Tonight, I got the chance to sit with both my mom and my mother-in-law and pick their brains. I asked them about their experiences as mothers - the highs and lows. While I knew some of these answers already, some surprised and delighted me. I have great respect for these women. One raised me into the awesome unicorn that I am, and the other raised the man that I love deeply. Without both of them doing an awesome job as mothers, I wouldn't have my own children. Hopefully you can learn from them even an ounce of the wisdom they so generously imparted to me.
What was your favorite part of being a mom?
S - Honestly, I think when my kids got married. In a positive way, because the fact that I tyighad raised them to want to be a family and to value that, and that somebody wanted to be a family with them - it was just so joyful.
J - You gotta give me enough time to think here. Bedtime. Because it's when everybody would settle down, and you'd read them a story or they'd cuddle because they were still, in one place.
What was your least favorite part of being a mom?
S - When my young adult children made bad choices, it was devastating. Because my whole life had been about convincing my kids to walk the straight and narrow. For me, it's a faith thing because I was trying to be the Holy Spirit in their lives. And it was devastating to realize that I wasn't the Holy Spirit and they were beings of free will. It wasn't about them buying into my marketing plan of walking the straight and narrow.
J - Cleaning up after sick kids in the middle of the night. That sounds pretty shallow. But I can't think of anything at the moment. (Editor's note: Probably because she's blocked my worst behavior from memory.) Oh, I remember now. All of you kids and your dad could speak French together, and I was left out of that.
What's the funniest memory of your kids when they were little?
S - Usually when we went on a trip - and we traveled pretty often - we would pray before we started pulling out of the driveway. One time, was started pulling out of the driveway and Kevin didn't pray. So I said, "Ok, while dad drives, I'll pray." And this little voice from the back, which would be Stephen, said, "And when mom drives, I'll pray."
J - When they put on a play - there were two plays. One when you (Amanda) were little, and another one when you and Weston put on a play with Tiffany (our dog). When you were little, you and your brother and sister put on a fashion show and your brother wore high heels with athletic socks and bracelets over his ears as earrings.
What was the hardest part of raising kids?
Kevin - The hardest part of raising kids is letting go - being able to just let them screw up. You have to let them screw up.
J - The hardest thing would be, although the kids have different personalities which require different discipline styles - and not so much discipline as their appreciation for values - it's hard to keep it consistent across the board. I was trying to keep it consistent to be fair, but life isn't fair, so I couldn't. I would do things a little differently - I'd make you give away a Christmas gift to someone less fortunate, and do something for someone else.