The Motherhood Project: Whitney

“It’s always been very important to me to let my kids have their own personalities and opinions, not trying to mold them into what I want them to be.”

Name: Whitney | Children: Ezra 10, Georgia 8, Scarlett 7, Oak 4, Fischer 2, Tallulah 1 month.

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Did you enjoy your pregnancy?: When asked if I like being pregnant (which I get a lot, considering I’ve been pregnant as many times as I have!), I always respond, “I love being pregnant, but I don’t love the pregnancy symptoms!” I love so, so much about being pregnant! I love the anticipation and excitement about meeting the new little one. I love looking forward to the milestones, like hearing the heartbeat for the first time, the gender reveal, feeling the first movements, etc. I love knowing and feeling that baby growing inside of me. Heck, I don’t even mind my pregnant shape! Heaven knows, I’m more comfortable with my body during pregnancy than I am for a good chunk of time after pregnancy! Do I love every moment of every day? Of course not! I hate morning sickness, nerve pain, and swollen feet as much as the next girl…but overall, I generally enjoy being pregnant.

How was your delivery experience?: Oh goodness, I’ve had so many different delivery experiences! There’s definitely been the good, the bad, and the ugly! I’ve had lots of different versions of labor and delivery, all of which, luckily, ended with healthy babies. I’ve had a c-section (baby #1), 5 VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean…babies #2-6), an epidural (baby #2), epidural-free births (babies #3-6), and my waters broken to induce labor (baby #6). See what I mean!? Some were truly great (baby #3 was a breeze!), some were pretty traumatic (baby #2 is a pretty horrendous birth story), but all of them were beautiful and amazing. There’s something magical and breath-taking about bringing a baby into this world. It’s truly an experience like no other!

What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to being a mom?: Remembering that my mood should not dictate my parenting. I remember learning that for the first time in a university child development class. It just struck a chord and is something I definitely have to remind myself daily. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life and it’s so so hard not to let my issues and mood affect my mommying.

What’s your biggest strength when it comes to being a mom?: Oh heavens, right now I’m not feeling like there’s much of any! lol! Let’s see, probably my desire to let my children be their own people. It’s always been very important to me to let my kids have their own personalities and opinions, not trying to mold them into what I want them to be. It’s a lot harder to do that then you’d think! Luckily my kids all have strong personalities, so I don’t know that I have much choice in the matter!

What is your parenting style?: Definitely laid back! I simply couldn’t handle having this many kids if I was a helicopter parent! I just don’t have the energy for it!

What is your favorite part of the day with your child/children?: I can’t say there’s one particular time. My favorites are the quiet moments, when I can just soak up their child-ness without having to actively interfere. That and the moments of wild abandon. When I just release them to be kids and I just sit back and watch. Dance parties, fountain-splashing, orange popsicle-sucking…that sort of thing.

Who is an inspiration to you when it comes to motherhood?: I’m inspired by so, so many of the women that surround me! Friends, relatives, my own mother and mother in-law…the list goes on! I’d say my sisters are probably my biggest ones, though. We all parent in slightly different ways and we all learn from each other. They are always there to make me laugh when I’m down and give me a shoulder to cry on when I need one. They make me want to be the mother that they think I am.

Advice for fellow mothers who need a little boost?: This too shall pass. I’ve been a mom for over ten years now and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that nothing lasts. They won’t pee their pants forever, or wake up 4 times a night forever, or throw food on the ground forever. They’ll move on to a different stage, for better or worse, before you know it. And then, you will have new things to cry (and laugh!) over and your current struggles will all just be a memory.

Where is your favorite place to shop for yourself? Favorite place to shop for your child/children?: I’m a target girl. No matter the way I want to treat myself, I can find it there. Clothes, makeup, candy, decor, etc…it’s there!
As for my kids, I’m a consignment clothes shopper. Children’s Orchard, Once Upon a Child, that sort of thing. I love that I can get great, cute clothes for decent prices. Heaven knows, with my grocery bill, I need to stretch my dollar as far as I possibly can!

What’s one product for yourself you can’t live without? Favorite product for your child/children?: Makeup. I know, I know, that’s lots more than one product, it’s like a whole category…but still, it’s true! How can one not love something that immediately makes everyone look better? Even the naturally prettiest women (of which I am not!) look better with a little makeup on. Nothing gives me a little pick-me-up and self-esteem boost than a bit of concealer, mascara, and lip gloss! If you want a specific product (which is probably what you were aiming for ;), I’d have to say my current fave is NYX’s Butter Gloss (lip gloss). It comes in lots of fun shades and is gorgeous without being thick or sticky. I love it!
For my kids…I’d have to say Boudreaux’s Butt Paste (Maximum Strength) for diaper rash for the babies and The Wet Brush for the big kids. Both have made my mommy life significantly easier!

How has being a mom changed your life?: I got married young. I had my first baby at 20. I honestly cannot imagine my life apart from being a mom. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I’m jealous of girls I know who got to live up their twenties traveling, working, and generally doing whatever the heck they wanted. I, on the other hand, was busy changing diapers, adjusting to my stretch-marked, postpartum body, learning about the autism spectrum, and dealing with potty-training and grade-schooling woes. We are worlds apart, those other girls and I. But, because I started so young, I never really had much of a life pre-babies. I feel mamahood is when I really started to live. So when you ask how being a mom changed my life…I honestly can’t remember what it was like not being one.

*If you have anyone you’d like to nominate to be featured on the blog (yourself included) send me their email or phone number and I will contact them/you! ceeceesparkles@gmail.com

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