I wasn't sure that I ever wanted to be a mom until my husband and I were in our early thirties and decided it was time to settle down.
Parenting wasn't something I’d ever dreamed of.
Even as a young girl, I had never imagined getting married or owning a home or anything else that involved a family. I was just never one for plotting out the future in that way.
I guess I'm that person that always believes that things will just work out the way they're supposed to. I've always believed that hard work and doing the right thing would help things work out in the end.
Obviously there's more to life than just wishing and hoping, but I truly never imagined myself as a mother or envisioned what kind of mom I would be. I always thought it was strange that I never had those thoughts but there are things about me that I've come to understand more of in the past few years that I won't share here, yet.
Once we decided that we wanted to be parents we were very blessed to have two healthy baby boys within a couple of years of one another.
Since I've become their mother, unlike my younger self, I worry about the kind of mother I am, constantly. When it was just about me I didn't worry but now that I'm responsible for two young lives, it's freaking terrifying.
It began when we were picking out names. We did the “playground” test for every potential moniker. We settled on two classics. Names that evoked character and strength that we thought would give them the least amount of chances to get beat up on the playground.
So far, so good on that.
But what if I really mess this all up? What if I love too much or don't love enough? What if I'm too clingy or too hands off? What if I swear too much or aren't fun enough?
I mean… this is serious!
The scary part of being a mom is that every kid is different so no ONE thing is effective for every kid, and just because something works once doesn't mean it'll ever work again. Sometimes it feels like doing a geometry problem with Jenga blocks on a Twister board. It's like problem-solving in a wind tunnel, naked.
Yeah-parenting makes no sense sometimes.
But… I do love it.
Every. Single. Moment.
Even the crazy and crappy ones when they're yelling at you and angry because you disciplined them about something they don't yet fully understand. Even on the difficult nights when everyone is tired and nobody likes one another, I still love being their mom.
Parenting often feels like jumping in the deep end of a pool and not knowing how to swim. It's exhilarating and terrifying, then you start to drown, but maybe a hot lifeguard saves your life and you end up marrying him and living happily ever after.
I think parenting is exciting and that kids are just the funniest people on the planet. I love talking to them and listening to their stories. I think it's adorable when they're brutally honest and tell you that your breath stinks or that you're old. I love watching their brains work and how their little faces screw up when they're working out a problem.
I love how some kids make you work so hard for their trust and how their faces light up when they see you. I adore their innocence and beauty when they're really little and always mourn it when it's gone.
I even love when their voices get deeper, they begin growing taller, and they start realizing that there are other people in the world. As my kids get bigger and are becoming older boys, I'm not as sad about it as I thought I would be. I do so miss their tiny little voices and being their favorite person in the entire world. I may or may not have a tiny newborn diaper stashed somewhere special and I may or may not cry every year on their birthday.
But I love getting to know them and watching them grow. I love seeing their character develop and enjoying how funny they are. I even adore the awkwardness and uncertainty of their middle-grade years, and this part of the journey with them is just as sweet as the early years.
It's completely bittersweet as I know what's coming next but I feel as though every day has been a gift. An exhausting, frustrating, sometimes annoying, amazing, incredible, and BEAUTIFUL gift.
Since I've become a mom, I've laughed and loved far more than I have in my entire life. They've taught me so much more than I could've ever asked for and it's humbling.
It's not always sunshine, roses, and unicorns farting glitter but it's pretty damned special, this motherhood thing.
How do I know I won't make a complete disaster out of it? Let's be honest … I don't. The end result remains to be seen. It could all go south in the next five minutes. I have NO idea how it'll all play out.
I do know that I'm going to do my very best even when I don't want to.
I’m going to keep trying hard to be the best person I can so they can see what it's like to always care about your own character. When I fall short, I'm going to be honest with them about it so they know that it's okay to be human and make mistakes. And when I disappoint them I'm going to apologize so they know what it means to be sorry and forgive.
The responsibility of raising two young men is daunting but it's also a privilege. It's also so much fun. I'm grateful that I get to be my son's mom. Truly, they're the best kids that I would've ever imagined having and I don't think I could have hoped for anything better, no matter how hard I tried.
And I'll always try with everything inside of me to be the best person, mother, teacher, confidante, and mentor that I can be.
Let's just hope that I don't screw it up too much!
Jennifer Sivec writes beautifully broken stories with heart.
She is attracted to and writes stories with characters that are complicated, flawed and completely imperfect. Her books are often a reflection of life, encompassing difficult subjects such as cancer, addiction, abandonment, and abuse. She writes with a raw, complex, yet hopeful approach often weaving tragic stories with honesty and grace, creating unforgettable characters.
Jennifer has been writing since she was in the fourth grade but didn’t publish her first novel until 2014, and has been writing non-stop since. Her passion for reading and sharing stories gives her perspective and peace of mind.
She lives in Ohio with her husband, two boys, and two dogs who create balance and levity for her. She loves her crazy life and wonderful readers, and is grateful for all of it, every day.
