Children

Looking Beyond Young Motherhood

I’ll be 35 this October. 

Still young. But, not really. Because ever since I had my last baby, nearly 3 1/2 years ago, I’ve felt like an 80 year old. 

But thats not what prompted me to write this blog post.

What prompted me was when I considered other women my age and how I’m the “weird one”.

There are women all around me that are just “starting out”. Women that waited until their thirties to tie the knot and rock the cradle.

And, the fact that by the time their oldest child is ready for their ABC’s and 123’s, my oldest will be graduating high school.

I see first and second baby announcements coming from women in their mid-thirties, like me. 

Our second baby. And the days of toddlers climbing on everything and feeling “big enough”.  

Our second baby. And the days of toddlers climbing on everything and feeling “big enough”.  

 

I see blog posts of forty year olds with just toddlers and such dark circles under their eyes, you’d thought they’d been in an MMA fight.  

 

Its surreal to think back at my early days of motherhood.  

 

Twelve years ago, on March 2nd, I recall taking my first pregnancy test ever and seeing two HOT pink lines. Those lines were blinding as they nearly popped thru the testing window.  

 

Pregnant.  

 

Completely overjoyed.  

 

Had no earthly clue what being a mother meant. 

My oldest. The days when it was just he and I (a very pregnant me) and there was room enough to ride his trike indoors.  

My oldest. The days when it was just he and I (a very pregnant me) and there was room enough to ride his trike indoors.  

I thought it similar to the job I did everyday. Taking care of other children, other women had birthed. The mad, intense love I had for these children was unlike anything I could describe for someone not related to me.

I was so off on that love thing, by the way. The second I heard my son gasp for air, the love I thought I had for children seemed like a joke compared to this love I had for my own son.

The years just continued on with a miscarriage nine months after my sons birth, then, six months later, another pregnancy: his little brother. 

The pregnancies and nursing years kept multiplying. I had 10 straight years of no breaks. None at all.

And those years all blurred on.

I always recall, on my outings with the “hands full” of children, those commenters of “You don’t look old enough to have (3,4, or 5) kids.”

Our five. Over three years ago. All so little.  

Our five. Over three years ago. All so little.  

This happened for my entire early motherhood years. 

 

While my peers were out solidifying careers and dating around, I was in the thick of chasing four, five and under. 

 

I never considered myself deprived.  

 

In fact, I somewhat pitied the ones my age that just lived to please themselves. Sure, their instagrams looked cool, and I would lie if I didn’t say I wasn’t a tad envious of their “freedom”. 

 

Here I was, sacrificing. And sacrificing hard, at that. 

 

Every second, of every day, some little face needed me.  

 

At age 29, I was homeschooling a kindergartener, chasing his very active little brother, keeping little sister out of the dishwasher while I loaded it, and nursing a colicky baby sister all night long. 

 

The days of being a 29 year old. Filled with the joys of four children, five and under.  

The days of being a 29 year old. Filled with the joys of four children, five and under.  

And the years rolled on. Faster and faster. 

 

And when I consider that this year I’ll be celebrating thirteen years of marriage and 12 years of motherhood, when other 35 year olds are just beginning, I wonder: “Have I really missed out?” 

 

If you’re reading this and share a similar story as mine, “Do you feel as though you’ve ‘missed out’?”  

 

I have to answer emphatically, “No....”

Our youngest baby reminds me that, as the fifth baby, all you need is wipes, dipes, and love. 

Our youngest baby reminds me that, as the fifth baby, all you need is wipes, dipes, and love. 

 

”...not at all.” 

 

I may be a grandmother in my forties (maybe). I may still look fresh out of college some days, but I would never ever regret beginning my family as a young, young graduated-college-in-the-nick-of-time-twenty-two-year-old. 

 

College. So incredibly fun, my heart could only handle three years of it. Because I got married. And completed my undergrad just a mere eight weeks before my first was born.  

College. So incredibly fun, my heart could only handle three years of it. Because I got married. And completed my undergrad just a mere eight weeks before my first was born.  

Because, God has taught me so much in the past twelve/thirteen years. More than I could’ve ever hoped to have learned from a bunch of little people. 

 

My thumb-sucker, middle child. A time when juggling three, was truly juggling.  

