Christine is another mom blogger that we recently “met”. Her blog is called The Growing Creatives and it’s a place where you can find crafts, pretend play ideas, and other creative parenting hacks. She told us, “I think it’s really important to be intentional in how we play with our kids to let them freely express their creativity and grow their imaginations. I wanted to add a little corner to the internet where parents could be inspired to find silly and unique ways to interact with their children.”
In her interview she talks about how it’s important to be present, why she tries not to micromanage her kiddos, and how being a mom is “mentally exhausting” (right!?). Please help us welcome her into our Mom of Fame and check out her blog at the link above if you are looking for fun things to do with your kiddos!
Please tell us a little about you and your family.
My husband and I met in 8th grade, dated for a couple years in high school, and eventually got back together after 4.5 years apart. Now we live in a very rural town with our 2 kiddos. My 3 year old, Adeline, is super sassy and thinks she knows it all, but her confidence is amazing and the way she loves loving on her little brother melts my heart. My son, Jaxson, is the silliest and most curious 9 month old ever. He can get super focused on one thing which is pretty cool but also drives me crazy when he’s trying to get into something he’s not supposed to!
What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it?
When I was pregnant with Adi, my MIL told me not to listen to anyone but myself. I really appreciated that because you get so much advice thrown at you and it can be overwhelming. It was reassuring to hear from someone I trust that my own intuition will tell me what’s right for my children. I do look to others for guidance a lot, but I’m secure in knowing my final decision will be what’s right for my kids because no one knows them as well as I do or has their best interest in mind as intensely as I do.
Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?
Absolutely. I think it’s the only advice that can be used for anyone. Anything else is subject to that particular mom and baby. But generally speaking, a mother who is involved in her kid’s life and trusts her intuition will always make her decisions out of love.
How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?
It’s more mentally exhausting! Some days I can’t even think of anything I accomplished and yet I’m still tired. Constantly putting your children before yourself, making sure they’re ok, worrying about their future… it’s a lot more mental weight than I expected.
What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?
Hmm. I am pretty good at making sure my kids are creatively stimulated throughout the day with art, pretend play, building stuff, etc. Doing activities that make them think or use their imagination is really important to me, so I make it a priority to be a part of every day.
I try to be present with them for a good portion of the day and not distracted by my phone or housework. It’s hard when it feels like so many other things are fighting for my attention. But I’ve realized not only does my daughter behave better when she’s spent a decent amount of quality time with me, but I also have more time to focus on other stuff! If I give her 15 minutes of undivided attention, she’ll willingly play on her own for a little bit. So much better than trying to do everything all at once!
Lastly, I consider it a strength that I don’t hover and micromanage my kids. It’s so tempting to show them the “right way” to do something, or hover over them to prevent any bumps or scrapes. I still make sure they’re safe, but try to give them space within the security of knowing I’m right there while they try figuring stuff out on their own.
Describe a time you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.
When I was pregnant with Jax. I am apparently one of those people who doesn’t like to be touched at all during pregnancy. At the time, my daughter was still nursing a lot during the night. Between the pain and just needing to not be touched so much, I really struggled when she wanted to nurse constantly. One night I remember feeling like I was having a panic attack because I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had planned to nurse until she was 2, but ended up having to wean her at around 21 months because of this.
Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?
Absolutely, this is something I struggle with. I go through phases where I feel like my identity is entirely based on being a mother. I’m better about it now because I know there are many other parts that make up my whole.
However, what I’ve gained is the fact that being a mother IS such a large part of my whole and I’m proud of it. There’s nothing more meaningful I could do with my life than make sure my children are cared for and grow up to be kind and productive people.
What do you want your children to learn from you?
To be genuine. There’s going to be so many people in their lives trying to tell them who to be, but if they stay true to themselves they will always make the best decisions for THEM. I will always try to be transparent with them so they know our mistakes don’t define us and there’s a difference between *doing* something bad and *being* bad.
I also really want them to have amazing imaginations. It’s such an important part of childhood and helps with other mental developments like critical thinking, contentment, and independence. I try to encourage it in as many ways as I can, which is why the daily creative playing is such a priority to me!