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Thursday, February 10, 2011


Back when Devin was little, and I was still a Rookie mom, I read everything about parenting and babies that I could get my hands on.

I subscribed to all the parenting magazines and kept What To Expect The First Year out on the coffee table, reaching for it every time he sneezed, did something new or pooped a funny color to check to see if this was normal and to assure myself that he was progressing just as he should be.

My worrisome nature was magnified by about 300 percent and I became so fixated on the health and well-being of my little bundle of joy that I think I forgot who I was for awhile.  My world was now all about being a Mom.

I showed him the Baby Mozart and Baby Einstein videos, learned all the words to "Hush Little Baby" and the "Brahms'" Lullaby and sang and read him to sleep every night. 

I was determined to be a perfect mom and to raise a perfect, well above average child. 


My first setback came along by what I deemed to be a great big Mom Fail in the breastfeeding department.  I had read all the books and took all the parenting classes so I knew "breast was best".  I convinced myself that he would not live up to his full potential if I did not succeed by breastfeeding him for at least one full year.  

I hadn't planned on the intense pain I experienced every single time he latched on or the infection I developed in the first month.  I read and read some more, talked to the lactation specialists on the phone, who assured me it would get better so I kept crying and trying and crying some more. 

Until I couldn't take it anymore.  Five weeks was all I lasted and I felt like the worst mom in the whole world for stopping. But, an amazing thing happened.  He grew and thrived anyway, was always above the 95th percentile in growth at his doctor's appointments and was an easygoing, joyful baby.  

Then, when he was 4 years old, the Dracenator came along and I was a Rookie no more.  I was lucky to get an hour of uninterrupted sleep at a time. For two years!  

This kid never let up.  He wouldn't sit in a car seat, stroller or bouncy seat without bucking up and screaming to get out.  He wouldn't watch Baby Mozart or sit quietly while I read to him. 

Although I was the stay home mom now that I had longed to be, I found myself daydreaming of a job that would give me a break!
The only thing that came easy with him was breastfeeding. Imagine that.  No pain. No bleeding. No infection. 

I was now a successful breastfeeder and it was the only thing that put that little firecracker out for awhile, which is why he was breastfed well into toddlerhood.   

I now scoffed at parenting magazines and "how to be the best parent this side of the Mississippi" books. Mozart, Smozart! 

Please, please, please just BE STILL for ONE MINUTE!...I'll give you a cookie...a new toy?  Here, take my cell phone!  Just CHILL OUT!  Pleeease!  Give me a break!

When he was five months old, I became a widow.

So here I was, battling grief, struggling to keep my head above water all while trying to raise a 4 year old whose world had just crashed down around him and this baby, who although I loved deeply and with every ounce of my being, was testing my patience and sanity on just about every given day. 

Looking back, I don't even know myself how I managed it.  Only by the grace of God, I suppose.  I remember constantly reminding myself that God will never give us more than we can handle though I began to doubt it many, many times. 

I was no longer striving to be the perfect mom I thought I had to be back in my Rookie days.  I now felt it was all I could do to get the three of us through the day, all still in one piece, and with my sanity still in tact.  

Things got easier with time and we all made it through it.  Now when I have a particularly stressful parenting day, I try to remind myself of that time and how this little thing or that little thing is nothing compared to what I have overcome.  

And I am grateful.  

Sometimes now when I see a picture of myself as that Rookie mom I once was, looking so young, fresh-faced and naive,  I smile and remember what it was to be her and thank God that I have become the woman I am today.

A woman who knows that she is never going to be a perfect mother with perfect children.  A woman who knows that things don't always go the way she thinks they should.

A woman who still worries too much but now has the wisdom to know that with a little gumption, a little hard work and a  whole lot of love and prayer, everything will eventually fall into place just as it should and that, no matter what, the sun will keep on rising and setting just as it always has...

This post was inpsired by Mama Kat's writing prompt, "You know you’re a rookie mom when you…" 
And Jenny Matlock's  Alphabe-Thursday...The Letter 'R'.


  1. I know the feeling about reading the parenting books and magazines with the first one! By the 3rd, I am lucky if I stick with time out consistantly. Our little crazy boys should get together, I am sure they could cause some trouble together :)

    Stopping by from Mama Kat's

  2. Hi! I could relate to this on many levels. My youngest is now 8 and I have several young friends who are in the Rookie stages now. It is funny to watch them struggle to be the best mom ever. I have to watch what I say knowing that they will learn soon enough.
    Thanks for sharing your story. It is nice to meet you. I'll be following!
    :) Jen

  3. Oh yes, thinking we can be the perfect mom...that doesn't last very long. We're all just doing the best we can.

    I admire your strength in getting through such a tough time.

  4. be who are you are,
    try your best, then you are perfect.

    the imperfect is perfect.

  5. We have discovered there is no manaul for JDaniel. We try to read what do to do and pray a lot.

  6. Beautiful post.

    I know it is encouraging to so many other moms out there.

