Surviving Motherhood

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Motherhood is wonderful.  It's also difficult and demanding and lonely.

Even after doing this Mom Thing for more than 15 years I still wonder how any of us survive motherhood.  The sleepless nights, breastfeeding, the terrible twos, angsty preteen years and the downright miserable, full-of-attitude teenage years; it's enough to do me in.  Thank God I don't have to endure all of these parenting stages all at once.  Except, I have and I still deal with several phases at a time because my boys are all five years apart.

What the hell was I thinking?  Okay, in all seriousness, the five years between babies wasn't on purpose.  But that's another blog post.

I remember when I was a rookie mom . Nothing was more exhausting or terrifying as brand-new motherhood.  I was shocked the nurses let me take my baby home.  I constantly worried he wasn't eating enough. I would check on him in the middle of the night to make sure he was breathing.  The horror stories about SIDS and failure to thrive gave me fits of anxiety.  

Just when I got the hang of babyhood he evolved into a toddler and those terrible twos had me pulling my hair out.  Trying to translate toddler lingo to stop the crying was like trying to put out a fire with gas.  Nothing I did was right.

And when the screaming finally stopped my monster toddler became a sweet, lovable and social little being.  Officially a preschooler.  Off he went to school, his own identity taking shape, separate from mine.  My heart ached thinking about him in someone else's care, but I was so happy to watch him learn and grow.  

And then they breeze through elementary school, faster than you expected.  Junior high is a blip on the radar, blink and you'll miss those years.  Then, suddenly you are watching your child begin high school and you beg time to slow down.

I'm in the middle of the teen years as I write this.  My patience is wearing thin.  His attitude can drive me insane most of the time.  As frustrating as it is, I try to remember what it was like to be 15, and then I began to worry.  

My son is navigating the world of school stress, self-esteem and body image issues, bullying, and peer pressure.  Let's not forget the issues he faces regarding sex, alcohol and drugs, or the pressures of social media. I'm grateful I didn't grow up during the Twitter and Facebook years.  I don't know if I'd have survived my youth!

The Huz and I have these conversations often.  He tells me not to worry, that as long as we have open dialogue about the issues we can understand where our son's at and know whether or not we should worry.  These are critical years, I tell him. I question whether I'm doing the right things.  Am I a good enough mother?  Do I know how to do this?  I think I do.  But I still worry.  And I think I always will. 

Jill Churchill, mystery novel author, wrote in her book Grime and Punishment:
There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one. 
Read it again.  Let those words sink in.  That sentence struck me and I often repeat it in my mind whenever I feet I am not doing things right.  

I may not be perfect, but there are many ways that I'm a good mother.  At the end of the day I think I'm doing alright.

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