My thumb-sucker, middle child. A time when juggling three, was truly juggling.  

And as my focus shifts from keeping little hands and feet safe to mentoring and molding young men and women, I will always cherish the days when both I and my children were young and naive.  

 

The days of baby gates and all-nighters that were just a seemless transition from the late nights in my college dorm room. When 2am was just a number, and we didn’t feel the consequences.  

 

As I push and struggle to gain what was drained from me all of those sweet years, I am reminded that motherhood is just a small extension of the love of Christ. That sacrificial, gut-wrenching, ultra-intense/doesn’t-make-sense kind of love.

 

Motherhood is a gift no matter what age you choose to embrace it. But, I’d like to think that those “weird ones” of us that got that  several year headstart; we’re that much better because of it. 💗

 

Our fourth. And a time when I was invincible. Or so I thought. Motherhood was adorable and so squishy.  

Our fourth. And a time when I was invincible. Or so I thought. Motherhood was adorable and so squishy.  

Debt Free Summer ☀️

This is how we feel about it being summer time!☀️ 

This is how we feel about it being summer time!☀️ 

I don't know about you, but we aren't going anywhere this summer (or maybe even the entire year). We're trying so hard to get debt free, fix up our house, and send our kids to preschool in the fall... so planning my weeks out in advance so that I'm not tempted to spend money is a must! Here's how I do it:

1. Plan your weeks in advance! Pick themes for your weeks. This coming week is monster week at our place. Here's what we have planned:

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Get this amazing lego challenge calendar here!

2. I take advantage of all things free in my city! 

- children's museum (we were gifted a membership) - summer movie days at your local theaters (bring your own snacks) - splash pads - pool day in your neighborhood - concert nights in my small towns Main Street area - library trips - storytime at Barnes and Noble  - free days at your local museums - 

Swimming hole near our house. Free fun and it's beautiful! 

Swimming hole near our house. Free fun and it's beautiful! 

If you life in the Austin area you must follow Do512Family! There's so much to do for free. 

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3. Make a weekly budget for your extra spending, and get that money out of your bank account. Having cash to spend at special outings is a must or you'll just keep swiping that credit card / debit card without a care in the world. Cash is king and when you run out of it, no more spending!  

4. Try to set aside a certain amount of money each week throughout the summer. My husband and I have started a thing where if one of us says "let's go get coffee" - the other person has to get on the phone right then and throw whatever we would spend on coffee into our savings account. Are we always successful at this?! no way! We give in. Especially when it comes to going out for coffee or food... it's our biggest weakness in our spending life. 🤦🏼‍♀️ But it is a fun game and it's nice to have someone keep me accountable to our goals. 

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I hope you enjoy an amazing summer. Full of memories, lots of laughs, cook outs, pool days, and tons of fun without going into debt or breaking the bank. Have fun, and remember moments with your families are the very best gifts you can give one another. ☀️☀️☀️

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Your Child Isn't an Accessory

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I'm not a perfect person, nor will I ever be. I'm not ever a perfect mom, nor will I ever be! That's not even the point of this blog. It's for encouragement and dialogue and a place for my sisters and I to stay connected since we're so far apart.  it's a place to share our failures and crazytimes.... 

But one thing in particular has been on my heart lately, that's been all over social media for a few years now seems like.  

Why has motherhood become a trend? Why should such a calling, something that requires all of you be something that you just pick and choose what you like about it. Your kids aren't accessories. They're not sitting in your closet waiting for you to give them attention. 

They're human beings! 

They shouldn't have to wonder if their parents love their jobs and night life more than they love them. They shouldn't be made to feel like a burden because they just aren't meeting your expectations. 

Some babies are in daycare 40+ hours a week, then given to a babysitter to be kept almost every night so the parents can go out! I don't understand. I am all about needing a break every now and then; but who's raising your kids here? It's not the parents in this situation. .. it's the daycare worker and the babysitters and the iPad no doubt. 

Your kids aren't a burden, and if you feel that way then maybe put yourself in their shoes for two seconds. Would you want a mom that never wanted to be around you? That always acted annoyed when you had a need or want? 

Your kids need you mom. You only get one chance at this. Let's do our best and be the ones that our kids know that we love them more than any human in this earth ever will.