“I became a mom at the age of 9. Sound a little young? That’s because it is. My parents divorced when I was 9 and I fell into the role of mom shortly after to my two younger siblings. I guess I never really thought my role in motherhood started that young, but looking back, it all makes sense.
At the age of 10, I was setting an alarm for 6 a.m. so I could get up, get myself ready, then get my brother and sister up, and get them ready. I did the entire school mom routine every morning for years while my dad would sleep off his night of drinking until just before the bus arrived. I still remember walking in to wake my brother up in what we called his ‘Spongebob’ room, as it had really weird pineapple wallpaper on the walls.
A few years later, it made a lot more sense to me I wasn’t living a childhood I should have been. At the age of 13, that same ‘dad’ abandoned me. He threw me and my sister out of the house while he held my brother, slammed the door, and had us waiting in the driveway, barefoot, waiting for my mom to pick us up. I have only heard from him twice since then and once was because he called the wrong number. That day, standing in the driveway is forever burned into my memory, but I think I pushed all that deep down and never really let it bother me until a little later in life.
Fast forward, I was living full time with my mom and her boyfriend. Thanks to him, I was able to learn a lot about hard work and how to value things, but life wasn’t always perfect and there were a lot of bad times. I promised myself I would never put my kids through what I was put through. If I had kids, divorce wasn’t an option and I wouldn’t have a blended family. My kids would always be first and I would never do anything to lose their trust.
That all changed in April of 2012 when I met my now-husband. He was perfect in every way, but he already had a daughter from a previous relationship. This was completely against what I had promised myself. I didn’t want a blended family and I definitely didn’t want to put a child through anything I was. I couldn’t fathom it. I almost didn’t go on that first date with him. But then, everything changed. I fell in love with him and fell even harder when I met his little girl. This little girl with chubby cheeks and crazy curly hair became my world. She was my little monkey and I was her ‘Mimi,’ as she couldn’t say Amy, yet. I was head-over-heels for the two of them, and I haven’t looked back since.
Of course, being in a ‘mom mode’ for a decade already, taking charge came naturally when it came to Emma, but it got me into a lot of unnecessary problems. I was overstepping a lot of unspoken boundaries all bonus mamas should know. Being only 19, I was unaware of these boundaries, I was just doing what I thought I should. Unfortunately, this caused a strain on the relationship with her mother and at the time, I couldn’t understand it but looking back now, she was right. I was overstepping and if I were her, I probably would have been upset too.
As many blended families do, we went through the custody battles, had a lot of highs, had a lot of lows. The hardest part of it all was after a year of being a residential parent, the judge re-awarded her and it felt as though our family was ripped apart. I was pregnant with our third son at that time and I made myself physically sick for days because of it all. My heart still hurts from that time. 4 years later, I am happy to say we have grown since then and have been able to put aside differences to work for the best interest of Emma and that feels so good!
It’s not until now I realize all I have been through in parenthood. I have a total of six babies, our oldest, Emma, three boys, and now 1-year-old twins. Crazy how life turns out. I mean, I’ve always wanted a big family. My mother comes from a family of eight, which makes for a lot of aunts, uncles, and cousins for me. Growing up, we were always with cousins and it was such a blast! Even now, we’re all grown up and have the next generation well established, it is always a good time and I wanted that for my own family. I never actually believed I would have six kids but it was all made possible with the twins.
The twins were a shock, to say the least. We were trying for just one more so when the test said positive, we were ecstatic! I don’t think we will ever forget that first ultrasound appointment. While doing our ultrasound, the doctor said, ‘There’s one heartbeat.’ We looked at her confused and said, ‘What do you mean one heartbeat?’ She replied with, ‘I thought it was obvious there were two.’ We were in shock! I think I asked, ‘Are you sure?’ about a million times. My husband’s face was completely lost of color when the lights came back on and he could hardly stand up. What a surprise the twins were! They have been SO MUCH fun!
When it comes to the size of our family, we’re always laughed at. The comments are made with good intentions, I’m sure, but what they don’t know is we love our chaos. When a few kids are away and the house is just a few octaves off, it just doesn’t feel right. When it’s just the two of us, we really have no clue what to do. We may have a ton of kids, but we have a ton of love. Having a big family isn’t always ideal especially when it comes to the grocery bill, but we were made for this. Even as a blended family I could never see myself having, this is our ‘Organized Chaos’ and we love it. Honestly, if we could have more kids, we probably would.
It’s funny how kids change you. You feel one way but then you see that positive pregnancy test and everything changes. You start to wonder how you are going to create more room in your heart for another baby. You wonder who they are going to be, are you going to be a good parent, will they like you? You wonder if you’re going to be able to afford another mouth to feed or have enough room to add another bed in the bedrooms. You worry about all the things that could go wrong and pray your baby will never be hurt. But just like the others, the new babe fits right in and you didn’t have to make room in your heart because somehow your heart just grows even bigger.
I have learned many things through the last almost decade of parenting my own kids, I’m sure I could write a book! I can tell you the store brand diapers work better than almost any other, the same for their wipes. That kids don’t need every single thing they ask for, but if they ask for your time you need to make it for them no matter how busy you are. That TV is a great babysitter when you need to have 30 minutes of alone time with your spouse, but if you leave them alone too long, you will find your child covered head to toe in diaper rash cream. Your house will NEVER be clean so just accept it now, that perfect house on Pinterest is only clean in that little square, trust me.
And you know what? I’m tired of making it seem like we always need to have it all together and can do everything ourselves. Sometimes you just need help. And it doesn’t make you weak when you need to ask for help. It takes a brave person to say, ‘This isn’t working, I need help.’ Don’t ever be afraid, if it’s extra hands, a few hours to nap, or even needing to take medication. Do not be afraid or ashamed. Parenting is d*mn hard work and it takes a village. Find your village and keep them close.
Something else I have learned about parenting is you shouldn’t take it too seriously. As fast as a phase starts, they will move to a new one. Breathe through the irritation. If you take a kid into the store that is hungry or tired, they will run from you and they will make you chase them through the store, laugh through the embarrassment. Your second child will be the one that gives not a single care in the whole world and will look you dead in the eye and say the bad words and throws the food, pray this one will be the head of a company and not a gang.
Lastly, the best thing parenting has taught me is in order to make it to the next day, I need to give myself some grace. Not every day is going to be beautiful with the baby giggles, the silly jokes, the hugs, and kisses. Most days are honestly going to be filled with crying, tantrums, and lots of loud, unnecessary noises. You are going to want to pull your hair out and honestly, you may even question why you had these crazies in the first place. Know you were made for those babes and they were handpicked just for you. You are the one they need and they are crazy because they are comfortable. Give yourself some grace, pour yourself some more coffee, and enjoy the chaos because before you know it, the house is going to be way too quiet.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Stone from Ohio. You can follow their journey on Instagram and their blog. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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