This is Erin. She’s a mother of two wonderful boys from Bowmanville, Ontario. She also happens to be a colleague of mine from work who I am happy to call a friend. She’s charming, witty (I love her punny jokes!), smart and genuinely one of the nicest people I have ever met. She’s a fantastic mom who loves her sons deeply and faces her motherhood journey with a fierce determination that I deeply admire. Erin, you are one of the hardest working moms I know. I’ve seen you face some curve balls and you come back swinging, with a positive attitude and a smile on your face. I think you are a remarkable woman and you have definitely taught me a thing or two about motherhood. To that I say thank you!
I asked Erin to share some of her insights on motherhood. Here is what she shared:
How has motherhood changed you?
I have relaxed. I know, I know. Most moms be like “OMG I have to get to soccer on this day after work, ballet for this kid, do you KNOW how much it costs for hockey equipment?!” Those are big things to some moms. I don’t have any of that. I thought I would. I thought I’d be the working/soccer/homework guru/awesome neighbourhood mom, I thought I’d be the house all the kids would come to for fun. I built myself this image. But what I have is totally different. So I’ve realized I don’t need to build myself up. I just need listen to my kids and do my best by them. My oldest is on the autism spectrum. His name is Logan, he is 7, in second grade. He gets anxious in new social situations. A victory for Logan is not to make the soccer team; a victory for Logan would be to make a friend to kick a soccer ball with. But his lack of communication and mobility issues make that near impossible. My youngest has type 1 diabetes. His name is Dylan, he is 4, in JK. It’s a 24 hour nursing job, looking after this one. He’s nearly died on us twice, once when he was six weeks old, and again when he was just over two years old. Now, he is an otherwise healthy, growing, typical four year old boy who loves imaginary play, cuddles, and watching videos on youtube of other kids playing with toys. After almost losing him TWICE, I don’t sweat the little stuff like getting out the door on time or wearing a specific outfit. Life is short. We’re not going to waste it hurrying.
What do you love the most about being a mother?
I love how they’ve changed me. They’ve given me a new set of eyes, ears, a new heart, a new mindset. It’s incredible how I thought being a mom meant I would make little people and I would bend them and shape them and mould them to be mine. That’s not how it went at all. I love listening to them and seeing the world through their eyes, taking part in their imaginary play and in turn they enjoy being with me. It opens doors to learning opportunities for all of us.
What do you find most challenging about motherhood?
My challenges about motherhood are all outside of the house. Under my roof, I’ve got it. I’m Mom, I’m a nurse, I’m a therapist, I’m a housekeeper, a cook, a teacher. I am even #1 Dog Feeder (you’re welcome, Harley!) But outside of the house, trying to make connections to typical moms, who talk about their kids’ soccer and swimming and dance and gymnastics, I can’t relate. What I do about that though is take a breath and listen, because I understand it is a big deal to them. Sometimes I want to snap after a particularly bad morning or night. Sometimes I cry, because I realize what a challenge I face after hearing stories about other mom’s challenges. But then my therapist’s voice comes back into my head: “Erin, relax. You are doing what you need to for your kids. You are doing a great job. Anyone saying anything to you is trying to support you in the only way THEY know how. You are surrounded by love and good people. Don’t let one moment ruin it for you.”
Erin shares some words of wisdom and advice:
Smile when you’re happy, yell when you’re mad, cry when you’re sad. Don’t hide your feelings. Be real. Being real will draw others who are likeminded to you, and it will show other people that it’s ok to be real and they can be real, too. Being real will show you who your real friends are. The result can be unexpected and pleasant.