Daughters are so much different than sons aren’t they?! There’s a much different relationship between a mother and a daughter than there is between a mother and her son. We tend to be harder on our daughters. We push them and challenge them at times when we might react a little less stern to our sons. Why is that? We see OURSELVES in our daughters. We want them to be better than us. So we push.
How do we push them to be better?
Should I start singing the song? R-E-S-P-E-C-T. You know the one. The one you start singing in the car with the windows down… or maybe it’s the one that you sing to your kiddos when they say just the wrong thing. Either way, that song speaks some truth.
If my two girls learn anything from me, I hope it’s that they learn how to respect. Respect others, respect their parents, and how to respect THEMSELVES.
Respect starts with decisions. Choices. Choosing what to say and when to say it. Knowing when to hold back and when to tell it like it is.
Our daughters need to know how to make choices.
Teaching them how to stop, think about the consequence of their choice, and then move forward with the best possible decision is how we grow young girls into strong women.
This. World. Needs. Strong. Women.
And when their choices aren’t the best, learn from them. Pause, breathe, and reflect. They need to know how to think about others. Consideration. Understand perspective. When people are unkind or mistreat them, I want them to respect themselves enough to know when to walk away but also when to not take it anymore… when to cut ties… when to choose better.
But really, our daughters are the future and if we can make these girls see that they can be ANYTHING they want to be.. that they can be powerful and humble at the same time… that they are resilient beyond measure… that they will overcome challenges but should do so with GRACE… then there’s no limit to how wonderful they will be.
Let’s always push them to be better… and always lift them up with a mindset of self-confidence and independence.
I am 34 years old and have 4 kids, 2 step kids, and one angel baby, all ranging from 18 years to 10 months old. My motherhood journey has been just that. A journey. A crazy, messy, beautiful, roller coaster ride of a journey.
I often think about my 20 year old self about to give birth for the first time. I remember that day of the ultrasound. I went to the appointment by myself and wore all pink because I knew I would never be able to handle a boy. I even wore pink socks and underwear. It HAD to be a girl. Because Lord knows I would absolutely DIE if it was a boy. Luckily for me, she was a beautiful 7 lb. baby girl. And so was my next baby three years later. (On the same day I might add!)
I look back and think about how young and naive I was as a mom of two little girls. I loved them and would do anything for them but looking back, that life was about me. My problems. My struggling marriage. My domestic abuse story. My messy divorce. My issues. And they were just along for the ride. My ride.
Now as a mom of six, this LIFE is about them. But this journey, this journey is still about me.
I have had to “find myself” with each baby, each wrong turn, each mistake, each celebration, and each choice I’ve ever made. The one thing that’s stayed constant is that I’m a mama.
So, yes my motherhood journey has been just that. A journey. A journey of learning who I am with each one of my babies. I am definitely not that 19 year old girl with that unseen pregnant belly out of wedlock and scared to death of what was to come. Nor am I that 24 year old with two babes under four, fresh out of a divorce and oh so lost and lonely. Nor am I that stepmother who was desperately trying to make my new blended family work. I am all of that and here I am with two new kids, 13 years later… and guess what? They’re both BOYS. And I couldn’t be more smitten with them.
I feel like I’m in the middle zone now. That zone between what I once knew and what I know now. That period where I can change a diaper with my eyes closed but I also know the fragile depths of the teenage years. As I look ahead, I can only envision what my children will grow up to be. And as I’m in this moment, I can only try to shape that for them now with our own version of parenting. I’m just winging it like I always have, yet now it’s just with a little hindsight in my back pocket and I may or may not know myself a little better.
Motherhood isn’t always about the kids. Sometimes it’s about the mamas. The first time mamas who think they know what they’re doing and the second time mamas who still feel like they have no idea what they’re doing. Its about the mamas with no one else. It’s about the mamas overwhelmed by EVERYONE else. It’s about the mamas going through a divorce. It’s about the mamas rebuilding a life. It’s about the mamas just trying to get by. It’s about the mamas who are grieving. It’s about the mamas who haven’t held their children yet.
And it’s about the mamas who are still on the journey.
We love our kids but sometimes, every once in a while, amidst everything life throws our way, between every waking moment that we’re taking care of babies and feeding big kids, after the laundry is done and the dishes are washed, after mama has taken care of everything else…. we have to remind ourselves that this journey is still about mama.
Breastfeeding can be very challenging for some mamas. I had a much tougher time nursing my daughters than I did my boys. I’ve been very fortunate that both boys have been booby babies from the beginning!
Here are some easy tips and reminders to help you get a successful breastfeeding routine down, especially if you’re a new mama!
1) Your baby is getting enough.
Most all new mamas worry that their baby isn’t getting enough to eat. It’s hard to know because you can’t see how much they’re drinking like you can with a bottle. However, your baby is more than likely getting enough. Especially if he is falling asleep on the breast! Falling asleep means he’s full and happy. Beau almost always falls asleep when he’s nursing! If your baby (especially newborns) falls asleep immediately when you start nursing, grab a cold wipe and wipe his face. He will get mad and then start nursing!
