With a new year comes all sorts of new things, which for Open Hands, Open Home includes Motherhood Monday! Motherhood Monday will be a motherhood interview from different moms that I reach out to who agree to answer my questions and include some pictures. I have already gotten several in, and they are all such a treat. I know some really, really great mommas, and I am so excited to share their wisdom with y’all.
The first mom I am welcoming to the blog to participate is my own mom, Cindy! It only seemed right to have the woman who raised me be the very first to share her motherhood wisdom!
My mom is one of the most caring and loving people you will ever meet. She is the kind of person who would give you the shirt off her back, and I’m not just saying that because she is my mom. She would truly do this for anyone. She taught me what it looks like to love others selflessly, and she continues to be the one I text with motherhood questions about my own child. She is a kindergarten teacher, and she cares about her students like they are her own. She is the best CiCi to Henry, and it has been so much fun to see her as a grandmother. It was a lot of fun for me to read her answers to my questions, so I’m excited to share them today!
1. Explain your “motherhood journey.” Including your kid(s) and their age(s)
Mark and I had been married for five years and we decided that we were ready to become parents for the first time. We had bought our first house and that was the final step in our plan before becoming parents. I stopped taking birth control pills and like the doctor told us, we used other protection for a few months before trying. I was obsessed and read everything I could about how to get pregnant. This was before the Internet and Google where you could just type in what you wanted to know about and 100 links would come up. I bought books and followed some tips. Finally we bought an ovulation kit and it worked! I took a home pregnancy test in the first part of November 1993 and was thrilled to see that thin blue line. Mark and I called our parents and siblings and I remember going to work that same morning and telling my closest friends. I remember the morning sickness, the cravings (chocolate milk every night), and the sonogram when Mark was standing at my foot holding unto my cold toes and the nurse telling him, “Hide the credit cards Dad, everything is going to be pink! It’s a girl!” We were both crying and we were fascinated by the image on the screen. We had taken a VHS tape with us and they recorded the sonogram for us. When we walked out of the doctor’s office, Mark took out a pen and wrote “Erin Diane Hutter” on the tape because we had picked out a girl’s name and a boy’s name. Fast forward through getting the nursery ready, baby showers, and finding it hard to sleep during a very hot pregnancy. Erin Diane decided to grace us with her presence a week after her due date and after 32 long hours of labor on July 27, 1994. She had her daddy wrapped around her little finger from the beginning. Our life was never the same and it was wonderful!
About 2 years after Erin was born, we decided she needed a sibling. This time was totally different. It was a little difficult getting pregnant and I suffered a miscarriage. In the summer of 1996, I took another pregnancy test and it was positive and we were thrilled once more! From the very beginning of this pregnancy, everything was different. There was no morning sickness and my cravings were not that same. I was so tired but had a toddler to take care of so there were no naps after work or sleeping late on the weekends. I just knew we were going to have a boy and when we had the sonogram this time, I didn’t even have to wait for the nurse to tell me. I saw the evidence on the screen and said, “It’s a boy, right?” The nurse confirmed that I was right. There were tears from Mark again and I could tell he was thinking ahead of what he would get to share with his son. This time when we walked out of the doctor’s office, Mark wrote, “William Wyatt Hutter” on the VHS tape. While we waited on our Will to arrive, we got a big girl bed for Erin and tried to potty train her. We got another nursery ready (with a sports theme) and tried to prepare ourselves for parenthood that involved two children! I started having contractions on March 17, 1997 and we took our first trip to the hospital with hopes of seeing our baby boy for the first time. After spending the night in the hospital, they sent me home because Will just wasn’t quite ready. We made our way back to the hospital early in the morning on March 20, 1997. I was induced and they broke my water. Will came quickly after that! Right after lunch, our bouncing baby boy came into the world. Erin got to come in and see her baby brother have his first bath. Will was born one day before his dad’s 29th birthday. On that day, Mark and I were no longer “rookie” parents and we were in for the best days of our lives. Our family was complete!
