Women’s History Month: Erica!

Now if you ever had the honor of being a mom, then you know that being a mom is one of the hardest jobs you will ever do.  There are times when you can work a full time job and come home and “working” at home is still more stressful than at your job.  I know for many moms especially single moms, the concern is even greater.  You are just trying to do it “right.”  Well as a mom myself I know that we sometimes put more pressure on ourselves to do it right than anyone else will ever know.  If you are a mom or thinking of becoming a mom, hear Erica’s story:

I thought the biggest thing I had to endure was getting my driver’s license… or turning 18… or graduating high school… or college…  or turning 21… or turning 30… or even becoming a Mom to 1 child. But I was wrong. My biggest challenge through my life thus far was becoming a Mom to 2 children.

My son and daughter are 1 year and 9 days apart. Not only did I experience 2 C-sections without their dad present, but I’ve also raised them solo since day 1.

I never knew I could operate on little/no sleep. I never knew I would know how to handle a screaming 2 year old and a starving/cranky 1 year old. I never knew how much I would rely on my children the way they rely on me. I don’t think there’s been one day where motherhood has felt easy. There has been “easier” days yes, but it is such a difficult responsibility. I have fought through sickness and injury to make sure they’ve always come first. This is actually a daily endurance. I have struggled and I have cried on the hardest of days as a single mom of 2. Motherhood is not for the weak. Something emerges from new mothers that is called devotion and love and courage. I know it took those 3 things for me to be the Mom I am today. I am so far from a “perfect parent”… but I learn with every mishap, mistake and/or misunderstanding and grow. This is how I endure. I grow. And sadly (and quickly) my babies are growing too. They are now charming and beautiful 5 and 6 year olds. Although time moves quickly… I feel remarkably justified in who they are today. I’d never want them to take my route but I do my best on a daily basis to be the best role model I can. I used to roll my eyes at my own mother when she’d say “When I was your age…”. But I get it now. We moms are wise. And someday our littles will understand! Until then, I will be there to kiss every scrape, wipe every tear, embrace every hug and cherish every “I love you Mommy” every single day. They are my reason for living. I’m shaping them, but reality is they’ve made me who I am today.

The legacy I want to leave my children are built around love, purpose and memories.

I don’t want my children to remember our arguments or the time I had to be stern. I want them to remember how much I loved them every single day. How much I loved my family and friends for all of their help through the years. I want them to cherish that feeling of love and spread it to everyone in their lives as well. I want them to know they are loved and are capable of receiving and giving love throughout their life. No matter how they do it or show it.

They have a purpose. I believe my purpose on Earth was to be their Mother. I have done everything in my power to provide them with the best life I could. That money doesn’t matter in life. You don’t have to be rich to have a purpose. That the smallest gestures and kindest words are the most rich of all. I don’t mind if they’re famous or plant their roots in a small town that no one has ever heard of. I am teaching them all kinds of ways to have a purpose. Their path is their choice… but my goal is that they have options. Chances to pick the best lifestyle for themselves. That they always aim and strive to be the best they can be, even if it’s not as good as others. I hope they live their life, not comparing themselves to others, but seeing different light in everyone.

Memories. Because memories last a lifetime. I want them to remember the things we did as they grew up. Beach trips. Cabin trips. Park days. Snow days. Favorite dinners. Favorite movies. Shadow puppets. Side walk chalk. Water slides. Jumping in the leaves. Throwing snowballs. I hope they always remember the routine things we did along with the routine season change. I hope the smell of a spring day makes them remember to open their windows. I hope the chill of a fall night reminds them of carving pumpkins. I hope the snow on the ground always turns them back into kids and they toss a snowball at their kid/s. And I hope in the mid-summer heat, they remember to be little again and hop into the creek with their kids. Or, turn the hose on and have a water fight fully clothed, just because. These are all things I’ve done with them in 5/6 short years and I hope they take these little memories of fun and laughter and repeat it all with their kids. Who knows… maybe someday when they visit me when I’m 75… I’ll be waiting just around the corner with the hose, when they ring the doorbell! (Who am I kidding, they’ll just walk right in.)

 

If I could tell my younger self anything it would be that I deserve respect. That I deserve the truth. That I deserve to be loved. That I’m not an object. And that real friends are hard to find. Somewhere along the line I got wrapped up in the wrong people. I allowed them to break down my self-esteem and devalue myself as a woman. Looking back, it isn’t hard to get wrapped up in negativity. And sadly, eventually you get used to hearing it and then you believe it. It is very hard to overcome. I have finally done that. I have finally valued myself at a higher level. I am working on my self-esteem. I would tell my younger self, that it doesn’t matter what anyone says. It doesn’t matter what the media says. I would have told myself to love myself. And to be happy with myself. That there is no right or wrong in size. In what kind of clothing I wore. In how I styled my hair. In the brand of shoes I had on my feet. I would’ve told myself to just be me. And whoever “likes” it, great! And whoever “didn’t like” it, sayonara! I’d let myself know that there will be friends who won’t make judgement on any of these things, and those are the friends you want in your corner. As the saying goes… “I’d rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies”.

My goals are to keep my sanity? Just kidding. Other than the usual, keeping my kids happy and healthy and safe, I suppose I’m working to better me. I am working towards losing some weight. I have been working to change my lifestyle to eating better/healthier (win win, cause I’m teaching the kids too!) I would someday like to purchase a home of my own, that we can call ours. I remember growing up, I had free reign of the 4 walls I called my bedroom. I could paint them, decorate them… I could do whatever I wanted to my own room. And, I want my children to have that opportunity. To express themselves and to watch how their expressions change. My ultimate goal is to watch my children grow and live happy lives. And take waaaaay too many pictures along the way! 

So I’m sure all of my moms could relate.  Moms are some of the hardest working humans on the planet.  We take a lot but when you are doing it right its all for the little people that look up to us.  No matter where you are in the journey don’t let things overtake you.  I have a motto and that motto is “it will be there tomorrow.”  Sometimes we get worked up if our to do list didn’t get done.  It will be there tomorrow.  Once not promised tomorrow is the smiling faces of content children.  We need to take courage and spend more time smiling than worrying about being on a certain schedule.

A special salute to all the moms who are making it look easy by yourself.  It’s never that easy.  I know the balance between work and home can be stressful.  The thankless nights are hard.  The many tears are frustrating.  You didn’t make your beautiful children alone but it doesn’t stop the anger at times from having to foot the bill alone either.  I salute you today because unlike women who have help, it can be hurtful navigating all of the holidays and birthdays alone.  I know its not hard but please don’t take your frustrations on your little people.  They are just as frustrated and pick up on your anger too.  Work through it. The one thing you can give them is stability and peace.

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