I had the pleasure of watching Flannery & Courtenay as mothers before I became one myself. In fact, Colleen, the oldest cousin, was born when I was a freshman in college! Needless to say, I have learned SO much from them...and I'm so thankful that they paved the way for me. Let's be honest, I'd be a hot mess (in more ways than one) if it weren't for them. ;) Here are the top 5 lessons that I have learned about being a mother from my older & wiser sisters...
1. Have fun.
Court is known for making holidays, birthdays & just random days FUN and festive. She's notorious for being the one who feeds the babies their first taste of ice cream. She'll start a dance party in her kitchen - singing at the top of her lungs, making her best impression of Taylor Swift. She will let the kids play in the tub for hours, just because it makes them happy (and wrinkly!). She will go all out for their birthdays - decorate the house, make their favorite meal, let them have second AND third servings of cake & stay up waaaay too late. :) Court has fun with her kids - and it shows. It rubs off on them & it creates the BEST memories.
2. Pick your battles.
A certain cousin (who will remain nameless...) refuses to wear anything but bathing suits. Disney bathing suits. Minnie Mouse if possible. If she had it her way, she would go to the grocery store, to school, to the park, to church, etc. in a bathing suit. No shoes, no coat - just a bathing suit (P.S. They live in Chicago). Flannery, obviously, sets boundaries with Ginger (ie, school), but most of the time she allows her to wear the bathing suits. It's not hurting anyone, right? Happy baby=Happy Mommy. And if you think about it, there ARE bigger battles to fight, don't you think?!
It is waaaay too easy to become consumed with work, the house, the kids...all while forgetting your relationship. I never realized how quickly you can become disconnected from your partner. Court & Andy have Sushi Friday (date night at home...catching up on their shows...with a cocktail or two). It's the perfect ending to the long week & something for them both to look forward to. Flann & Gar are great about getting a babysitter (and making space in their budget!) at least once a week for them to go out together. It's a great way for them to reconnect with each other AND with their friends.
4. Make time for yourself.
Being a mom is the hardest job on earth. Hands down. I tell my patients that coming to work is MUCH easier than being at home with the boys. No joke! I consider it my "me time" because I get to eat without interruptions, go to the bathroom without anyone joining me AND hang out with my friends! ;) Flannery knows that she has to exercise...not so much for her physical health, but for her mental health. She knows, she is at her best (as a mom & a wife) when she has gone for a run or to the gym. For Court, she needs her quiet "downtime" to sew, create (or check the celebrity gossip sites - shhh!) & re-charge.
5. Ask for help.
This is the biggest lesson for me. Several years ago, Court's family was unfortunately struck by the dreaded Norovirus. Court called and Pops & I went up to help out, do laundry, & clean. Granted, Pops and I were on the floor of our own very bathrooms a week later...but that's beside the point! Over the past couple years, Flann's eldest has had several surgeries, which required a lot of traveling. Not only that, but her family has had to move about a bajillion times in the last several years. Without asking friends & family for a place to stay or for someone to watch the kids, none of it would have happened! I'm now convinced (and sometimes need to be reminded!) that nobody, NOBODY can do it alone. It's not a sign of weakness, nor does it make you any less of a mom, to ask for help. :)
Alright, there you have it. I have a lot of friends who are becoming mothers soon. I wanted to share things that I have learned from my sisters, who are both amazing moms. I hope these lessons are as helpful for you as they have been for me!