Let’s face it. It’s hard being a mom in today’s day in age. Not to diminish previous generations, at all, but this whole Pinterest social media blasted day and age of mothering can be rough. There are a lot of stereotypes that come into play. How a mom should look. Act. Dress. Going even beyond, and that much more damaging, is how a mom should mother. Not only do we come in all shapes and sizes, but we also all tend to our little(s) differently. Not only is that OK, but it should be celebrated!
With that being said, I could not be more excited to introduce my new series on A Life From Scratch: Moms in Focus. I’ve partnered up with the oh so talented photographer, Michele Ryan of Silver Branch Photography, to bring a you a series that focuses on the beauty of mothering in all different shapes and styles. All of these moms have felt judged in one way or another, and this series has been created to shed light on how that can make a mom feel. Let’s even the playing field a bit, shall we? Deep down at the core, we moms are all really just trying to do our best.
Without further ado, I introduce to you another wonderful Mom in Focus: Meet Sheila!
Hi! Tell us a little bit about yourself and three words that describe you as a mom.
Hello! I am the youngest of ten children. My parents had 5 boys and 5 girls. My Dad was 70 when I was born. Many people probably thought he was my Grandfather instead of my Father. My Mom was 44 when I was born. Age was never an issue when siblings dated someone….there was a 26 year spread between my parents.
Being the youngest of this tribe of children made me a spoiled child according to my siblings. My Father loved me. I was his baby. I loved him. I also was Mommy’s girl. I adored her. She taught me faith and patience. I went everywhere she went. She never had a driver’s license so we rode bikes or walked everywhere. It seems everyone in our home town knew who my Mom was or who my family was because there were so many of us.
When older, I took many opportunities to work and travel many places across the USA. I have been able to travel to many foreign countries. I love to travel and see new places. It is a beautiful world out there and I wanted to see as much as I could. With 10 kids, my parents did not take us kids on vacation, so I had to go places when I had the opportunity.
I love to play sports: volleyball, basketball, and softball. I enjoy music – all kinds – and really love going to the theater to see plays.
At the age of 38 I married my husband. He is a wonderful, funny, intelligent, spiritual man. He is a great balance and strength in my life.
Three words that describe me as a Mom: Advocate, for both my sons. Strict, as I make my boys follow the rules. And loving, with all of my heart.
And now tell us about your darling kid(s):
My husband and I tried to have children the natural way, however that did not work. We had both of our sons through IVF. With God’s blessing, both IVFs worked on the first try. I wanted at least 2 children. Alexander is 7 years old. Alexander was born in January 2011. Lincoln is 5 years old. Lincoln was born in January 2013. I did not want Alexander to grow up alone. I wanted him to have a sibling or siblings.
Alexander and Lincoln love and hate one another every hour or every day like most siblings.
My son Alexander has special needs. He is globally developmentally delayed, and has anxiety and attention deficit disorder. Alexander needs cognitive therapy for his learning retention deficit. Alexander requires speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy as well as psychological assessments at home as well as at school. Alexander attends school all day. He goes to a regular classroom for science, music, art, lunch, recess, gym and library time. He then goes to a smaller, closed classroom for SP/OT/PT, math, and English. Alexander sees a brain neurologist every 3 months.
Alexander loves going to school. He does great with a structured learning class/school. As homework has made him use his brain more (retention) Alexander finds homework, especially math, difficult.
Lincoln will be going to kindergarten this Fall. Lincoln has gone to the Early Learning Center for behavioral and social issues. Being the second child, Lincoln has been grown up taking a back seat to his brother’s needs. Lincoln is a very good communicator. Physically Lincoln has developed at “normal” pace. Lincoln does have behavioral issues that have been worked on at school as well as at home with a therapist. Lincoln loves to socialize. He loves being with friends and playing with toys.
Both of my sons are good at ice skating/hockey practice, swimming, bicycling and scootering. They both love to be outside and LEGOS!!!! Alexander loves to be with his Dad taking things apart and putting them back together.
How do you feel your style of mothering is like others?
I feel that my parenting style is like other parents in the following ways: I take my children to church. We celebrate family members’ birthdays with emails, texts, calls, cards, etc. Family and relatives are super important to us. I try to treat my children equally with the qualities and interests that each of them have. I set rules for the follow. And the kids have free time to play with friends and one another.
Since we’re focusing on judgment that moms experience, what have you felt judged for?
I have felt judged on many areas as being a Mother. Here are a few examples: One, I have had someone state that Alexander’s disabilities is due to the fact that I was “so old” when I had him. Second, another stated my son does not have anything wrong with him, he is a “typical boy.” He does not need to see specialists. Third, I have been judged because I have put my kids in outside therapies that “are not needed’. Lastly, I have been judged on how many sons don’t behave well.
How did that make you feel? What was your response to any uncomfortable situations or discussions you’ve been in because of someone judging you (if there have been any)?
There have been many obstacles to overcome with being judged. Everyone judges. Because of these judgments I have felt hurt, abandoned, lonely, scared, outcasted, doubtful of myself, uneducated, cried many a times, angry, as well as strong, determined, faithful to God, inspired, proud and encouraged. I have to be my children’s advocate. NO ONE ELSE will be!!!
What would you like to tell the world about moms and why it’s important not to judge our choices?
A few things I would tell other Moms: Don’t give up! Fail. Never Mom alone…find other moms to laugh with, bitch with, go out with, cry on their shoulder of be that shoulder for them, pray with, go to a movie with, discuss a book with, or just be silent with. Also, Facebook is a facade.
I have swallowed the hurt and persevered on to making certain I am getting the correct therapies, schooling, tests and care for my sons regardless of what the people think who have passed judgment on me and my kids. I have not had the greatest of moments trying to recover from these judgments and I know that I have not done everything correctly….NO ONE HAS!!! I am learning as I go. I will fail, but from the failing is learning. That is what I am doing every day.
I have friends who have children with disabilities and friends from college and life that I talk to regularly. I need it. I need to know there is a reality out there in the world besides my life and household!
Don’t think that everything on Facebook or any other social media makes other people better than you. You have to know everyone has hardships….Facebook just shows the happy things for the most part. It doesn’t show that hard work you do as a Mom. It is just a snap shot of a moment. Don’t judge yourself by it or those who post the message or photos.
Tell us your biggest joy about raising your kid(s).
The biggest joy of raising my kids is the laughter I hear from them. I love to hear them laugh and having fun. The curiosity that they have and the adventures they go on make life a great place to be at with them.
Thank you so much, Sheila, for sharing your time and your darling family with us. The concept of ‘never Mom alone’ is a strong one, building up your tribe is so important. It’s wonderful you have that support daily in your life!
Want to see more? Head on over to the Moms In Focus Facebook Page – and be sure to follow us along for updates including more moms to come. Yippee!