Hi. I’m new here. I’m so honored to be a part of this collective of amazing writers and women – I’ll do my very best to pull my weight. I like to make people laugh, I like to keep it real and I I’m a hot mess a good chunk of the time. But I like to write my life – because even though we are each unique and our own people, so many of our experiences are shared.
By way of introduction, I’m a mom of three young kids, and an avid consumer of social media. My corner here is called hashtagblessed – which is a sarcastic poke at all of the #blessed posts I come across on social media. These posts are usually a perfectly staged photo accompanied by a perfectly scripted description of a wonderful moment. The problem is, ALL I was seeing was those perfect moments. Life can be amazing and wonderful and incredible and filled with “cup runneth over” moments, but it’s also messy and stressful and chaotic and crazy. Where are those moments? No one shows them because we – generally speaking – like to present our best selves. hashtagblessed is here to provide you some comic relief and to show you that those hot mess moments happen to all of us. I embrace it all – the hot mess, the beauty, the chaos and the cup running over. Solidarity, people. Solidarity.
So, with that being said, I’ll share with you a story of a recent trip I took. At the risk of sounding old, air travel just isn’t what it used to be. But, AIR TRAVEL JUST ISN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE. Bah humbug.
On my fight, I was feeling all lucky that I snagged an exit row aisle seat. I even texted my husband and said “Yay! Exit row seat!” all braggy-like. And then fate laughed and laughed and laughed at me.
As soon as I sent the text, the guy in the window seat took his shoes off and put one of his feet up. ON the exit door. Like, really stretched that leg to get it up there. It was super sexy. Every time a flight attendant would walk by, they would tell him to put it down. He would, and as soon as they were gone, he’d put it right back up. Because he’s five, apparently. And apparently it’s okay to take your shoes off and put your damn smelly nasty feet up on display.
Then the dude in the middle seat, who also occupied at least a quarter of my seat, snored like a trucker for the entire flight. His snoring would slowly escalate in intensity until he’d literally stop breathing for a terrifying 15 seconds or so, and then his whole body would jolt and he’d snort crazy loud and wake himself up. Then the whole cycle would repeat.
The first time he snorted, I had just started a rather frightening episode of Stranger Things. This particular snort was so loud - not to mention unexpected - I about jumped out of my chair and very nearly peed myself. The guy across the aisle from me tried to stifle a laugh, but failed. I shot him a look and said “tradesies??” - my voice full of hope - and he laughed and said “not a snowball’s chance in hell, ma’am.” But when the liquor cart came down the aisle, dude bought me a beer for laughing at my expense. We good, dude. We good.
The grand finale was the guy who tried to make it to the bathroom that was right in front of me, but didn’t. Puked all over the floor. Right. In. Front. Of. Me. Literally as the plane was landing. The flight attendant was yelling at him to sit down, and he was fighting unsuccessfully to open the bathroom door (which had been locked for landing), and he turned to tell her and then he puked. Just as the guy next to me crescendoed to another snort. And then we landed. I tried to fold myself into a fetal position but couldn’t, because snort man’s right arm essentially had my left shoulder pinned under it. There was no escape from my hell.
Between no shoes guy, sleep apnea guy and puking guy, I’m out, y’all. Too much peopling. Can’t no more.
Let’s face it; being a mother is no walk in the park. Mothers are designed to nurture, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. But in doing that, we often push our needs aside, and ultimately, that’s not beneficial for anyone.
As the saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” And there is a lot of truth to that.
The stress of being a mother takes its toll on women emotionally and physically. We use all of our emotions on our families, leaving us drained and exhausted only to collapse into bed at night so we can repeat it all the very next day.
The American Heart Association states that more than eight million women in the U.S. have heart disease and for those under the age of 50, heart attacks are twice as likely to be fatal for us than for men.
Twice as likely!
As mothers, we hold the weight of our worlds on our shoulders, and if we don’t take the time to care for ourselves, those worlds can come crashing down on us. Yes, we have the burden of that kind of power, too. But how we feel does impact everyone around us, so don’t we have an obligation to our families to take care of ourselves, too?
Yes, we do. It’s not that it’s all about us, but as the saying goes, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. We all want happiness for our loved ones, right? Pay attention to your surroundings. The next time you’re cranky, watch those around you. Your mood dictates the atmosphere, the environment around you. When you’re frustrated and tense, your family feels it, and they take on those same emotions.
Adjustments in the way you do things for yourself can drastically improve the lives of those around you, so, don’t look at it as being selfish, look at it as helping those you love.
A few simple adjustments can benefit us emotionally and physically and can add years to our lives—giving us more time with the people we love.
But how do we find a balance between caring for our families and caring for ourselves?
We make small changes daily
Whatever your nest looks like, it's the people and animals in it who make it a home. This page is dedicated to all things family: raising kids, juggling schedules, corralling pets, or navigating changing parental relationships.