Fellow mom and blogger, Maria Smith, poses this question after offering an intimate view of her life as mom, “How do YOU do it?” She explains that she sees moms making forts, getting dirty with the kids, gardening and cooking amazing treats — and explains that she just can’t understand how other moms manage to do it all! I commented on her blog that, I am sure somebody looks at her and feels the same way and shared the post for other moms. I recommend reading the post as I am sure many moms will relate to this feeling — although, I’m not one of them.
I have always been too busy, as a mom, to really consider what other moms are doing might be better than what I’m doing. Before my oldest son was born, I had never touched a baby.. much less held or cared for one. At 22, I married my husband, creating a blended family. By 23, I was running a household with 2 teenage girls, a teenage boy and my irish twins born within 18 months of each other. I didn’t have time to wonder what other moms were doing — I followed my instincts, it’s all I had.
The honest truth is, life has changed so much over the past decade that it’s almost unrecognizable to what it once was. In many ways, my life as a mother has become increasingly easier as my boys age whereas other moms will face never-before-seen struggles as their children enter new life stages — I’ve been here before. I recognize these places, as I have experienced them in younger years with pre-teen and teenage stepchildren. Those children are all grown adults and have left the nest years ago, one by one taking with them a little more of the responsibility I once carried.
I have been through the struggles of a one-income family — moving once a year for the first five years of my marriage, juggling and overdrafting to pay bills, driving an old car that’s only kept alive because my husband was a master mechanic, struggling to feed 7 family members on a tight budget. I’ve been there done that.. it’s over, for now.
In the process, I became a master at turning things around to benefit me in some way. When we couldn’t afford to pay the natural gas bill we simply went without it for the entire summer… opting instead to cook dinners on a 2-burner camp stove, line-drying clothes and taking showers with the backyard hose. Serious fun, right? To my mastermind, that’s how I saw it — a fun experiment. It’s a practiced habit of self-preservation: What can I learn from this?
When my husband died, 3 years ago, I was completely devastated — in many ways, I still very much am. But, I learn from it and I so appreciate what the experience has taught me about life and what’s important and what I really want to offer to my sons while we are still together on planet earth.
I’m running a very customized version of motherhood, here at my house and I’m well aware of that fact. I was shocked, actually, when I learned that someone was looking at the portions of my publicly-shared life and asking, “How does she do it??” Maria told me that she had our adventures in mind while writing the piece, as she probably had several other moms and their strengths in mind.
How do I do it? I go with the flow. I have never had a plan for this and that’s a good thing because my life has been like the wild river flowing free – constant changing, destructive flooding, drying up in drought, and carving deep into my being. That’s not me walking on the water across a stagnant pool… It’s me drenched in mud, sweat and the river of dreams.