Momming ain't easy May 02 2017
My pal, Amy Lester, has always been the mom I imagined when I started dreaming of this blog. Watching Amy as a mom has inspired and challenged me, mainly because she is willing to be raw and honest about parenthood and because she and Justin have a delightful sense of humor. So here it goes!
(Amy and her kiddos at our LOVE MOM WELL event. PC: ElyFair Photography)
How many kids do you have and what are their ages and names?
I have 3 kids Kash-7, Noble – 3, Ruby June- 2
Are you working, not working, worked until you had kids, working with kids or whatever other version of career that I am not thinking of?
I just started a full time job, I was working part time on the weekends. It was hard on our family. Easter weekend was the first weekend in almost 3 years that we have had all together.
If you do work, what do you do?
I'm the Nursing Supervisor for Just Kids Pediatrics and Urgent Care
Are you from Oklahoma and if not, what brought you here?
Born and Raised in Oklahoma, we lived in Portland OR for 1.5 months shortly after we were married, but realized we love OKC more than we thought, and (mixed with some other reasons) decided to move back home.
What does your day to day look like?
My day?...Get up and shower, make lunches, get ready for work, kiss my kids and husband, drive to work, encourage the staff, find the best way to make the day function well, put out fires, love on other people's kids, take vital signs, comfort worried parents, swab for flu and strep, take x-rays, give Tylenol, give suckers, give hugs, give shots, give more hugs, make sure staff has everything finished for the day, drive home, help make dinner, give baths, put on jammies, change diapers, snuggle, read books, sometimes rock and sing, pray, say goodnight, watch a bit of tv with my husband, fall alseep on the couch, collapse in bed at 9:30, maybe make room for sex with my husband and fall asleep. I'm sure I left some things out.
What is the greatest parenting hack you have discovered as a parent?
Kids using a straw to eat Gogurt!!! It is so much less messy.
What is your biggest challenge as a mom?
Being a mom has so many big challenges...but I think my biggest challenge is making time to take care of myself. If I am spent, I can't pour into them very well. I get cranky and I yell way more than I want to. It is sooo hard for me to do things that refresh and replenish me, but I am learning that it is so very necessary for my sanity, and for the hearts of my children.
What is something simple/silly/helpful that gets you through a tough day…or any day?
Music. I love music. It calms me. Also deep, quality conversation with a friend....and a good nap.
Are you an extrovert/introvert/both and what challenges does that bring as a parent?
I used to be super extroverted, but the older I get the more introverted I become. I think becoming a parent does that. I find myself feeling so overwhelmed in crowds now, when I used to thrive in those settings. It is definitely a different ball game than when I had no one else to look after or worry about.
How do you relax when you are stressed?
I don't really know, so if you have any suggestions, I'm open to them!
What is that thing you have been dreaming of in the back of your head, big or small? It could be something as simple as a bath to yourself or something big, like changing careers.
I have many dreams, but lately, I can't stop thinking about foster care and adoption. It’s in my heart. One day we will open our home. (We just need a bigger one :-), legitimately.
Also, I want to go to Disney World every year. Seriously. It's magical.
What is something really important that your kid(s) grows up knowing? You can’t say that you love them! That is too easy.
Justin and I talk about this all the time. I think there are a few things that are equally important to us.
We want our kids to have a love and understanding and respect for all types of people from all cultures, religious preferences or not, abilities or disabilities, etc. We want them to know that love makes a difference, even if small, and it changes lives.
We also want them to know that there is no choice they could make that will change how we feel about them. They don’t have to perform for our love, and even if they royally fuck up we still love them the same.
We want them to know that we (their parents) make mistakes...and we keep going. We own our decisions, do what we need to do to make things right, and we move forward. We don’t want to hide our faults or mistakes from them.
What has been the hardest phase/thing you have gone through as a parent? It can be related to your kids or not.
By far the hardest phase was last year. Our oldest daughter went through a great trauma, the kind of trauma that most parents don't want to think about. We were thankful for what did not happened but so devastated by what did. We grieved. We were angry. We fought for her. She disappeared for a while. Not physically, but emotionally and socially and we did not know how to help her. We put her in therapy. It affected every part of our lives, home, work, school, our marriage, finances, even what small social life we had...cause let's be honest, when you have three kids, doing anything social becomes very difficult. It was such a dark time for us. We didn't feel like God was near or that he even saw us. It felt so lonely and it took months for me to not feel mom guilt. MOM GUILT is a real thing. We worry about every decision we make, every word we speak, every action or lack of action. We are doing the best we can to raise beautiful, kind-hearted, mentally emotionally and spiritually healthy small people who make a difference in the world...trying to hold it together long enough to make it to bedtime, so we can go to bed, sleep lightly so we can hear every sound they might make in the night, wake up, and do it all again the next day. Why? Because there isn't a better job out there. From the moment I very first held my oldest, I knew I'd never be the same, and it would be the hardest and most rewarding thing I will ever do in this life...be her mom. So feeling like I was helpless to help her and that I could have potentially protected her from all of it, was excruciating. It took months for my heart to let go of all the what-ifs and allow myself to sit in the shit for a while. To call it what it was and grieve and sit stay there...in order to heal and to help her heal.