Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Becoming "Mom"


Exactly 1 year ago, after two emotionally grueling weeks of trying to be "Mom" to my 2 year old Ethan and 4 year old Elliana, and at the same time be everything to our 2 week old preterm Emsley, we finally got the pass to bring Em home from the NICU and begin life as a family of five.



This summer has made me do a lot of reflecting on this past year and it's effects on me and our family as a whole.

This past year was my toughest in this journey of motherhood and it changed me for the better.

To begin with, any time you introduce a new child to the family it changes the dynamics and is a tough transition on everyone. Not to mention with each new child a mom learns who each little person is, and what makes them tick. As if that's not enough she has to learn what it's like to now juggle 2, 3 or however many children are in the family. I knew the transition from 2 to 3 would not be easy considering my transition from 1 to 2 was not an easy one.




But, on top of all of that, I was dealing with a preterm baby. One that had a rough beginning. I thought so many times that it would only get easier once we passed each challenge. Challenges such as Emsley being in the NICU, then bringing her home on oxygen, then trying to nurse while toting my oldest to preschool, waiting for her to reach each milestone of sitting, crawling, etc. I did not prepare myself for the challenge of how often she would get sick this year, or how every time she got sick we would need to give her breathing treatments via the nebulizer because her lungs were so weak and sick. Not to mention the cost of all of the Dr's visits and meds. Ugh, just putting this all on here is making me tired again. ;) As we overcame each hurdle it seemed that we stumbled upon a new one. Thank God Ellie and Ethan were so patient and forgiving of how much time I dedicated to little Emsley this past year.

My point in all of this though, is that this past year, with each challenge that it brought, is the year that I would say changed and defined me as "mom".

I've always been a little unsure, and even insecure in this role. I would immediately make a list of excuses or apologize around other moms for the decisions I was making or for the reasons my child(ren) was/were acting the way they were. Or apologetically explain why I couldn't nurse as much or as long as I wanted to, why I had to supplement with formula, why I discipline the way I do, or wince at the fact that I had 3 c-sections.

But this year changed all of that. For the first time in my 5 1/2 years of being a parent I leaned on the truth that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". I would look at each day and each challenge and say to myself "I've got this. I can do this. There is no better mom for my children than me." It wasn't just a pep talk, I really believed it! While this did not make me a perfect mom, it made me a better one.

For the first time this year I could make decisions with more confidence and not care as much about what people around me thought. Instead I only cared about what the need at the time was and how each child needed me, the mom that I am.

When our baby needed more medication and I knew it was going to cost a small fortune, I researched as long as it took to find the cheapest way to get her what she needed. I knew when I needed to stay home for weeks on end to get my children healthy that they would be loooong weeks but well worth it.

At the beginning of this summer I decided Ethan was going to need some pushing to get him potty trained. I also am a firm believer in waiting for the child to show signs of potty training, but I could tell that he is the type of personality that needs a little (or big at times) nudge. It was a rough start, and I have many not so lovely stories to share about our rough road with potty training him, but I can now say we've turned a corner and he is doing SO well! It's so rewarding to know that we worked together and we did it!

I could go on, but you get the picture. It feels good to be this person now. I'm far from perfect and I make mistakes, often daily. But I love being confident in knowing that God had a plan in choosing them for me and me for them. I know how to read my children, I know what they need. I have a better feel for when I need to push them, when to discipline them and when to give them grace. I need to be their protector, their nurse, their provider, their biggest fan, their confidant, their guide and the one who shows them how to respect their father and ultimately point them to God.

I know my journey as a mom is far from over, it's actually just begun in a lot of ways. I know I still have many, many more challenges to face. I once heard that the older the child, the bigger the problems. I believe this is true. While I'm sure it will some day be nice to be free of diapers, bottles and nap schedules, I can't imagine what it will be like to face challenges like struggles at school, problems with friends, broken hearts, peer pressure with drugs, sex and alcohol.

I've heard before that motherhood is the most challenging and most rewarding thing a woman can do, and it is 100% true for me. The most challenging? yes, without a doubt! But definitely the most rewarding. The days are long and the years are fast and through it all God is carrying me while I carry them.



When I don't have answers, I'm so thankful for the fact that I can turn to God who is a perfect father and is perfect in love.


2 comments:

Courtney said...

Chris, I LOVE this post! I agree, you can tell that you turned a corner this year as well. I can't imagine everything your family of 5 went through this year but I loved seeing how you handled each problem along the way. Thanks for giving me such a great mom role-model to look up to!

Becky said...

Beautiful post Christine. Your kiddos are so very lucky to have such a wonderful mother! :)

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I am a daughter of the King. Saved by grace. Follower of Christ. I love my God and I believe that he is faithful and true to his word! I'm still figuring out and trying to follow his plan for my life. I am a wife to my best friend Caleb, a mother to my miracle babies (they are my greatest joy and challenge), a sister and best friend to 3 passionate women, and a daughter to 2 amazing parents that continue to teach me what it is to be real and faithful to God and his word. I am lucky to get to be a stay at home Mom (thanks to God's provision). I love music, singing, coffee, cooking, baking, traveling, our beautiful state of Colorado, and mostly being with the family and friends that I love!

Husband, Caleb

Husband, Caleb
Caleb is an amazing husband and father. He is always so good to me. He is my best friend. He is the romantic one. We love to laugh and spend time together. We've been married for 7 years and I just love that I get to spend the rest of my life with him.

Our 1st Miracle

Our 1st Miracle
Elliana Faith... God blessed us with our first miracle little girl in December 2008. She is sweet, smart, spunky, funny, strong willed, precocious, extremely outgoing, vocal and so full of life! She brings us so much joy.

Our 2nd Miracle

Our 2nd Miracle
Ethan James,.. God blessed us with our little boy in March 2011. Ethan was a bit of a surprise and an even bigger miraclle. Ethan is ALL BOY! He is very active, into sports and running around. He is also sweet, introverted, affectionate, and laid back. These days he often has us laughing, he's starting to show a little bit of "clown" in him. He makes our hearts happy too. :)

Our 3rd Miracle

Our 3rd Miracle
Emsley Jeannette... Our surprise baby girl was born on June 11th, 2013 and came into the world 4 weeks early. Her first 2 weeks of life were spent in the NICU, but due to God's hands and the prayers of many people, she grew quickly and came home to join our family! She is an easy, sweet baby and we are enjoying getting to know her personality.

Sisters

Sisters
We fight one day and then the next day we're fine. We're always loud and crazy when we get together. We're very passionate. We've been through it all together, lots of ups and downs. We're eachother's biggest supporters.

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