nice. Adding the second seemed like second nature to me. With the birth of Brodie I became more whole as a person while other areas of my life shattered. Being a single mom became another lesson in survival. Luckily during my time as a single mom I had my family nearby to help me. I never felt alone or lonely even. I lived each day for my kids and myself and just kept plowing along. I have always been a pretty laid back mom. There have always been bedtimes and rules, but never to the point of militant behavior (my mom was laid back as well, and that was a GOOD lesson for me).

The first BIG evolution in my journey in motherhood came with my remarriage. For the first time EVER I actually had a partner in parenting. I had someone who wanted to be involved in the process every step of the way. Even when it was not convenient for him. This wasn't easy on Jason or me. I had been THE parent for so long that it was hard to let go of that control, even though I craved the help (I still struggle in this area). For Jason, he didn't get to ease into parenting. He didn't get to start in the newborn stage and work his way up. He was thrown into potty training, tantrums, bed wetting, not to mention that my oldest had some abandonment issues we were working through. Two years later it is like Jason has always been in our lives. For a mother there is no better feeling than knowing your children feel secure.

Chase has brought a whole new dimension to my mothering style. While I wouldn't say adding the third was hard, I would say it held challenges I had not realized. Chase immediately fell into our family like he had been here all along. There have been very few times of jealousy with the older two (I expected much more acting out). What surprised me was that I became a bit more protective of my older two. This came from a place I can't even begin to understand. I never feared that Jason would shun or change his treatment of my older two, but you hear about it all the time, so I had my guard up. It never happened. While of course Jason's love of the boys is different than his love for Chase...his LOVE never changed. The boys know that. I have once again relaxed.

This newest evolution is a direct result of my mind wrapping around the fact that in November we will be adding yet another member to our family. As we now edge closer to "those people with all the kids" I realize that I am really NOT like a lot of other moms. I am constantly amazed by how many moms could not tell you their child's favorite color or what their favorite cartoon character is. I am appalled by the mere fact that people don't talk with their kids. So many moms use their children as an accessory. I have from the beginning been the kind of mom that values playing with my kids and learning things with them over making sure that the dishes are done before bed EVERY night. Don't get me wrong. There are days that I would like nothing more than to cart them all off to boarding school and sleep for a month. But luckily, those days are rare. I am not even saying I am a better mom...just different.

I am changing more and more I see too. I read food labels more than I used to. I say things like, "No, you can't have that cereal it has way too much junk in it." I plan to practice baby wearing with the new baby and am sad that I didn't know anything about it with the older three. I have breastfed all my kids, but am sad that I weaned Austin so early. I will make it the whole year with #4. I buy organic fruit if I can. I tease those around me telling them I turning into a hippy, crunchy, granola mom.

I promise to still wear a bra and shave.