For my regular readers, I am taking part in the Being a Mom is Tough Blog Hope. We are reading Lysa TerKeurst's book Am I Messing Up My Kids? For my new guests, WELCOME! I'd like to introduce you to those boys who call me Mom.
Colin, Carson, and Carter. These are my boys, and I am their Mama. It seems that when I go into daycare or a store or to the park, I hear, "There's Carter's Mom, " or "Hey, Colin's Mama." Sometimes, when I leave a message on my cousin's voice mail, I don't say my name, but I say, "Hello, this is Colin, Carson, and Carter's Mom. Give me a call back when you get a chance." Regardless of where we are, I am usually defined by being their mom.
I do have a name. My name is Natasha. And this is me with ALL of by boys. My husband Jeff is the lucky man who God chose to be the daddy of these boys and the husband of this mama/wife.
My boys are simply amazing. What mama wouldn't say that?
Colin is my firstborn. You know, the one that you made sure everyone washed their hands with before they held him. The one that you had no idea what you were doing with and wondered if you were even smart enough to mix the formula with water to feed him. Colin and I spent many, MANY sleepless nights together. The kid seriously quit sleeping when he came home from the hospital. He napped while I fed him. People would always ask, "Do you get to sleep when he sleeps?" I just laughed (really wanted to cry), "Shoot no! The kid never sleeps!" He's the kid that "slept" in the middle of our king size bed for his first 3 years, just so I could sleep. We would put a movie in the VCR, push play, and go to sleep. Then at whatever time the movie went off, Colin would wake us up to rewind it and start again. See, the kid never slept. Don't forget the colic. Oh, colic how I hate thee! Now that he is almost 12, and it's summer, he is sleeping in....a little just because he stays up half the night. Colin is a very tenderhearted young man. He has accepted the Lord as his Savior and is very involved in church, serving as an usher and the drummer for the youth praise band. He plays baseball and soccer. Colin has been on the Academic Team for 3 years, he was on the robotics team for 2 years, and has just returned from his third trip to Space Camp. This summer he earned his first real paycheck for running the sound equipment for a wedding at our church. Now, if I could just get him to clean his room. I know things get tough for him because he is the oldest. He is paving the way for his brothers. They get in is space when all he wants is to be away from them.
Carson is my middle child. Although he is eight years old, he is still very much my baby. After Carson was born, he was rushed to NICU due to fluid in his lungs. It was very scary for us, and he still has problems to this day. He has to have breathing treatments when the weather changes or he will get sick. Living in south central Kentucky where we can experience all four seasons in one week can pose major health risks for him. We have to be very cautious even with a runny nose or slight cough. It's hard for family to understand that we don't visit much due to the cigarette smoke. He has asthma and is allergic to nuts and peanut butter. So, I carry around an EpiPen and inhaler everywhere we go. Carson is very matter of fact. Repetition is pointless if he already knows something (Seriously, the two weeks his kindergarten teacher made him trace his name was torture....on both of us.). In first grade, he was placed into a small reading intervention group because he was having trouble with nonsense words. I just had to laugh. Nonsense words??? Are you kidding? If they don't really exist and he is already reading on a 3rd grade level, Carson doesn't care about nonsense words! Carson loves science. He loves to read. He learns things, and I'm like, "What? Where did you learn that?" He's taught me stuff that I actually had to look up because I just couldn't believe he would know something like that. Carson is a very neat kid. He has the advantage of being able to do things with Colin and be a "big kid" or do things with his little brother. When my youngest child was born, I had to take Carson out of daycare. He would get up with me during the middle of the night to help me with diapers and bottles. He became my shadow and developed a bond with his baby brother. I am curious to see what Carson will do as he gets older. He is such a homebody like his mama, but he loves to learn. He can be quite a character too! He has the most awesome Charlie Brown dance you have ever seen!
My youngest son is Carter. The baby. Yes, he is four years old, and I still call him The Baby. He asked me the other day if he was a toddler. I informed him he was actually a Preschooler, still though, my baby. Carter arrived a little early after we found out I had been losing amniotic fluid. The boy hasn't stopped going since the day he was born. He is VERY active, VERY rowdy, and VERY funny. You never know what is going to come out of his mouth. The boy loves to play...play outside, play toys, play iPad, play soccer, play baseball, play, play, play. If you want an adventure, take him to play some miniature golf. Oh, my! The first time we took him, we were all sweaty and tired. He and Carson both loved every minute of it and were like wild animals let out of a cage. During that vacation, I think we played at Goofy Golf every single night! Carter doesn't realize how little he is. Being the youngest, he has always been around older kids. He thinks when Colin's friends come over that they are there to play with him. He is our social creature. But you have to be careful around him. He likes to hit, and he hits hard, in places he shouldn't. We are working on that. We were embarrassed when he brought his barber to his knees at the ball park one night. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He comes ups with something new to say or do all the time. Right now, he is stuck on "Mama, smell my pain." After saying that, he then shoves something in my face to smell: an armpit, foot, or his butt. Good times! But he is definitely my cuddle bug. We have our routines. We have our "Mommy and Carter Time" because well, it is special to him and he has to have it. He is definitely a mama's boys.
I absolutely LOVE being a mom. It is definitely tough. My kids are no angels and I am no saint. So, yes, things get a little hairy. They disobey. I fuss. They keep on. I fuss a little louder. They keep on. I yell. They tell me I am mean and don't like it when I yell, and I tell them, they are disrespectful and I don't like it when they don't obey me. If they would just do what I said the first time I said it, our lives would be so much simpler! There are times we are laughing, calm, having a good time, and all of sudden, they are ready to get each other. I am prying kids off of kids, and swatting butts, and yelling, and they are yelling, and slapping at each other. It's in those moments I'm like, "Wait! What just happened?" We all totally lost it in a matter of seconds.
Sometimes it is so hard to remember that my kids aren't these perfect creatures, that they will disobey and fuss and fight and not make good choices. That is difficult when I know they know better. Sixth grade about killed me this year. As a teacher, I take pride in the fact that my kids know (well, should know) what parents and teachers expect, and I had the allusion they would always do the right thing. But when Colin chose not to do his work for reading the last quarter, I about died. What? One of the smartest kids in his class?? An F in reading??? He chose not to do the work???? Oh, this mamateacher wasn't going to have it. It about killed us both, but he brought the F up to a B. Whew! That was close.
God has entrusted me with these children. He chose me to be their mom. God's ways are perfect, and He doesn't mess up. Why then do I doubt that I can be the mother these kids need me to be? I know that Satan is fighting for my children just like I am. I don't want him to get his hands on them, but I worry that my actions will allow him to. I know I need to lean on God to be the mom I am supposed to be. I know that if I truly seek Him, God will restore my, refresh my perspective, and guide me.
I am thankful for God's mercy. I need His forgiveness daily. I need to not define myself by my mistakes, but take heart in the good moments, those moments that really build my children up. I have to stop expecting everything to be great and calm and easy all the time. That's not realistic. There are going to be days of sibling rivalry, disobedience, and flat out defiance. There are going to be days they don't clean up their toys, put their dirty dishes away, or clean the pee off the toilet seat. There are going to be days where we feel like we are going to pull our hair out if we have to spend one more moment together. But there are also going to be the days we laugh together, swim together, play together. There will be the days we give hugs, kisses, and high fives. There will be the days we pray together, sing together, and encourage one another. Those are the days I need to draw my strength from. I need to dwell on those days, not the tough days. Those tough days are for learning, for forgiving, for moving on.
No matter what day I am having, I am thankful. Thankful that God gave me an amazing husband and allowed us to be the parents of these precious children.