This week’s Motherhood Monday guest is my sister-in-law, Judith!
I met Judith for the first time when I was on the way to the beach with Sam and his family. We stopped at Judith’s house in Troy and got to see her students’ perform Grease (she is a high school theatre teacher). We stayed at her house for the night then headed to the beach! She rode with Sam and me to the beach, and I really got to know her sweet spirit and kind heart. Since then, we have shared a lot of memories from holidays to beach trips, weddings to late-night Dairy Queen runs. We became moms about 8 weeks apart. My nephew, Henry’s cousin, and Judith’s son, Crosby, was born about 8 weeks before Henry. We are so excited to see the two of them grow up together! Since having Crosby, I really feel like I have seen Judith truly come to life. She loves being a mom, and the love she has for Crosby is so obvious in her care for him.
1. Explain your “motherhood journey.” Including your kid(s) and their age(s)
To be honest, I always thought I would wait to have kids later in life. You see, I had dreams of moving to New York City after college and pursuing a career in theatre. But, as we all know, God typically has something better up His sleeve. When I finally submitted my hopes and plans to him in 2012, He took me in a different direction. Suddenly, my desire to hack it out in New York seemed more scary than exciting. Instead, a simple life in the country with a sweet husband and babies crawling on the floor looked exponentially more appealing. Enter: Brantley Park! My husband and I got married in November of 2013 and I landed a job teaching high school theatre in a perfectly quaint, southern town! We waited two years before trying for a child—but let me tell you, those free ovulation calculator apps really work! We became pregnant almost instantly, praise the Lord. In June of 2016 our lives changed forever when we met our son, Crosby Brantley Park: 6 lbs, 8 oz, 19 inches long. Absolute perfection.
2.What is the biggest lesson (or 2 or 3) that you’ve learned from being a mom?
I’d have to say the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my six short months of motherhood is that I fall way down on the list of important people. You know those “I Am Second” videos, where celebrities share their journeys of faith, admitting to be second to God? I think I’ve learned that I am third or fourth or fifth. After God, Brantley, Crosby, (and sometimes even my students), I find my spot. I’ve discovered that selflessness is synonymous to being a wife and mother. It’s not always easy, and I fail every day in small ways. Thank God for grace and that babies love their mommies even if they choose to take an extra-long shower with the Pack N’ Play outside the bathroom door.
3. Share one (or 2 or 3) funny or sweet stories that make it all worth it.
Crosby has recently learned how to reach out to people with both hands if he wants to be picked up. I’ll never forget the first time he reached out for me: eyes wide, and a grin on his face from ear to ear. His daddy was holding him at the time and, no offense to Daddy, but there’s just something about Mama! I had been at rehearsal for several hours after a long day of teaching. I was drained, but the moment my boy reached out for me, I felt complete. Wanted. Needed. Fully appreciated. Alive.
4.What do you think the biggest challenge of being a mom is?
For me, the biggest challenge of being a mom is not necessarily the mom part—but the being everything else AND a mom, part. As a high school theatre director, I’m accustomed to wearing several hats. I am costume designer, set constructor, sound technician, stage manager, acting coach, choreographer, lighting girl— you name it. But for some reason, since having Crosby, I find it so hard to be everything else on top of being his mom. It’s hard to be a good wife- and a mom. A good teacher- and a mom. A good friend- and a mom. He is my priority. He comes first. If my grandmother calls, but Crosby is asleep in my arms, I don’t answer even though I’d love to chat with her. If an important email comes in from work, but Crosby needs a bath, I don’t reply immediately even though it’s expected. If my husband has plans to take me to dinner and book a babysitter, but Crosby is sick and needs his mom to hold him, I cancel all plans even though I’d love to spend more time with my husband. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s healthy to have a life outside of your child, but right now my heart’s desire is to care for this perfect gift the Lord gave me. I feel honored to have been given that responsibility. But the hats are stacking up.
5. If you could write a “job description” of being a mom, what would it say?
Applicant must have the capacity to love deeply, fiercely, and without ceasing.
6. What’s something from your family growing up that you think affects your parenting or the way you raise your child(ren)?
My family was communicative. I was told every day, several times a day, that I was loved and that my parents were proud of me. When we got in fights, it was expected to ask for forgiveness before the matter was settled. At the dinner table, we were encouraged to talk about our day and name one thing we learned. We read aloud at night and always said our prayers together before bed. I love that aspect about my family. I hope to bring Crosby up in a communicative household where he feels safe to share his fears and his dreams.
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.
- At first, they sleep a lot. Take advantage of this!!!
- Take mental pictures! One day, Facebook and Instagram will be obsolete and you may have to rely on your own memory, heaven forbid. Stop and smell your baby’s head. Stare at them while they sleep. Be engaged. Be present. Soak in the small moments with your child. I have a hunch that they will be the most precious of all.
I love what Judith is said about being third, fourth, or fifth. She says that selflessness is synonymous with being a wife and mother. What a mouthful of truth! I love that she also admits that it is hard to do this. I, too, have felt the tension that comes from living a life completely on my own and for myself, coming second behind Jesus, and having to adjust my way of thinking when I got married and again when I had Henry.
Thanks for answering my questions, Jude! Your love for Crosby and being a mom shines, and I love that.
What was your favorite thing that Judith 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 that would like the Motherhood Monday posts? Send them a link to this post! The goal of these posts is to reach out, encourage, and empathize with moms all around.