Today concludes the five-part series on motherhood. To see past articles or full panel disclosure, click here. This piece was such an amazing one to write and I cannot thank the participants enough for both their time and candor.
dp Names say so much. I think naming a child would be incredibly hard – how did you and your husband choose the names of your kids?
Mommy A I was pretty adamant on giving my children middle names that honored my parents. I felt it important because of my parents’ cultural belief to have our family name passed on. Since I could not pass on my last name in the most traditional manner, I chose to include a Korean name as a middle name. Plus, once I had children, I really started to understand cultural beliefs or practices that insist on same race marriages. I realized that my children have the potential of having blonde hair, blue-eyed babies. By the time my grandchildren have children, all of the Korean will be gone! This thought kind of makes me sad. There will be no more of my parents left in the bloodline.
Mommy C We looked to family names when selecting name options. She is named for her paternal great-great grandmother and her maternal great grandmother. We also wanted something unusual, but not too ‘hippy’ or new age sounding. (We get enough of the hippy thing just by living off the grid in houses made of straw and mud.)
Mommy D Naming your child is such a fun part of pregnancy. We spent hours talking over names and trying out names. A lot of the names that we chose for first or middle names were significant because they were names from our family history.
Mommy E Still trying to agree on a boy’s name, we want it to be strong. For us we had more girls names that we agreed upon, so the jury is still out!
Mommy F We knew our son was ¾ Irish so we gave him an Irish name. In naming our daughter, we included our son. He actually named her. It was important that family be a part of their existence so I gave my daughter my middle name, it gave them more roots.
dp What do you think is the biggest misconception to being a mother that you would like to clear up?
Mommy A I think there is a misconception that a woman can have it all; a husband, a family, and a successful career. This has the connotation that acquiring all these “check marks” will bring happiness. I think the truth is that once you become a mother, it is all a balancing act and areas of your life will have to be sacrificed.
Mommy D I think that it is a huge misconception to think that being a stay-at-home mom is an easy job. It was the most challenging (but rewarding) job that I have ever had.
Mommy F You do not own your child and cannot make them what you want them to be. You don’t know what’s in that little person that you have. You just don’t know. You’ve got to be willing to let that person be who they are.
Mommy G That you can always control what’s happening. Because I think just as I was sitting here and you decided to have a freak-out – I can’t control you. That’s how it is with a kid – you just can’t. Some things they have to learn on their own.
Mommy H Some people think that a stay at home mother is not a job. However it is a 24-hour job that you love.
dp What is one memory you hope your kids never forget?
Mommy A I just want my children to grow up remembering how we laughed and spent time together and were happy. Honestly, looking back at my childhood, I cannot remember a time when my parents laughed really hard about anything. I can’t remember thinking they were happy. I really want that for my girls.
Mommy B Our love for them and their children and grandchildren. We all have enjoyed our lake house from the time our first grandchild was five years old and now our great grandchildren are enjoying it as well. We bought the lake house in 1969 and today, in 2009 it is still bringing us all joy. I am hoping it will always be a family place to come and enjoy and keep making memories for all.
Mommy C I hope she remembers the joy of learning something new.
Mommy D Family vacations.
Mommy E Birthday celebrations, summertime activities like the pool and picnics, and time with grandparents
Mommy F Nature. I created a wonder of nature, awe of nature and all its beauty – and they have that. I think that’s a gift that keeps on giving forever. Flowers, sky, ocean, mountains, weather, they are both in awe of it. I gave them that kind of thing and I’m delighted.
Mommy G The first time that she met Winnie the Pooh…and I don’t think she’ll ever forget it. I literally mean this, she has an amazing memory – the picture of her the first time meeting Winnie the Pooh we had to walk down the winding path – and we turned this corner and the look on her face is sheer joy – just complete, “I can’t believe it’s really you!” And I think she remembers that. She’ll talk about walking through the jungle to meet him. I want her to remember that feeling.
Mommy H How often we laughed with him and told him we loved him.
Mommy I That we loved them. They grew up in a loving family, the good times. The vacations that sort of stuff. And I hope they remember their grandparents. They all have fond memories of their grandparents.
dp Is there something you are most fearful of? Something you hope never happens or something you want to save them from?
Mommy A My biggest fear is that my children will be ungrateful. It’s ironic because my own parents came to the US to provide a better life for their children. They succeeded. My life is definitely better than theirs in regards to education, money, and employment. I think this is true for most parents. I feel the same way. I want my children to have things that I did not. However, in doing so, there’s a risk of providing too much. If you do not struggle and your children to not witness or experience hard times (especially financially), then I doubt they can really understand the value of hard work and having things. My biggest challenge right now is trying to teach our oldest that she cannot have everything she wants and to be grateful for what she already has.
Mommy C As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I am terrified of our daughter finding herself in an uncomfortable, unwanted or unsafe sexual situation. I hope she will always have at least one adult that she feels safe talking to if she needs help.
Mommy D My biggest fear is that one of them would get a terminal illness or die in an accident. I could not handle that, and I would not want to watch my husband go through that.
Mommy E Right now answering this, I want to make sure my child develops fully in the early years, good motor skills and speech skills so he can grow and learn at a normal pace. Also, want to make sure I keep my patience in any situation and can be a nurturing parent.
Mommy F Being left alone in the world. Not having a soulmate or feeling that there’s no one they can turn to. Not having the joy of being a companion and sharing your life with someone.
Mommy H I am so scared that someone will come into my house and take him. It happens a lot in the state we live in. I make sure all the doors and windows are looked and that the alarm is on. I constantly wake up during the night and look at our video monitor.
dp What were some dreams of yours for your children prior to having them? Have those changed after having them?
Mommy A I don’t really have any dreams for my children like careers or where to attend college. I have characteristics I want them to have. I want my girls to grow up respecting themselves and others. I want them to have self-esteem and learn how to make good decisions. I want them to be comfortable in their own skin. I want them to be smart and healthy.
Mommy D I just wished for them to be happy and healthy.
Mommy G I want her to be excellent at tennis and I do have the dream of her being a cheerleader – I know that sounds pageantry, but to me it means she comfortable, happy, and accepted. But, really as long as she’s smart and secure, if she’s those two things, she can be anything she wants to be.
dp Has there been a helpful method you followed in raising them?
Mommy A Not really. I participate in the trial and error philosophy – if it doesn’t work, try something else!
Mommy B Find a church home and keep your family all in the same church life. Give love and pass it on. One can never give too much.
Mommy C We follow general themes of attachment parenting and child guided learning, but I struggle with prescribed methodologies. I found resources like Alfie Kohn’s book, Unconditional Parenting, that encourage parents to check in with themselves and question themselves to be very helpful in providing a most basic suggestion. Asking myself what I am doing and why is the best way I have found to parent with integrity.
Mommy E We are reading the Baby Wise book right now and my husband is all about it- getting the baby on a schedule. We’ll see if this holds up or not once the baby comes!
Mommy F No, but I wished I had followed a method. I think it’s wonderful idea to have that stuff now, at least it gives you things to fall back on. Specifically on how to discipline, calm correcting that means more instead of rage or anger. All that is very important. People today should take advantage of classes and books because there is so much good stuff out there.
Mommy G Baby Wise – it works. She was born at 10 pm – her active time was always that time from then. It gave her a schedule.
Mommy H Try to be consistent as possible. If I am inconsistent than it throws off schedules and impacts his sleeping and eating.