Tuesday, April 27, 2010

motherhood epiphanies

Although in comparison with most I am still relatively new to motherhood (I have SO much to learn), there are a few things I've had epiphanies about in my 12-year motherhood career so far:

1) Don't get your kids involved in sports too early. (Unless you want to see how cute they look in those little teeny soccer/b-ball or baseball outfits, which is a very valid reason...three- and four-year-old Max looked darling in his soccer and baseball outfits.) But really, in my humble opinion they don't learn much when they are so small. I love that Grace and Elle just barely started soccer. They're at an age where they "get it" and I don't feel at all like the other kids who have played through the years totally dominate over them. (And yes, I'm speaking for myself because maybe the other parents on the team are thinking to themselves "get those inexperienced players off our team!") But they don't say that to me so my epiphany still holds strong.

2) It is so important to get to know your kids' teachers at school. If you do, your life will be richer (because teachers are awesome), and your children will benefit. I really think that when teachers and parents have a good relationship and the communication is open about their child everything is better...you know what to do to help at home, the teachers know you really care and help push your kids from school, etc. Oh man we have been SO lucky with teachers and I count them as my dear friends.

3) The time kids open up and talk the most is at night right when their poor parents are on the edge of losing it because they're so darn tired.

4) It's worth it even if you're dead/dog/tired to snuggle up with a child at night and see what they have to say.

5) Family Home Evening and family dinners are gifts from Heaven.

6) Watching your children sleep is the best medicine to take after a particularly harrowing, stressful day. It will make everything seem miraculously better.

Just a few I've been thinking about lately.

What are your motherhood epiphanies?

25 comments:

Anne said...

My epiphany this week...Don't buy a dog when you son bullies you into it. He will lose interest in taking care of it quickly and you will still be getting up 4 times a night to take it to the bathroom because you don't have a doggy door. Sorry, not as uplifting is yours, I'm tired.

Laurie said...

Thanks for sharing these. Very helpful thoughts.

Sarah said...

You are right about every single thing...only 15 years into it, but have experienced all the same revelations!

marlowe said...

Don't waste time with the radio in the car. Running around with the kids is the best time to hear everything and anything about life's happenings. I learn more about friends, school and the day to day "stuff" during our commute to and fro, some of which makes me laugh days later. I just love that time with them!

Sonja said...

I really agree with your number 3. Earlier this week I decided to try harder to just lay beside our very quiet daughter and not ask her anything or try to get her to talk like I usually do. It's working--she is starting to bring things up on her own.

My epiphany to share is this: we can never share the scripture stories enough with the family, no matter how much they groan that they know them and say they have heard them before. One of our girls revealed to me at the age of 7 that she had never (gasp) heard the story of Daniel and the Lions. I was shocked. We read the Bible with them after supper every night, they go to a Christian school and Sunday school, and we have Bible story books galore. Now I think we don't want them to miss anything, so we'll keep reading and discovering together, even the familiar stuff!

And I also discovered this week that when you think you know your kids, they surprise you. Often in good ways, but this week I was startled to find Lucy had written her name on her bedroom wall. Wow. I would have never expected that from her. Ever. So I think we ALWAYS need to be on our toes...for the good stuff too!

Thanks for sharing!

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

You are a wise mommy - and I appreciate you sharing your tips. I really buy into #1 (about sports) but feel I'm in the minority around here!

pakosta said...

Just when you think you have a handle on motherhood, it gets it's best of you and you are shocked by it. In good ways and bad! In the small and the big. But it's totally worth it right?!
I can't think of any biggies right now, but you hit the most important one for me, is to snuggle up and talk even when you are tired, cause that's when they open up! love that!
tara

Crystal said...

I second both the car and bedtime. I also think that if you truly listen now to your kids and their sometimes unimportant stuff, they will come to you with the truly important stuff. Be present I guess, and open.Let them know you are there for them and be there.

LnZ said...

I appreciate your advice. I'm a mom of 7 years so I can use all of the help I can get! I enoy your uplifting thoughts about life and family.
P.s. Do you mind telling me where you got your map in your kitchen area? (saw it in your easter post) I've been looking for one for a year!
lindsay1nelson1 at yahoo .com
THANKS!

Lisa said...

thank you for this posting on motherhood epiphanies...i personally equate these important realizations with pure inspiration from God. i am with you on the sports thing. with our first daughter, she was in dance & soccer from the age of 4. what were we thinking?! now we have 6 kids and less money and we do very little around here. i think your kids' talents literally come out as they get a little older. but where we live, having your kids in multiple sports-and early-are the norm here. the earlier stuff seems to just add chaos and busy-ness for no reason for me. i also agree about the car radio. we never turn it on. i LOVE to talk to my kids in the car. and the bedtime advice is great for me to hear. basically, the underlying theme seems to be that we need to relish every moment we can get because too soon they are gone to school and then gone away from home before we know it! as mothers, we need to band together and rebel against the busy lifestyle that just robs us of our kids instead of enhancing their lives and our relationships with them. the most important thing we can give them is ourselves!!! our love and our teaching. thanks for making me think today. my kids are so precious to me and i want to always strive to do better than i am doing.

OUR WILD ZOO! said...

