Snot on your shirt because there were no tissues close by, a spit up stain down the back of your black shirt that you carried around for hours (because you simply didn’t realize it was there), bruises from a toy tripped on, a poopy diaper up the back of the baby that gets all over you– after you had just finished changing the little munchkin, dark circles under the eyes due to one too many sleepless nights, and vomit (on you) because they simply couldn’t make it to the bathroom, are all badges of honor worn by a great mother.
This was my first mommy blog post…thought it would be worth revisiting. My children have aged since this blog…but the Cockerham chaos continues. My friend Nicole says in her super cute southern voice she has eaten a lot of crow over the past few years. A southern expression for all those that have said, “My Child Will Never”…and then they did indeed do x, y or z–you just bellied up to a big plate of plate of crow. I daily pull out my fork…and for those of you who have eaten your fair share of crow…OR make mental statements about what your future children will or won’t do…this is for you!
As I am sitting down to write…I realized that my boys are outside. (I mean I knew it…I sent them out on the back porch to eat their snack.) They are eating outside partly because it is a BEAUTIFUL day and partly because I don’t want to pick up the crumbs that will cover my kitchen floor after they are finished! My 2.5 year old is proudly wearing moose slippers…and to me it was not worth the argument to get him to put on tennis shoes. His right cheek is covered in some sort of brown smudge. It is actually left over from his lunch. I almost always get his face and hands wiped after lunch. But occasionally my 3rd is off and running before I realize that his face needs to be wiped! Currently I have the computer on my lap and he is perfectly content with his face this way…I will wipe it when I have completed this thought. In the process of writing the past 8 sentences my boys have come inside and my two year old has taken off his shirt, jeans, underwear and socks. He has striped down to buck nakedness and he is twirling circles in the middle of the living room floor. My 4 year old is shirtless so I think he got the idea from his big brother. The 4 year old is jumping from a kitchen chair on to the floor. He is not hurting anyone and is actually getting a lot of energy out. My 4 year old is fearless and an incredible climber. At gymnastics he shimmies up the 15 foot gigantic rope like a monkey. Just this past weekend he was scolded by a by-stander for running around a 3 foot concrete fountain. I was standing right there and it was really bothering her that he was running. I am very hands off when it come to physical feats and attempts that my kids make. My 4 year old is very athletic and sure-footed. I try to weigh the risks and see whether the risk of him getting hurt is greater than the risk of stifling him truly expressing his BOYNESS. Boys need to play—HARD. My sweet little girl would be SO happy just coloring, constructing crafts and collecting flowers while skipping around the yard. My boys are built differently. They long to WRESTLE, CLIMB and JUMP. In the winter they get a little stir crazy…I see my boys get a “look” in their eyes and the look truly shows the difference in design. I recently read that testosterone levels double in boys between ages 3 and 4. This does seem to explain why my daughter is content reading a book and playing with dolls, while within the same time frame my boys have steam coming from their ears and start pushing pillows off the couch and swinging fake “swords” (i.e. wooden drumsticks). We have an open floor plan downstairs and often on those cold winter days I would tell all the kids before they watch a show or did much of anything they must run 10 times around the “circle.” So from kitchen to living room, to play room to hallway they would run…me counting or running with them depending on the day. On a long cold winter day we would complete 50 “laps” as it was so appropriate to let them move! Now 26 sentences in, the chair has now been turned over and they are contorting like snakes through the rungs, weaving in and out of the legs. For those who were concerned about my son’s face being wiped…good news…he was sadly just sent to timeout for “throwing” the chair…(yes, he is freakishly strong)…and so after some discipline he emerged with a good attitude and a clean face.
I am convinced that pre-children if you told me this was going to be my first blog on mothering I would have told you that you had lost your mind. MY children would never…have a dirty face, play outside in slippers, jump off of furniture, run around naked, throw chairs, fill in the blank. For those women who have not had children yet…be careful what you vow your child will or will not do. I also am certain that there are mothers who are reading this whose hair is standing on the back of their necks and they are very uncomfortable with all that I shared. I share it because for too long I have been shackled to a lie. I believed that I was a “bad mom.” The belief started very quickly after my daughter was born and it stayed with me for about 3 years of parenting. I still have a nagging thought after receiving a nasty “you’re a bad mom look” from a judgmental bystander; or allow my mind to roll over a comment made that was intended to “sting” about my parenting. In that moment I become seized with shame or guilt. But it is fleeting…and for the most part…I am free. I don’t need to defend or explain all of my choices and the reasons for why I do what I do. I love my kids like crazy, invest in their precious little lives daily and PRAY fervently for God to help fill in the places where I mess up or have in some way “messed them up.” Freedom brings a lot of wonderful things and mostly it provides JOY and LIBERTY as a mom. It brings about a LONGING for other moms to know and feel the same. I am passionate about young sweet moms or future moms finding freedom and grace so that they don’t have to live with the shame or guilt that I lived with for too may years!
Let me end in this way: No matter how differently you thought you were going to do it, no matter what your mother, neighbor or your girlfriend said or implied, no matter how many accidents your child had this morning while potty training, please hear me say…
YOU ARE A GREAT MOM.
May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,