Motherhood

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.  

Why I've Stopped Caring If You Like Me Or Not

Recently, I've stopped caring. 

 

I've had to. It wasn't healthy and it's not worth the trouble. I see so many mom bloggers desperately trying new things to grow their following. And their desperation shines through more than their actual content does.  

IMG_4556.JPG

 

If you want to know why I've stopped caring if you like me or not...and whether I care if this blog grows or it doesn't...then read on. 

 

I was recently told by a good friend that this blog and this following may never "make it big".  

 

Because, "I don't have what it takes to make it."

 

It's not because I'm not likeable, or I don't try to expand the following.

 

I've tried what I could over the past five years and it's always taken this steady, slow, organic sort of pace.  

 

Its because I'm not willing to be something I'm not to make all of you wish you were me

 

It's because I'm not going to stand in front of brick walls, dressed like a Target model, with a latte in my hand, and toddlers pulling at my dress all with a hysterical smile on my face.  

 

It's because I really don't care to spend hours and hours and hours editing photos, doing giveaways, and telling people to make sure they turn their notifications on.  

 

I'm not willing to trick my followers into liking posts and engaging, just so more traffic comes my way. 

 

And I'm not willing to make my whole platform all about myself, portraying a fake portrait of motherhood, while I miss out on real life motherhood all around me. 

 

I've probably accomplished what most bloggers would only dream of. And it happened totally organically. And it happened because God spurred it on to happen.  

 

That accomplishment was having a blog post shared on radio stations, websites, and read by half a million people in two days.

 

It got the attention of celebrities and other influencers that have no clue who I am.

IMG_4557.JPG

 

But that attention was short lived. And that sort of accolade was only temporary.  

 

I can't, and I won't, spend the rest of my motherhood trying to gain it back, somehow. 

 

At my core, I'm a yearner for acceptance. 

 

I want people to accept the choices I make and I take it really hard when people don't. In other words, I'm an insecure decision-maker, although I'm almost always confident in my choices.

 

I feel rejection. I feel stressed out. I feel like a freak. I've been this way since I was a teenager. It's been hard to change.  

 

I see my fellow bloggers desperately trying to make it big and I feel for them.

 

Then there's the influencers that already have a following. They start blogs and small businesses and make it big the same day they begin. And I get jealous.  

 

But I'm tired of feeling jealous. It's exhausting.

 

And since I'm not willing to write what you want to hear, or photograph what you want to see, or spend the hours that require me to become BlogFamous, then maybe I am accepting that maybe my influence is supposed to stay small. 

 

Thats fine.  

 

It is.

 

Because maybe a smaller following actually yields a deeper influence in the end. And if I had to choose between the larger audience and the more shallow influence, or the smaller audience and deeper influence...well, when I put it that way, it's easy to choose. 

IMG_4555.JPG

 

If God wants to grow this blog, He can and He will. The timing will be perfect and I'll be ready for that day.

 

But for now, I'll be proud of what I've given to my small ring of influence. 

 

I've given truth, laughter, tears, sorrow, and passion.

 

I've shared ideas, concepts, and encouragement.

 

And most recently,  a book that has touched whoever has read it. Even though the royalties remain poor monetarily and rich in impact; That's payment enough for me. 

IMG_4554.JPG

 

Maybe that's the sort of royalty we should all strive for. Impacting lives. Impacting souls. Being an encourager instead of an influencer.  

 

I surely don't want to influence Mothers to feel less than just because of something they read and saw from me.  

 

And that's sort of the way the blogging world is. It's less about being honest and more about making you feel envious.

It is essentially fueled by envy.

 

Bloggers who harbor envy as it looks to the success of another blogger, all while  displaying beauty in ways that spurs the viewers heart to invite envy inside:

 

Food.  

Style. 

Products.

Crafts. 

Travel. 

 

I can't compete with all of that. I'm just me.  

And I don't have time to show you anything beyond that. I've choosen to live life authentically.  And maybe that's just not enough for what the blogging world requires of me. 

IMG_4553.JPG

 

So, I guess I don't care what you think about me anymore.

I'll keep writing and sharing. But I won't even try to keep up.

 

This is Honestly:Motherhood. And that's how it'll stay. 

 

-Alicia  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Joey, (A Post Script)

IMG_1610.JPG

Dear Joey,  

 

Today is the day you left this world, one year ago.  

 

I've thought of you all day long, as have countless others who still follow your story. Because, people are still following your story. And while your story was supposed to end last March 4th as you drew in your last breath, it's still being written one year later. 

 

And thats how it should be. 

 

We should live our lives so tremendously effectively that the Writer of our lives keeps writing for us after we've gone. 

 

IMG_1612.JPG

He seems to have many more chapters to fill for you. Chapters that will continue to inspire and motivate others to savor the goodness of these lives we live.  

 

I still struggle, Joey. I struggle a lot still with fear and anxiety and existing instead of living. But, I've come a long way since I first wrote you. In fact, I'm on hour seven of a road trip I was scared to take five days ago.  

 

Almost home.  

 

I finished my book that you inspired. I've made harder goals, more meaningful goals, and remembered to enjoy doing the tiny little things that you reminded me to start enjoying. 

 

I started smiling a bit while making dinner, and those requests for more water or singing at night don't feel like fingernails on a chalkboard anymore. 

 

IMG_1611.JPG

I've found myself on the floor tickling and laughing more than I used to. Remembering a time when my own parents would do the same.  

 

I tried your eggshell gardening trick and it worked for a few weeks. Those sprouts made me think of you and gave me hope for a color-changing thumb.  

 

I carry you with me, Joey. Every day. Every not-so-pretty mothering moment, I think about how you just did your best to breathe in the sour with the sweet. In fact, I'd like to believe that you thought it was all sweet.  

 

It's where I want to be.  

IMG_1609.JPG

 

An example to others that embracing it all makes the perfect freshly-squeezed lemonade people crave on a warm summer day. 

 

Irresistibly, irresistible. Unquenchable life.  

IMG_1613.JPG

 

More eager to meet you than ever before,  

Alicia