2) You don’t have to stick to a schedule.
Seriously. I can’t stress this enough. There’s no rule book that says you have to nurse your baby every two hours. I know in the hospital the nurses and lactation consultants and your pediatrician tell you how often your baby SHOULD be eating but that doesn’t always mean that’s how it will go. Listen to your baby. He will definitely let you know when he’s hungry. If he naps for four hours and sleeps right through a feeding, IT’S OKAY. Let that baby sleep! If your newborn sleeps 6 hours through the night, that’s awesome! Let him sleep! Trust me, they’ll wake up and let you know when they’re hungry!
3) Be flexible.
Listen, your baby is going to want to nurse when he’s hungry, but also when he darn well pleases. If he’s upset because he got a boo boo, or if he’s sleepy, or if he hasn’t had much attention from you, he will want to nurse. And that’s TOTALLY fine! Take every advantage of it because before you know it your breastfeeding journey will be over and you’ll be left yearning for those sweet cuddles.
4) Always have a change of clothes for you and for baby.
Breastfeeding babes spit up. A lot. That’s not a bad thing! That usually means baby is overeating and ran out of room for all of that good milk. Sometimes it can be a little scary, especially if it’s a projectile. But most of the time, your baby is completely fine. It’s normal for breastfed babies to spit up quite a bit. Just pack an extra change of clothes and keep that spit rag handy!
5) There’s no magic position.
You can lay with baby, hold baby like a football, use a nursing pillow, or do none of those! Just get comfortable and find what works for you. There’s a ton of nursing positions that you can try but honestly after a couple of weeks, you won’t even remember them because you and baby will have figured out your way!
6) Don’t stress about what you’re eating.
Ok I had to tell myself this every day for a while before I stopped having anxiety about what I was taking in my body. My pediatrician told me not to worry too much about what I’m eating. As long as I’m eating and eating somewhat healthy, baby was going to get all the nourishment he needed. There’s no need to go out and buy all organic foods. Seriously. Just eat your normal fruit and veggies and drink LOTS of water!
Breastfeeding has so many benefits and is rewarding and precious and if I could start this journey all over again I would! Hopefully these tips will help ease some of your breastfeeding worries and guides you with some helpful tips on how to make it easier for you and for baby!
Everyone has talked and posted about how awful 2020 has been. Most have had the perspective that this year has been so hard with many trials and tribulations, that they just want it to be over. Many have lost loved ones, lost their jobs, had to close their small businesses, and had to make very difficult decisions for themselves or their family. The year has tested us all. So many of us are wishing 2020 a speedy farewell!
But not me. I’m holding on to 2020 in these final hours as much as I can.
For me, 2020 was life changing. We started the year out with the first anniversary of losing a sweet babe, but being very hopeful and anxious with only a few months left until our rainbow baby was due.
March 13, 2020 was a completely normal day. I was teaching and prepping my classroom for my last week of work before the baby was to be born. I had just gotten all of my students on the bus when all of the adults were running and buzzing with the news that the governor was closing schools across the state due to the pandemic. I don’t think the pandemic felt real until that afternoon. I had the mindset that I had one more week at school before maternity leave. One more week with my beloved students and now I had received news that I wouldn’t even get to tell them goodbye. This was it.
In the back of my mind I knew this was also going to be my last day as a teacher in that third grade classroom. Although I hadn’t made an official decision about whether I would return to work after my maternity leave was up, I subconsciously knew this was it.
The whole thing left me very pregnant and very emotional. Pregnancy after loss had enough fears in itself but now on top of worrying about whether I was going to deliver a healthy baby, I also had to worry about Covid-19 and all that brought with it. Changes were being made at the hospital daily. The news was reporting each day about the rise in cases. Having a baby during a pandemic was completely unexpected, nerve racking, terrifying, but also so worth it.
Less than a month later we welcomed our sweet rainbow baby into the world and into a very small bubble. Over the next few months, we decided to homeschool our kids. Our oldest son moved to his moms to attend school there which was another huge transition for us. And I quit my job to be a stay at home mama.
So. Many. Changes.
My feelings this year? Ugh. Emotional roller coaster. Every day it seems there’s something new to worry about. If I didn’t have anxiety before the pandemic, I definitely do now! The constant worrying about what decisions to make and how to protect my family. The constant pressure to do things that I wasn’t comfortable doing. Wanting to do what’s best for us and having to deal with the consequences of saying no to people. The stigma in our town that Covid “couldn’t come here” or that “it’s all a bunch of bull.”… When I’m over here praying to God each night that the virus stays away from us. It was a lot.
And on top of my feelings and fears of Covid, there was a lot of disappointment. I was heartbroken that my five year old wouldn’t be able to experience a true year of kindergarten. I was devastated that my kids couldn’t visit us in the hospital when we had baby Beau. I was sad that my daughters had to abruptly leave school and couldn’t see their friends anymore. I was disappointed that our son missed his last year of playing rec league baseball and our daughter missed out on her first year of softball. I was terrified every day, every time we went out, and with every request from a family member to come over that we would contract the virus and get really sick.
