3 Lessons in Motherhood from Grandma

As Mother’s Day gets closer and closer, I can’t help but think of my dear grandma. A mom of eight. At one point, she had three kids under the age of two. She was a mom of kids in the home for forty years. That’s what happens when you have your last child when your first turns twenty.

Can you imagine the diapers? Oh gosh. And the potty accidents. I can’t even comment on the girlfriends, boyfriends, fighting, school events. Okay, I’m actually re-living 50-year-old anxiety.

She talks about those days as if they were yesterday. The chaos, the yelling, the crying, the wrestling, the constants that describe to a T where I am now.

A few years ago I put a project together where I asked her 8 children and billions of grandchildren to send in pictures of the lady I used to call “Grams.”

I loved getting a glimpse of her life with the same role I have today – a mother.

Three lessons in motherhood from my grandma

Her stories never ended up on a mommy blog. The lessons of love and crazy moments never made it on Youtube. She didn’t share her Idaho-famous cinnamon rolls on Pinterest. Many memories lost as quickly as Snapchat erases ours (but don’t tell her about Snapchat, it would be too much).

That’s just one of the reasons I wanted to reach out to my 71-year-old grandma for the lessons she learned in motherhood.

lessons i learned from my grandma

What’s your number one piece of advice to mothers like me?

“Enjoy them while they’re little.”

My grandma went on to tell me how often she thought, “I’ll never be out of babies, diapers and bottles.” It was a constant cycle that many of us are dealing with today. The 24/7 work that seems impossible to get our heads above.

She had eight kids.

When she started she was very strict with certain rules, saying “I thought ‘if i’m going to start something, I have to stick with it.'” That’s why when her sixth kid wanted to sleep in bed with them at night, she said no (ummm, I’ve done this with essentially everything  – bedtime, sugar, TV time. The rules abound in our home).

“I remember Jerry always crying to get into bed with us. I didn’t let him. I wanted him to learn a lesson of staying in his own bed. When I think back, I wish I would have let him sleep in our bed.”

My sweet Grandma had time to change for her last two kids.

“Josh and Jennifer were always in our bed.”

She held onto those moments just a little longer, snuggled for just a few more minutes and probably cleaned up a few more bed-wetting accidents than she’d care to remember.

What’s your best memory of motherhood?

Even talking over the phone with my grandma I could tell the question took her years and years away.

She told me, “I loved holding my babies and rocking them, kissing their soft little skin, their smell, kissing their little heads.”

The thought takes me to my own memory of the same thing. For my oldest, it was just a few years ago. At this point, as he runs around with his sweaty boy head – it might as well have been 50 years ago.

What was your favorite stage?
You know how everyone (even my grandma) is always saying, “Enjoy them now, enjoy them now?” That’s why I had to ask my grandma if she had a favorite stage.
Her answer is a little shocking though.
“I loved the high school years. My oldest and I were really close. The kids would say to their teenage friends ‘My mom says…’ to which their friends would say ‘What!? You told your mom?!’ We talked about everything.”
“All my friends were always saying how hard teens were, but I keep thinking this is so fun.”
three lessons in motherhood from grandma on mother's day
After talking to my grandma I can’t thinking about her advice.
In fact, I let my 4-year-old sleep in our bed. He peed. I just smiled to myself, cleaned it up – and let him snuggle with us the next night too (with a pull-up on).
Thank you Grandma for giving me the advice – and through it, the opportunity to hold them close just a little longer.
Happy Mother’s Day!
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