Stay Strong and Love Big :: A Letter from Me…to Me

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Stay Strong and Love Big:: A Letter from Me...to Me | Houston Moms Blog

Twenty-one years into this journey called motherhood and I still sometimes feel like I’m on the remedial track. When there are triumphs – it’s easy to know that you are doing it right. But there will always be those happenings that make you question yourself. In my dream world, I would have some sort of magical guidance to prepare me for the road ahead.  Or perhaps simply {and yet not simple at all} if future me could leave a few post it notes or send me a letter at some key points in the journey. Something like this…

Dear {Present} Joi,

Well, you’ve gone and gotten yourself knocked up. Congratulations. Life as you know it will never be the same. Embrace it. You will love {most of} it. To help you in the coming years, I’ve compiled a few random suggestions. I know this seems a little weird, but just trust me. 

The Old Body

Stop buying shoes. After the first baby, you will never wear a 7.5 again. Save your money; you can buy shoes again in 2007.

Also, enjoy those perky pre-breastfeeding boobies. Eventually, you will have about 24 months of miles on them. Like your life before kids, those too – will never be the same. Begin saving for the high priced custom bras – the ones with cups that come in two different sizes. 

Advice and Doing It Your Way

As soon as you announce your pregnancy, you will get a truckload of unsolicited advice. Smile and take it. Read the books, boards and blogs. Listen to your already been there friends. Soak up the thoughts and opinions of family… and strangers too. Once that is done, trust yourself. Trust your instincts. Make the decisions you believe best for your family. Never be afraid to use your voice to request, require or demand that others respect your wishes when it comes to your children.

Also, know when to pick your battles. For example, if you find out that your crazy, sweet and bossy auntie – the one that loves and cares for your baby while you are at work – decided your baby was ready for Stage 2 foods a few weeks before you – it’s okay to let her make it. Especially, if the baby is alive and kicking and managing those soggy noodle chunks like a champ.

On the other hand, if you find out they are rolling around the city – without strapping your baby in car seat – it is perfectly appropriate to go completely cray cray on the offender. 

Lessons for the Kids

Make your kids do stuff they may not love because you know it will be good for them in the future. Start from the beginning and do not waiver. Vegetables. Picking up after themselves. Kindness. Honesty. Studying. There will be more. It does not get easier as they get older. Old habits die hard. Develop the habits you want them have as adults while they are children. Structure, health, good character and cleanliness are good things.

Also, money does not grow on trees. There will be a rainy day. There will be unforeseen emergencies and expenses. Teach them to save from the start. Also, hide their piggy bank from their dad.

Lessons for You

You may not understand this one now – but trust me. One day, cell phones, tablet, laptops and video games will be as common as the air you breathe. You will not be able to avoid them all. But create limits. Make sure your kids know about Legos, Connect Four, actions figures and blanket forts too. There is mad value in unplugging. And by golly, keep the kids away from this thing called Fortnite. You will thank us later.

Embrace natural consequences early in the game. By high school, you will be a pro. That lightbulb thing you will do during the teen years is legendary. People will talk of it years after the event. But you will miss out on some great learning opportunities and story telling fodder if your go to is incessant ineffective nagging. Natural consequences. Use them. From the start.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Parenting is challenging. All of your decisions will not be the right ones, but most of them will. Of the bad ones, none will result in loss of life, limb or liberty. #Winning.

Make memories. Laugh a lot. Take trips, big or small. Teach your kids to value experiences, relationships and people over money and things. Their lives will be richer for it. 

One evening circa 2003, your young son is going to come to you crying; he is going to tell you that his cousin pushed him off the top bunk. It will not be just his pride that is injured. Save the lecture on bunk bed safety. You won’t be able to tell at that time, but his arm is broken. When he comes back a few minutes later, it is going to be jacked up – a full hot mess of swollen tissue and mangled bone. Take a deep breath and exhale. Put your bra on. No one wants to see those long stringy things bouncing around at the hospital. Grab shoes that match. As you scramble to get to the ER, remember to put the injured child in the vehicle. You will need him once you arrive at the hospital. When you press the button on the garage door opener and get ready to back out – look behind you. Your friend Pam’s Honda Civic is parked directly behind you. Don’t hit it.

Even though your children will have the same parents and grow up in the same home, they will be incredibly different from one another. Because of this, their needs will be very different. Love them the same, but treat them differently. Each one will need more of some things and less of other things. It is your job to figure it out and respond accordingly. It will be harder than you think. 

Stay Strong and Love Big,

{Future} Joi

 

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Joi was born and raised in San Antonio. After a brief pit stop at the University of Texas in Austin, Joi moved to Houston in 1994 and began checking boxes off her never ending to do list. During this time and in no particular order, Joi taught a little bit of everything between first and eighth grades, got married and then divorced, completed grad school, birthed a few babies – Ferris {November 1997}, Warren {December 1999} and Laylah {March 2006}, moved an old lady into her home – Granny {January 1925} started working in Human Resources, served an excessive amount of time (on boards, in booster clubs, team momming) as a crazy sports momma, and learned a lot of life lessons. Joi is known for her unabashed honesty, always present sense of humor and her #TeamTooMuch style of doing everything. On most days, you can find her caught up in her love/hate relationship with politics, feeding her Facebook addiction, or counting the number of days until her last child graduates from high school.

5 COMMENTS

  1. My present self needed to hear this even though I managed to, with a few bumps, bruises and scraps along the way, get one up and out of my house. #Winning and #Learning2ForgiveMyself Love you Friend!!!

    • Hey lady! I definitely understand. Oh the things I would do differently if I had the opportunity – but alas we do the best we can with what we have and know at the moment. But look all six of our kids are alive and well! We did good! #winning
      PS You really are a superstar mother. Really.

  2. Hey lady! I definitely understand. Oh the things I would do differently if I had the opportunity – but alas we do the best we can with what we have and know at the moment. But look all six of our kids are alive and well! We did good! #winning
    PS You really are a superstar mother. Really.

  3. I love the angle of your approach. It was refreshingly entertaining and brought light to a real relatable topic. So many people refer to me as a “supermom” and I laugh because I try so hard but often feel like I am failing by no measurements of my kids success. They are awesome on every level and are always thriving. But I stress over the little things about myself as a mom because I’m not the same as when I started out on this parenthood journey and I fear I’m running out of steam. This post makes me wonder my outlook when I’m 10years down the line and looking back at how I felt in this moment.

    • Hey Elle! I so understand! I laugh when people call me Supermom and ask me how I do it! If only they knew there was a full grown chicken nugget tree in the third row of my Suburban and I am just hanging on by a thread. It really helps to try and put things in perspective – and then hold the lid on reeeeeaaaaal tight. And yes… I am a whole different parent than I was the first time around. But I look at Kid Three and she is just fine. I’d like to think that by the time we are a few years into the journey – we’ve just figured out where to apply that steam. And that is okay to have less because we need to less to get the job done. Let’s roll with that! 🙂

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