I was 5 when I knew that what I wanted most was to be a mom.
I was 15 when I decided I wanted a dozen kids. I had just read "Cheaper by the Dozen" and was pretty convinced that creativity and efficiency was key to raising a large family.
I decided I would figure out what it takes to be a mom and get good at it so when I became one, I'd be pretty much an expert. Ha!
At nearly 25, I had my first child. I was instantly reminded that this was what I indeed wanted and found very fulfilling even while folding tiny onesies and pajamas and cloth diapers.
At 35, I had my 8th and final baby. It was a difficult pregnancy, and I was surrounded by family and friends and many, many, many people supporting my children and me while my husband was far away.
I knew at the beginning of that pregnancy-- before the complications-- that she would be my last. My body would not be able to grow another baby again and survive.
(You could say that I do have 12 since there are 4 angels waiting for me in heaven.)
What would I tell my 15 year old self about being a mom and what she could look forward to?
Being a mom of many takes more than just being able to change diapers and entertain kids.
Your house will never be clean.
If the entire house is clean because no one is home and you've worked like a maniac to get it in pristine condition, it won't stay that way for even 10 minutes when they return. And that's okay. Because that is not what counts.
Sticky kisses and hugs count.
Your kids aren't going to remember how shiny the stove was and spotless the microwave was. They will need to learn to clean and learn to keep a house, but not that everything revolves around it.
They're going to remember the moments.
They'll remember feeling loved, having friends over to play and families visiting for dinner. They'll remember your example and attitude. They'll look to you to see if it's time to smile or time to worry.
Which brings me to...
Don't focus on or worry about what other people will think. You can't control what they think.
Most people are focused on themselves anyway and don't care to notice if your grout is clean or your sink is spotless when you invite them over to spend time with your family.
They are worrying about how loud their kids are in church not how loud yours are. If they're past that age of loud children, they might be remembering what it was like when theirs were small.
And the people that do interfere, ignore them, or hand them a baby to hold.
Don't worry what other people think of your parenting methods.
Everyone should do what they feel in their heart is best. Even the experts disagree. You can't please everyone all of the time.
Chill out and enjoy your children. Enjoy your husband. Enjoy your life. It's gonna be a good one!