My friend Jenny is the blogger behind Evolution of Style, where she writes about making her house into a beautiful home for her family of five, when she’s not working or running marathons! I’m so glad to have her join us for this Mother’s Day series. Take it away, Jenny!
How many children do you have, and how old are they?
I have three children. Two boys, ages 13 and 11, and a daughter, 6.
How has motherhood changed you?
This quote by Elizabeth Stone really sums it up for me – “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” It’s so true. Having children has fundamentally changed the way that my emotions are programmed, and I discovered a depth of love that I never could have imagined.
What have you found hardest about being a mom?
It’s very difficult to let your children go, little by little. I’m feeling it most right now with my oldest son. Even though it’s normal, it’s tough when your child wants to spend more time with friends as well as having time where he wants to be by himself. Plus, the older my kids get, the faster time seems to go, and to think that my oldest will be out of the house in six years, it makes me sad. These are things that I never thought about when I was a child, growing up. I’m sure none of us did, really. He is as tall or taller than I am, his feet are bigger than my husband’s, his voice is changing and he has started shaving. All of this change going on, and I still see him as this:
Like I said – you have your heart walking around outside of your body, and it’s vulnerable out there!
What do you love best about being a mom?
I love watching my kids learn, grow and experience life. I love the huge hugs that my 11 year old gives me (and still in public, no less), the conversations I’m having with my 13 year-old as he’s growing up, and doing all sorts of girly things with my daughter. I love seeing all of their personalities develop, watching them succeed in the things they enjoy, and sharing my own childhood memories and traditions with them to create something they can hopefully pass to their own children.
What came as the biggest surprise to you in your motherhood?
I’m surprised at what a bittersweet journey motherhood can be, and how things can catch you completely off guard. While it’s so rewarding and joyful watching them grow and learn, it’s equally difficult to watch them grow up. I never expected to break down in tears on my kids’ first birthdays. Or to feel their anxiety when they started going to a new school and were trying to find their way. Or to have that Mama Bear instinct rise up when your child’s feelings are hurt by a friend, and you just want to put them in a bubble and protect them from it all.
Tell us about a mom you admire.
I know everyone has been saying this, but I definitely admire my own mom. She really has so many traits that I try to emulate (some well, some not so well). Family was (and still is), always first. She is thoughtful, sentimental, kind, patient, loving – you name it. If you look up the word “Mom” in the dictionary, her picture should be there.
What is your greatest wish for your children?
My wish is that when they leave our home and are on their own, that I have prepared them for the world that they live in – spiritually, emotionally and practically. Some days, I realize how much I still have my work cut out for me! Case in point – recently our dishwasher broke down, and my oldest was at a loss as to how the dishes would get washed. I want my kids to be able to fly when they leave the nest, not fall out and plop on the pavement!
What is one of your favorite childhood memories of your mom?
While we always ate dinner together as a family, I remember “special family dinners” where she would cook a fancy dinner, we would eat in the dining room and listen to Neil Diamond music. To this day, I have fond memories associated with Neil Diamond music and my childhood.
What is your absolute favorite thing about your mom?
She’s always there for me and my family. Whether I have a question about how to cook something, a parenting dilemma or need a last minute babysitter, she is ready to help.
What is the most important parenting lesson you learned from your mom?
Interestingly, it’s to put your marriage first. Take time to spend with your spouse, without the kids, because if your marriage suffers, your parenting will follow suit.
Do you have any gift recommendations for a father and children for Mother’s Day?
Since most moms seem to always be giving of themselves to their families on a daily basis, my suggestion would be to give mom the luxurious gift of time and the permission to focus on herself.
What morsel of advice would you share with a mom-to-be?
Enjoy every sleep-deprived, exhausted moment of your child’s infancy and babyhood. While it can sometimes seem as though you will always be exhausted and time seems to crawl to a halt when sleep is so elusive, there are such sweet moments and memories during that time that sometimes can get lost in the fog of exhaustion.
I can relate so much to your experiences, Jenny – especially in watching our oldest children grow into teenagers! How did that happen? I also loved the memory you shared of your mom playing Neil Diamond music. It’s funny how some memories stay with you for your whole life.
Evolution of Style is chock-full of amazing DIY projects. Jenny and her husband installed these board and batten beauties themselves:
And don’t even get me started on how much I want this room…