I was recently asked what I consider to be my greatest accomplishment and without hesitation I said, “Being a mother.” I don't think that I am the best mother, but I do think that I deeply, deeply love my children and step-children and it shows. They know it to the core of their being, and what more can a person ask for?
I believe that if a child has someone in their lives who loves them unconditionally, that they are going to be okay. They are going to rise to the top of any situation (and there will be situations) with more strength and better knowledge of right and wrong.
Here are my Top Ten Ways That I am an Odd Kind of Mother.:
I did not punish my children. I believed that we make our own consequences. For example, if you don't turn in your homework, and you get a bad grade, which impacts how and if you are able to get into college – what can I possibly do that's stronger than that? We all create our own consequences. They knew that, and you know what? We didn't have a lot of drama in our home as a result.
Each of my children was breast fed for about 2 years. Some of the m didn't even want solid food until they were more than 9 months old. It took a lot of time and dedication to their well-being for this to be accomplished. And, yes, I do consider giving my children the best possible nutrition I could an accomplishment.
I figured out a way to work from home throughout most of their lives. Even as a single mom, I mostly worked from home. I feel like this is something I could teach other mo ms who want to raise their own children (and save daycare costs). My children never spent a day in daycare. And they were healthy babies and toddlers as a result. We never had a single ear infection or even a snotty nose... it's odd, I know.
I took lots of parenting classes and read lots of books. I was serious about being a good mom, and I treated it like I would anything important - I learned how to be better at it, as I was always ready for improvement.
My girlfriends helped me raise my kids. Many evenings were spent with lots of children and my girlfriends – mass quantities of food and wine on the patio. The kids were able to talk to some adults easier than others, and it helped us all with communication in conjunction with laughter and love. We all say to each other all the time – “couldn't have done it without you.”
I admire my children. Each one of them has qualities that I would love to emulate. My oldest son brings me laughter and such joy – almost daily (and he's 30 years old!). My middle son is the kind of grown-up I hope to be if I ever grow up some day. He's thoughtful, responsible and a really good friend. My daughter is an animal lover to the max. She's always had a soothing way about her that transcends all species. They don't like for me to blog about them, so that is all the gushing I will do.
My main goals in my life had all been tied to being a mother. I don't know if that is necessarily a healthy thing to admit, but it is the case, nonetheless.
As a step-mom, I feel like I am still learning. I believe that the real mom rules and I am here as support to my husband and the mom. I try my best to simply be me and hope for the best.
My role as a CASA (court-appointed special advocate) has helped me be a better mom. I have witnessed many situations that have such a strong affect on children, that it makes me try even harder to do what I can to give all of my children a stable adult in their lives (me).
I have been told that what I do best is demonstrate love. I believe that it has been a cornerstone in how I mother.
Throughout my children's lives we had pets and a garden. I believe that these two things help a child to learn to think outside of themselves. Pets need attention, kindness, supervision and mostly love. Gardens require patience, nurturing and planning. My children are very conscientious about their pets and yards. I think that those days of hamsters, dogs, cats, frogs, turtles and fish paid off. Thank goodness. We had more than our share of hamster escapees (and babies), turtles humping (I never knew!), fish that we swore “followed” us where ever we went, frogs who would decide dinnertime was a great time to jump out of their habitat and rescued dogs. We claimed that dogs adopted us, we never had to make the choice to adopt them.
Looking back on my path as a mother, I really see it as an enriching experience. An ongoing experience that I never quite feel like I could ever call myself an expert. As soon as I think I can spike the ball in the end-zone, I find out I have a new lesson. No one ever said motherhood is boring, that is for sure.
Founder of WomenontheVerge.net
NOTE: The photo I have attached is of my daughter, Joli with our/her dog, Tomo. Tomo recently passed away this past weekend. He was such a good little boy. We will always treasure our time with him.
Rest in Peace Tomo 1998 - 2011
what an incredible post. Ana, you'll certainly be someone I'll be getting advice from when I become a mum. hope that's ok!
|1071 days ago|
|1072 days ago|
I read your post and you know what, you're right, we do have a lot in common.
Beautiful post Ana.
BTW I breastfed mine for quite a long time too. Emily was 2 and a bit. Oliver enjoyed it for a little longer. I just ignored the comments after a while...
Just glad I didn't have my babies in France. Not so popular. You're supposed to give your breasts to your husband...so say number of experts and old male gynaecologists. Mind you the so-called feminists are no better. Shudders...
|1075 days ago|
Oh Ana ... this is a beautiful and insightful post; it made me teary. And I'm so sorry that Tomo went to the Rainbow Bridge, losing a furbaby is awful.
|1078 days ago|