However…. above my fears I realized this year has been the biggest blessing.
My kids have been healthier than ever. They have grown closer to each other. I haven’t missed a single snuggle, kiss, laugh, or cry.
In what would normally be a very busy time of running kids back and forth to practices, rushing off to school in the mornings, getting home late, grabbing quick dinners, cramming for tests and exams, arguing over homework…. everything that was completely normal and now is nonexistent is everything I didn’t realize we needed a break from.
It’s funny how life can give us unexpected miracles right when we need them. Things we had begun to take for granted had suddenly become special. And things we were super rigid on as parents seemed like not that big of a deal.
We let the kids stay up late and sleep in. We let them have Snapchat so they could connect with their friends. They ate all the snacks and drank some soda and laughed and played and enjoyed life. Even if it was different and anything but normal.
I have been able to breastfeed Beau with no pumping or having to drop him off at daycare listening to him cry for me when I leave. I’ve rocked him to sleep for every nap time and he has fallen asleep in my arms every night. No snotty noses or coughs from being in a classroom with germs. There’s been less schedules and more lazy afternoons. We spent weekends on our boat going on adventures and fishing, enjoying the great outdoors. We went on vacations anyway even when we were told to stay home. We. Enjoyed. Time. Together.
Our kids are healthy and safe, and while they might be missing their friends or some of the “normalcy” we used to know, they have made the absolute best of it and are still enjoying life. So while most of the country is kissing 2020 goodbye tonight, I’ll be whispering a “thank you” for giving me the one thing I didn’t know I needed more of… time.
Wow Kami, you are 18 today! My husband’s first born and our oldest. I think back to the first time I met you. You were just as sweet, so bubbly, kind and always, always smiling. I remember your bedroom. When I started dating your dad you were 8 and I visited what is now my home for the first time, and I remember your bedroom with the pink and purple comforter and the stickers all over your dresser. You came to visit every other weekend like clockwork and my daughters would get so excited to see their new big sister. You were ecstatic to have sisters. I will never forget your spunkiness and how happy you were to see us every time you came to visit. You instantly loved me and my daughters and my family. And then when I got pregnant with both boys, you were overjoyed. I never imagined that little bedroom would be your little brother’s bedroom, navy blue with boy toys everywhere! Our family has grown and changed so much.
When I became a stepmom, I was skeptical that you and your brother would accept me as your mama. I was expecting some rebellion. Daddy’s girl and all. Now daddy had not only a new wife but two new daughters. But you surprised me every time you were with us. You never made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. You never made me feel like you loved me any less. I saw the way you watched me. But not with inspecting, jealous eyes… but with curious, inquisitive eyes. When we were in the car, while I was doing my makeup, as I fed the new baby. I saw you trying to impress me. You have ALWAYS loved me like I was here all along. And I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated that over the years.
Being a stepmom in our family hasn’t been the easiest job, I’m not going to lie. Our blended family dynamics are unique and one of a kind. My daughters only have one mama, as they have never had a stepmom. Life is different for them. Your dad and I are their only parents and this is their only home. But you have had to grow up with two sets of parents. I’m sure that has not always been easy for you, especially when you were younger and had to split your time between two homes… two sets of rules… two different lifestyles. You have gone from being an only child to having a TON of siblings on both sides. You always had to share basically everything and you never once complained.
One thing that’s for sure is how lucky I am to have you in my life. I’m lucky our children have a big sister, BB, who loves them so much. Being a stepmom has taught me SO much. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve learned lessons. I’ve had to bite my tongue. I’ve let little things get to me and probably said things I didn’t mean. I’ve had to hold my feelings back. I’ve cried tears I didn’t want you to see. I never thought this gig would teach me so much about myself. Thank you for being patient with me.
Things we never get to tell you…. because well, life. We have ALWAYS looked forward to your visits! You have grown up to be a beautiful young lady. We love who you’ve become. You’ve made choices on your own. You have your very own car, that you bought yourself! You have a real job. And even when you wanted to quit your job because it sucked, you didn’t. And that says something about you, your willingness to stick with something. You’ve made it through your first serious relationship and I’m sure you’ve learned some things about love and life in that. You are strong. You know when to walk away and when to keep going. You never let your guard down. You always hold your head high and never show your vulnerability. You’re funny and witty. I believe you’re ready to take on the world. You are smart, caring, and compassionate. The thing that stands out about you the most is how selfless you are… I think that’s the best trait you got from your daddy.. always caring about others and how others feel. We are so lucky to be your parents.
I asked your siblings to describe you in one word. This is what they came up with…. pretty, amazing, gorgeous, and Brady says clean??!! Haha!
That pretty much sums you up girlfriend! Although life has now shown you what it’s like to be an adult with plans, work, and things to do, and we don’t get to see you as much as we’d like to, you are always loved! Thank you for allowing me to be your mom and for being a daughter I never knew I needed! You’re not my stepdaughter, you’re just my daughter and we’re just family. I love you! We hope you have an amazing 18th birthday!