Sunday, October 2, 2016

Real Moms: McKenzie interviews her mama, Cindy

Mom2MomEd Blog: Real Moms--McKenzie interviews her mama, Cindy
I feel like life is whizzing by, and I am so caught up in my own parenting journey that I forget that I actually was parented by someone as well.

My mom and I just so happen to be really close. I have one of those my-mom-turned-into-my-best-friend-once-I-became-an-adult stories.

(I know, barf!)

My mom definitely has been a big part of my parenting journey. From the moment I told her I was pregnant, she was in full on grandma mode. It’s just as cool seeing your parent become a grandparent as it is (I assume) to watch your child become a parent. It’s a new role….new challenges, new chapter, and changing stories.

I often think of questions I want to ask my mom, but I never seem to remember them later or to actually ask!

So, today, I am finally going to sit down and talk to her about parenting and to hear about her journey. We often laugh about how if we both had young children at the same time we’d probably be friends and have play dates. But in reality, that would just be weird because, you know…I’m her kid.

Anyway, here are a few of the burning questions I’ve been wanting to ask my mom. This was actually really fun and I’m now putting together a list of question to hear about another part of her life (sorry Mom!).

1.   You were a fairly young mom (at least by today’s standards)--did you face any challenges related to your age?
I was 24 when I had my first child. It was more of a typical age to have a baby and wasn’t considered young. At this time, I was just starting my career and planning on going back to work to continue growing. However, I ended up changing my mind once I returned to work after my maternity leave and ended up changing my path. Because of my age, I hadn’t had a lot of time invested in my career. I had a really good job, but it likely made it easier to not go back because I didn’t have the years invested in my job.

2.   What role did your own mother play in the way you mothered your children?

I was heavily influenced by my mother. She too was a stay at home mom and I have many great memories of her always being there after school as a comfort. I remember coming home from school and she was always there. She was the typical 50s housewife with cookies waiting for us after school. I wanted to be able to provide that to my children as well. I realized how important of a job that was once I had my own children. She instilled a sense of empowerment and self confidence in me that I too wanted to give to my own children. I appreciated her more once I became a mother.

3.   What were some of the struggles facing moms with young children? 
Stay at home moms usually did not have a lot of money and had a limited budget. I had to learn how to be frugal with activities. We did a lot of picnics, playing in the backyard. There were a lot of changes going on during that time about what “parenting” should look like. I had to work to keep in contact with my friends because they were all working moms and I often would feel like it was hard to stay involved with people. Also, not all of my friends had children at that age so I was trying to balance staying connected with motherhood.

4.   How do you think the challenges have changed for moms today?
Most moms have to work and are no longer given the choice of staying home. Technology is a new challenge that can be both and positive. Kids can be exposed to more things now more than ever and it can be difficult keeping them safe. It adds another worry for parents. Long days working with busy schedules impacts the ability to have family meals.It’s a busier life now and there are more working moms now than there were when I was a mom.That and the fact that some of the expectations haven’t changed for moms. While they may be working now they are still raising, cooking for, caring for, tending to their children, homes, husbands, and friends.

5.   Do you think there were stigmas for stay at home moms versus working moms? What were some of the “mommy wars” that were going on then?

There were more stay at home moms then and that was the norm. The mommy war then was who could volunteer more at the school, join all of the committees, be on the PTA. Who was around the most. It was a competition to see who could do more than the other. Instead of passively posting things on Facebook or online, it was more blatant. The moms who were involved the most made sure to pick up their kids first in the carpool, know everyone by name, and just be present all of the time. Some of them even used this as an opportunity to be martyrs. They would volunteer for everything and take everything on but then complain about no one else doing anything. It became a race to see who could sign up the fastest and the most. I tried really hard to not engage in that.

6.   What are some similarities and differences from 30 plus years ago and today?

The big differences are technology, the fact that there are more working moms now than there were then, there is more value placed on how big your house is and what you have than there used to be when I was parenting. Mothers still have loving relationships with their children. Kids haven’t changed. They still have the same needs, wants and desires. Moms now a days just have more/different tools in which to meet those needs.

7.   What piece of advice do you wish your mother would have given you about motherhood?
That you have to do it your own way and no one can tell you what is right for you. For me, my mom did not encourage breastfeeding and thought bottle feeding was best. Because of that influence I was not really interested in breastfeeding my first child. She was a big influence in that. I wish she would have supported me more in breastfeeding and let me know that it was ok to make my own decisions even if they weren’t the ones she would have made.

8.   What do you wish you would have told me before I became a mother?
That you really can’t do anything wrong. It’s really hard to screw up a kid when you are loving and caring for them. Just because you don’t do things the way that I would doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. There is nothing that will be a greater accomplishment than being a mother. You will never love or be loved more than that. It is worth more than any travel experiences, home or anything else. You cannot fathom how much you love your kids until you have your own. You have to experience it in order to understand the depth of that love.

9.   Everyone says “enjoy it because it goes fast.” What advice can you give a mom who is in the trenches and is tired, frazzled and in survival mode? "It goes by fast" doesn’t always cut it.
Just take it one day at a time. Hard days do come and go sometimes more often than not. Especially with two kids when they sometimes alternate good and bad days. It comes with the territory. Try to take as good care of yourself as you can with sleep, nutrition, etc so you can cope and not go insane.

10.  I know we have a lot in common but we are also very different in some ways. What is one thing that I do differently as a mother that you would have learned from me?
I definitely kept more of a schedule and routine than you do. I was more concerned with keeping clothes clean and not getting too messy. I see how you are more laid back with letting the kids get muddy, play in puddles, explore and wish I would have done that. I can see the value in letting kids be kids

11.  If you could sum up the definition of motherhood in a few words what would they be? 
Fulfilling, gratifying, exhausting, proud, full of worry and the most important job you can ever have.

It was interesting hearing my mom’s perspective on parenting and motherhood. I can see the definite differences from all those years ago to now. While we do have so many new gadgets and contraptions to make our lives easier, we also have more worries than ever. I agree that technology is a huge factor in this and one of my biggest fears as my children grow. Not only that but our village is shrinking, and the ability to trust your community is slowly dwindling.

I’m taking the advice of my mother and remembering that we all have our own ways of doing things and parenting, but we are all looking for the same outcome. We want healthy, happy and well adjusted children and give this parenting gig everything we’ve got!

Do YOU want to be featured as a REAL MOM? We'd love to interview you and share with our audience. Moms can (and should) be REAL--drop us a line by using the contact form on the blog, by getting in touch on Facebook or email us! We'd love to get to know you and to feature you!
Love this post? Check out these additional articles about REAL MOMS and REAL KIDS:

And, if you'd like to interview your own family members and start a family history that can be passed on to future generations, be sure to check out the book Preserve Your Family History: A Step-by-Step Guide for Interviewing Family Members and Writing Oral Histories by LeAnn R. Ralph. You can buy it HERE on Amazon, or click through the image below:
Preserve Your Family History: A Step-by-Step Guide for Interviewing Family Members and Writing Oral Histories by LeAnn R. Ralph

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