Erin is now Erin Hutter Roberts and 22 years old. She and Sam (our handsome and hard working son in-law) were married on August 1, 2015. She graduated from The University of Alabama Summa Cum Laude on May 7, 2016 with a collaborative degree in elementary and special education. She and Sam moved to Atlanta on May 22, 2016 and made me a grandmother on August 2, 2016! Will is now 19 years old. He lives in Tuscaloosa, attends Shelton State Community College, and works at Publix as a produce clerk. He plans to transfer to The University of Alabama after this year and major in Telecommunications and Film. He has been dating a precious girl name Hannah for almost two and half years.
2.What is the biggest lesson (or 2 or 3) that you’ve learned from being a mom?
- I learned what unconditional love feels like to give and to receive.
- I learned that my children learn more from my actions than my words.
- I learned that time spent together making memories is more precious than anything money can buy.
- I am learning what it feels like to let go and that I am not very good at it.
3. Share one (or 2 or 3) funny or sweet stories that make it all worth it.
When Erin was in kindergarten, there was a child in her class with special needs. Erin often spoke about him at home but never in a negative way and I knew who he was because I was the room mom for her teacher and spent some time in the classroom with the students. At kindergarten graduation, the students sang songs and the teachers said nice things. Each child’s name was called out and they walked up to their teacher and took a certificate from her hand. My eyes filled with tears when Erin’s name was called because I couldn’t believe her first year of school was over and how all of a sudden she looked grown up walking up to get her certificate. My teary eyes turned into full blown ugly cry when she started walking up to her teacher again because this time, it wasn’t her name called but the name of her friend with special needs and Erin was holding his hand and being his helper. The two of them walked up to their teacher and got his certificate and walked back to their seats together. No one had told me ahead of time that this was going to happen and Erin acted like it was no big deal. I should have known then that her heart would lead her into special education.
When Erin and Will were teenagers, they went on a mission trip with our church to West Helena, Arkansas. They were camp counselors for children in a high poverty area that was close to the Mississippi River. The young counselors were supposed to be placed in small groups with one adult and that group would be in charge of a group of children for the week. The counselors would take their group of children to each activity through out the day and supervise their comings and goings. Well, the group that Will was a part of either didn’t have an adult or the adult had to be somewhere else. Will was 15 years old and the time and the youngest counselor in his group. My sister and Erin told me that Will took charge of his group and that the other counselors in his group followed his lead. The children in Will’s group started calling him “coach”. There was one particular boy in Will’s group that would seek attention in any way he could get it even if it was in a negative way and Will knew how to handle him with respect. Will loves hats and takes very good care of his hats. He is usually not without one. Well, he used his beloved hats as a way to make a connection with this boy. I was told a story of how this child would not come out from under a picnic table one day and how Will got under that table with him. When they came out from under the table together, the little boy was wearing Will’s hat. I like to think that this child felt how important Will thought he was by sharing his hat with him. I regret that I wasn’t there to see this in person. I was so very proud of Will and how he treated that child and earned that child’s trust.
Our family memories are full of funny and sweet times that show every second of motherhood has been worth it. I really could write for days about things that made me cry from laughter or cry from pride. Like, the time I taught Will where the hands on my watch would be when it was time for church to be over. He used to play with my watch in church. One Sunday, we had a guest preacher and he got a little long winded. When the hands on my watch showed 11:00, he was not finished with his sermon but that didn’t stop Will from announcing to the congregation and the guest preacher that is was, “Time to go!” Or, the time when Erin would not stop saying “Momma” before she would tell me something in the car. In the time it took to drive from church to the grocery store she had said “Momma” about 25 times. “Momma, we talked about Noah in Sunday School.” “Momma, I love this song!” “Momma, do you like this song?” “Momma, that car is pretty.” Finally, I said, “Erin, you can tell me whatever you want but please stop saying momma before you say it.” The next thing I hear from her was, “Hey Cindy,….”