  7. I remember the days when my first born consumed my life. And then #2 comes along and you just go with the flow. What a difficult journey you have had. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thank you for sharing your touching story.

    I could relate to your first breast feeding experience. I thought I was the worst mother in the world because my milk didn't come in and my breast feeding attempt resulted in me starving my little guy. He flourished when I switched him to formula.

    Obviously, you are a very strong and resilient woman. That's what it takes to be a wonderful mom.

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  10. This was a very heartfelt post just in time for Valentine's Day! I too have learned not to sweat the small stuff and that bribery works better than reasoning after the 3rd boy!
    Hang in there momma! You appear to be doing magnificently!

  11. Great "R" post - brought back memories from when my girls were little things too. I gave up long ago trying to be the Superwoman, Perfect I'm just Perfectly Me :)

  12. Sounds like you have learned a lot, with much of your wisdom coming the hard way.

    That only serves to make it more valuable, and I thank you for sharing it.


  13. I was wondering if child #2 was going to be the opposite of child #1. Funny how that happens... {:-Deb

  14. Oh I cannot even imagine. I clicked on you from Bees with Honey having no idea you had played along with Mama Kat.

    Its good to know we all struggle -

  15. I had so much less anxiety with my second baby, but didn't realize how different they would be from each other, right from the moment she was born! Motherhood is such a blessing! :)

  16. What a lovely post. That was many years ago for me but it sure brought back memories.

  17. What a great post. I know as a rookie mum I tried to do everything the 'right' way. By the time number 2 showed up, thankfully I was over that a bit.
    Now with 12 years of this parenting gig under my belt I cringe inwardly when I hear soon to be new mothers planning their lives and unborn children's lives by the book.

  18. I struggled a lot with letting that perfect parent notion go. I think all of us moms go through that. It's a nice awakening call I believe ;)
    I never knew that you were a widow. I have all the respect in the world for you for what you ha e overcome. You are a very strong soul.

  19. I wanted to be the perfect mom when my first child was born. Then I got over it! And guess what? They all turned out fine!!

  20. What a wonderful honest post. I think every Rookie mom should read this.

  21. Who ever thought it was a good idea to write those books...was wrong. No child is the same. There is no one right way to doing things. And I know the pain you are talking about with breastfeeding. I breastfed the oler4...but my baby #5 just wasn't having it. Pain like you can't imagine...well, yes, you can. But look, he came out alright.
    You, once again, amaze me.

  22. So beautifully written - because I think so many of us relate! I found myself chuckling and grinning in embarrassment about how many things I recognized about myself as a rookie :)

    Thanks - new follower here!

  23. Wow. You are amazing. My heart goes out to you with the struggles you've been through. Those kids are lucky to have an incredibly strong mom! Thanks for sharing your story!

  24. It does help to have guidelines through books and others' advice, but in the end we drop this and modify that to find our way. You surely have. Thank you so much for sharing your path from rookie with me and us.

  25. From the sound of it, you are an awesome mom :) We've all been there...the whole Rookie mom thing. All the books, preparations and ideals we come up with never really gets us ready for the reality of being a mother. We all learn as we go. Not everything that we learned works for every baby and sometimes it just clicks. The fact that you wouldn't give up and that you continued to learn, makes you the best mom for your kids. They are very lucky to have you as their mom :)

  26. I started out the first time with books and mags too. I felt like I had to do everything just as it was supposed to be done. Quickly we realize that it's just silly to do things any way but the way that's right for us!

    You've been through so much, and I am so proud of the woman and mama you are!

  27. I think a lot of us have had the same experience...

    I think I lasted a few months before I just couldn't do it anymore.

    Be kind to yourself and do the best you can, that's all any of us can do...

  28. I can't even imagine how hard it was to lose your husband at that time in your life. It's already such a hard adjustment period.
    Only one of my kids breastfed well, the others I struggled with & eventually gave up.
    I think striving for perfection in parenting is futile and just brings on unnecessary stress! I don't attempt it nor do I pretend to.

  29. poignant post! Thanks for sharing it!
    What is perfection anyway?!

  30. I know how hard it is to be a mom and I am now watching my kids be moms. It is one big guilt trip until you finally realize, there are no perfect moms. If there were, we wouldn't need a Savior. I know the only way you can do it without a husband is with the grace of God.

  31. This post brought back so many memories of when my children were small.

    That feeling of failure is so strong among those of us that care deeply...something that seems to go hand in hand with almost every mother I've ever met.

    All you can do is the best you can...with every phase of your childs life. Instill in them what you know to be important, teach by example and be kind to yourself.

    Obviously you are a strong and intelligent woman driven by compassion and the desire to do 'the right thing'.

    You never outgrow "rookie". My kids are all around 30 year now and I am still learning my way through our relationships sometimes.

    Thanks for linking this to Alphabe-Thurday's letter "R".

    I enjoyed this thoughtful and thought provoking post.