If She Only Knew…

Tonight while browsing through some different blogs, I came across a post, written almost exactly three years ago, which had a profound impact on me as I began to read through it.

It was written by a young mom of “two under two” and was called “Breast vs. Bottle”.

Okay…wait, wait, wait.   Before you roll your eyes and say, “Oh brother, here we go again with the whole “Booby Wars” debacle!”, let me tell you why this particular post got to me.

The first thing that struck me about this post was that the young woman writing it was obviously over-stressed, sleep-deprived, scared, and sad.  (I dare you to show me a young mother out there who can’t relate to that!)  Like all of us, she was struggling.  Like most robust, healthy, four month old males, her baby was hungry a lot of the time. The gist of the post was that she desperately wanted to exclusively nurse her son, after having “failed” to do so with her firstborn, but was having supply problems.    She nursed, he cried for hours.  She felt like a failure.  She supplemented, he slept like a log.  She felt like a failure.  She obsessively kept track of how many ounces of formula he required, and she despaired as that number grew higher and higher.

As I read, I could feel my eyes well up with tears of sympathy and sorrow until they eventually spilled over and rolled down my cheeks.  “If you only knew!”,  I whispered.  I wanted to hug her.  I wanted to talk to her, and tell her what a great job she was doing.  I wanted to help her understand that no mother, anywhere, was more perfect for her son than she was.  That she was a gift from God to that boy and that having a body which for unknown, and uncontrollable reasons, was not producing enough breast milk to satisfy a ravenous four month old, did not turn that truth into a lie.  I wanted to tell her to spend her time rocking, snuggling, giggling, singing, smiling, SLEEPING, and enjoying.  For I have learned that crying only blurs our sight, blinding us to the joy that is always there if only we would have eyes clear enough to see it.

I wanted to tell her that in exactly three years her sweet baby boy will the picture of perfect health.

I wanted to tell her that he will be one of the smartest children his age that she has ever met.

I wanted to tell her that when he smiles, which will be all the time, that people will be struck by the pure joy in his eyes.

That strangers will stop her in the supermarket to tell her how beautiful he is.

That he will do a mean Tasmanian Devil impersonation.

That he will love peanut butter sandwiches and cucumber slices for breakfast.

That he will struggle to hold heavy doors open for ladies, just like his daddy taught him.

That he will cover his ears and run away whenever she starts to sing.

That he will tell her approximately 250 times a day that he loves her “to the moon and back!”

And above all I wanted to tell her that when she tucks him into bed every night and asks him what he would like to say to Jesus, that he will sweetly and innocently thank God for his “precious Mommy.”

And that three years from now, she won’t be wasting time counting ounces because she will be far too busy counting blessings.

A Voice From Beyond the Trenches

Please join us in welcoming Sue to the blog as our first guest poster!

I’ve been a mom for more than half my life. By the time we were married five and a half years, we had three kids. It was a blur of diapers (mostly cloth), dishes (no dishwasher!), laundry (drying on a clothesline), toys, books, sleepless nights…you know the drill. Four years later we had another baby, and six years later another. Do the math, and by the time our youngest arrived, we had two teenagers.

I think there are two things that helped me most during those early years of figuring out how to be mom, since my own mother was very ill and five hundred kilometres away. One – having two amazing friends whose kids were close in age to my own. We supported one another, made food together, hung out with our kids together, and prayed together. To this day, they are still two of my dearest friends.

Two – having a couple of friends who were also mentors. They were both about eight or nine years my senior, with five kids each when we met. Their youngest children – babies at the time – were the same age as my eldest. They each were a source of encouragement and wisdom when things just seemed so hard. They didn’t use platitudes like, “Enjoy them while they are little. They grow up so fast.” No, they were both realists who remembered how challenging raising a brood can be, but they also enjoyed their kids. One of them taught me the basics of homemaking and baking. She was a lifesaver! I don’t think either of them ever realized the impact they had on my life during that time.

There was no social media back when I was raising our kids in the early years – just the telephone, which I spent lots of time on! (I became very adept at nursing a baby and talking on the phone at the same time.) Social media – especially blogs and Facebook – have opened up opportunities for moms to support one another in ways we never dreamt of all those years ago. And there’s even room for an “old mom” like me, to hopefully support other moms, to let them know that all the hard work, sleepless nights and tears pay off.

Sue A.

Sue is a mom of five and has been married to her husband, Paul, for 27 years. She was a registered nurse before she had kids, and has been a full-time stay-at-home mom since she had her first child, 26 years ago. She spent ten years as a freelance knitting designer and workshop teacher during that time. She enjoys reading, writing, cooking, knitting and crocheting, but her first loves are her faith and her family.