4.What do you think the biggest challenge of being a mom is?
Each stage in motherhood has challenges. Sleep deprivation, juggling all things that demanded my time, and trying to separate the mommy me and the wife me are all challenges that I remember facing as my children were growing up. As Erin and Will grew into young teenagers, one of the biggest challenges for me was stepping back and letting them handle their own problems. There were times when I wanted to say or do something in order to fight a battle for them and it was extremely difficult not to do so. With all that being said, I know without a shadow of a doubt that the biggest challenge for me by far in my entire journey of motherhood is not having my children at home with me anymore. I never knew how much I would miss the every day little things that we did together. Singing in the car with Erin or dancing in the kitchen with Will are some of my most fond memories of them growing up. For years, we spent most of our evenings coming and going from one sporting event or another. Someone always had practice, a game, a match, a lesson, or a school function. Our weekends were filled with traveling to some kind of tournament or just spending time with one another going to the movies or visiting friends. It felt like all of the busy times came to an end all at once and suddenly no one needed to be taken somewhere or cheered for from a set of bleachers. To say I miss seeing and being with my children daily would be a gross understatement. Sometimes I miss them so much it hurts. But, it makes the times we do get to spend together even more special.
5. If you could write a “job description” of being a mom, what would it say?
Title: Mom (Mommy, Momma, Mother)
Term of Contract: For the rest of your life!
Salary: Are you kidding? You will owe other people money before it is all over with.
Working Hours: 24/7/365, holidays, weekends
Qualities and Skills Required: must be able to multi-task at all times, prepare meals that everyone will love one day and hate the next, act as a taxi service and ATM, nursing and doctoring abilities, resourceful, knowledgeable in all household organization and cleaning procedures, ability to find long lost items of all sorts, masterful at scheduling any and all social events, afterschool activities, family gatherings, and medical appointments, but most of all you must posses the biggest heart possible because it will be filled more than you can imagine.
6. What’s something from your family growing up that you think affects your parenting or the way you raise your child(ren)?
My mother was and still is the most hard working and resourceful woman I have ever known. All throughout my life, I watched her make my clothes, recover furniture, cook big meals from scratch, strip and paint old wooden furniture and make it look beautiful, and basically use what we already owned to make our home warm and comfortable. She did everything herself. She worked as a cashier at a drug store 8 or 9 hours a day and still ran our household practically by herself. I hope that I use what I learned from her actions while raising my children. I have worked outside the home for most of their lives. I have tried to teach them how to do things for themselves and not to be afraid to try something new.
7. If you knew someone who just found out they were pregnant with their first baby, what would be your two pieces of advice for them? A practical tip and a piece of wisdom.
Practical tip – Try to know what to expect in the coming phases of development of your baby/child. This is the best way to be prepared.
Pieces of wisdom – Make memories! Do not forget to live in the moment, soak in the traditions you establish, and spend some quiet time everyday with your children. Read to them, sing with them, play with them, and teach them the golden rule!
I love my mom’s heart and the way she loves us and others, and I think you can really see that in her answers. When she says that she learned what unconditional love feels like to give, she isn’t kidding. She truly loves us more than words could ever say. Another one of the things I loved that my mom said, other than the funny and sweet stories from my childhood, is about memories. My parents did a great job of giving us experiences and memories to last us a lifetime and that I want to create with my kids. My mom took us to the library, to the zoo, to the beach, and to my Mamaw’s house to go to the creek with her! I have so many fun memories from my childhood because my parents made sure that we did things together.
Thank you for answering my questions, Mom!! I loved reading your answers and laughing at the funny stories I have heard, told, and remembered many times before. Your love for your family is so obvious!! I love you!
What was your favorite thing that my mom said? Do you have a question you want the Motherhood Monday moms to answer? Comment on this post or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Know a mom that needs some encouragement or can relate to my mom’s story? Send them a link to this post! The goal of these posts is to reach out, encourage, and empathize with moms all around.