Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there! It is a pretty neat thing that we have a day to celebrate being a mother. Being the mother of 9 makes for some very interesting Mother's days. Today was no exception... I woke up to this:
The kids made me this "Mine Craft" board game. Each block around the center was labelled for a room in a house. Each room had a gift associated with that room for me. It was so fun!
These were my gifts: A pedicure and nail wrap set for the bathroom, lotion and body spray for the powder room, new skillets for the kitchen, a snuggly blanket and yummy smelling candle for the living room, a travel coffee mug, a car charger and an air freshener for the car for the garage, a beautiful nightgown for the bedroom, some super cute workout clothes and dvds for the exercise room, stationary for the study and finally a beautiful rose for in my rose garden. So much thought went into each gift. I loved it! There were also some beautiful homemade gifts, some jewelry, some pottery and mom coupons and a marigold plant. I know that you are probably super jealous at the awesomeness that is my husband and kids. I know that I sure would be.
But there was one thing that I think that the kids were wrong about. The game board reads : You are Mine, the mom that Crafted me. That isn't really true. When I think about it, they have actually crafted me into their mom, not the other way around. The kids' Gramma Rose, from Michigan has said, " I am exactly the kind of mother that I thought that I would be, I just didn't get the kids that I thought that I would." She said this jokingly, of course, but there is some truth to it. As I was growing up and I would think about my future family, it was nothing like the reality. First of all, I never, ever, ever would have thought that I would have 9 kids. Now, I cannot imagine what our lives would be like without each one of our kids. This will probably sound unbelievable, but if there is one of the kids missing, either for work or a playdate, the house seems very off balance and weird. (I am not looking forward to the kids leaving for college!) We function as a unit, a very large, somewhat chaotic unit, but a unit none the less.
Secondly,I could have never imagined the mess, the laundry, the noise, the utter chaos. It can be extremely overwhelming. But as a mother of nine, these kids of mine have taught me the importance of both flexibility AND structure. Organization, (which I am still trying to figure out), is very important. There absolutely has to be a system in place to keep things running smoothly. BUT you cannot live and die by the plan. Flexibility is NECESSARY! I cannot tell you how many times I have had things all worked out only to have a sick or cranky child throw a monkey wrench into the whole day. I am sure that you have heard the saying, "Man plans and God laughs." Well folks, God may laugh, but kids shriek hysterically at your plans. Ask any parent how quickly a trip to the grocery store can turn into a meltdown resulting in tears and screaming and the desperate need of a nap, and that doesn't even address the kids behavior. Flexibility is key or you will end up in a puddle of tears and anguish. Trust me, this I know from experience.
Thirdly, I am astonished at the amount of patience that I actually do have. I used to joke that I kept praying that God would bless me with patience and he kept blessing me with boys, so I stopped asking for patience. Well, I can honestly say that being the mother of six boys and three girls has definitely brought out a level of patience that I never thought was possible. Now please, do not think that I walk around in a haze of contentment and peace, just relaxed and calm. Oh my no! That is about the furthest thing from the truth. I am usually gritting my teeth and clenching my fists. But I have definitely mellowed out over the last fourteen years. (Or maybe I am just too tired to put up a fight now?!) Over the years that I have been a mom, I have realized that sometimes the frustration and annoyance of dealing with a cantankerous little one can be diffused if I take a deep breath and stay calm. If I allow patience and peace to be my initial reaction, 7 times out of 10, my child will calm down too. That doesn't mean that is what I always do , but I try. If a deep breath doesn't help, some Bailey's Irish Cream in my coffee or a glass of wine usually does the trick. HA!
Finally, my kids have taught me the importance of humility and humor. Nothing keeps your self esteem in check like a three year old's critique of your appearance. (As I said in my facebook status this past week Jonathan patted my arm and said, "Oh Mommy, you hair is...not nice." Or Aiden pointed out that when I was exercising my tummy was very jiggly. Ummm, thanks?! I get it. Time to focus on the abs. ) These kids keep me humble. They squash any flare up of vanity by pointing out the ...not nice...attributes that I might be sporting at the moment. But at the same time, I can see the unconditional love that they have for me. Whether my hair is a mess or my belly is wiggly or my breath is stinky, they still love me. They don't care what I look like, they just want to snuggle up and give me a hug. These kids of mine have taught me not to take myself too seriously. Sometimes the best thing for a stressful situation is just to laugh. This life that we have been blessed with is too short to waste it being angry and stressed. A good laugh can be just what we need.
I firmly believe that God blesses each of us with the children that we need to grow closer to him. Apparently God feels that I need a lot of help, hence the 9 kids. So each day I wake up and look to my God-given helpers to "craft" me.
Happy Mother's Day!