OK I'm only 8 years into this motherhood experience and I am glad to hear about the sports epiphany. I have a 3 & 1 year old boys...I am tempted by those darling sports uniforms but to be honest, it exhausts me to think about opening that can of worms already.

And I also have a 8 & 6 year old girls. They have helped to teach me what life is all about. My once painfully shy little girl just sang on Sunday at the Diamondbacks game. She belted out the national anthem with 30,000 onlookers. I think, at that moment, I realized that there is nothing we can't pray ourselves OR our children through. And just enjoy the journey.

These are my most recent epiphanies, ha! Children are a gift from the Lord, even if I never figure out this "motherhood thing" =)

becca said...

Mine would be.... regardless of how old your boys are (mine are 17,14 and 11) if they want hugs and kisses and ticking then they can have it as much as they like for as long as they want (obviously not in public or in front of their friends ;))I am still surprised that my 14 year won't leave the house until he has kissed me goodbye - and I love it!!

Amy K said...

Oooh, I just love these thoughts. Definitely keep these coming. My kids are 2,3, & 5, and I love hearing things like that that will help me right now. :) Thank you!

Anne said...

I'm only six months in, so everyone's epiphanies are news to me! Loved reading them. My epiphany? Even I'm frustrated, seeing my little man smile at me makes every last everything worth it... Glad to hear that continues!

Robin said...

I had an epiphany yesterday. It was while I had a moment to look at your cousin's this or that jewelry site. One of her necklaces gave it to me. Even though you have said it throughout your posts it's something you are teaching your children, it's something that just now clicked. I can do hard things, and things I don't want to do. I just became responsible for my world. Thank you so much.

Holly Janeen said...

well, its silly for a young mom like me to even have epiphanies... but here it goes, since i really enjoyed yours, and you DID ask...

i like to call them
the 5 P's of Parenthood:
1. Priorities. (remember God and Family First)
2. Positivity. (it goes a LONG way)
3. Persistence. (the only way to raise a child.)
4. Pondering. (a MUST if you are to grow as a mother.)
5. Patience. (its hard to have, but a virtue as a parent.)

Nichole said...

Hi Shawni,

I don't think I've posted a comment before but I've been following your blog for a few months now and just LOVE you and your family. I hope to make many of your family traditions my own family traditions over the years. We are just getting ready to have out first child.

I am curious about your epiphany about teachers. I like that sound of that a lot and am wondering what kind of things you do to stay connected and be in close contact with the teachers? Do you make a point to go in the school and just talk to them in their classroom or do you take it an extra step and invite them out for coffee or lunch? I'm curious what has been successful for you. Thanks!

Nichole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mirien said...

I'm 16 years into the journey, with 6 kids ages 1-16. I wish more mothers understood about #1--they run themselves ragged unnecessarily. My sister says she's done after three kids, and I think it's because she has overscheduled them already. I've learned the same thing about piano. I started my first 3 children at age 6, but with my 4th we waited until she was 8--mainly because of the expense. She has progressed so quickly, learning in a few months what it took the others a couple of years to learn.

Another epiphany of mine that is not shared with any of the moms I know--preschool is not necessary! If you can afford it, and it doesn't make your life too busy too soon, fine, but as for me I prefer to save my money and keep them home until kindergarten (except with some of them we've done a co-op type school)--and they have all made the transition beautifully.

Jessi said...

The one thing I have to learn again and again and again is that my kids are independent beings with the power to make their own choices. Sometimes I want to mold them into the people I want to be instead of letting them grown and discover who they are.

Karey said...

Completely agree with these. I'm a mom of 18 years and learned long ago that the less busy you are, the more you can enjoy the moments that go way too soon.

Riding in the car with no radio is one of the best places for good talks. You have a captive audience. I hate squandering that.

One of my biggest epiphanies came when my kids started school. I learned right away that getting everyone up a little earlier was the way to go. Instead of snoozing until the last possible second and then scrambling and rushing and hunting down lost socks or homework at the last minute just made for grumpy mornings--the kind that made me go home after dropping kids off and feel guilty that we'd had such an unpleasant morning.

We get up a little earlier so our mornings are peaceful, relaxed, unhurried and SO pleasant. Then when I drop the kids off I get to drive home feeling like a good mom and feeling love for my my family.

Love the quote "Avoid rush and haste and uncontrolled words." Getting up earlier helps us live that motto.

If you're one of those people who hits the snooze three or four times in the morning, try getting up earlier and see what a difference it makes.

Kara Pothier said...

That's so funny you mentioned the sports thing. I was just talking with a friend, defending our decision of opting out of sports at this age (for Hallie). It's amazing how much pressure there is even from other parents to participate at such a young age. But really, what are they going to learn that they can't pick up much faster in 3 years?

Karianne said...

I'm a mom of four kids, ages nine months to seven years. My most recent epiphany is to never criticize another mother because, if you do, the Lord will bless you with the same challenges that she has. It has happened to me again and again. Also, there are no absolutes in parenthood. Every "rule" I had about parenting my first, I have broken.

Lara said...

Your list inspired me to create a list of my own motherhood epiphanies! Thanks for your continued inspiration!

Hope said...

to mirien: my epiphany about preschool has been the same. and the time i 'buy' us before kindergarten is priceless. thanks for reminding me of that cause when all of my friends are chatting about the latest and greatest preschool, i can quietly know that my decision is the right one for me. for us.

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