Monday, October 1, 2018

In the trenches...featuring Emily

I am very excited for this weeks spotlight.  I am featuring my niece Emily Dunnigan.  Emily is just ten years younger than I and she is more like a younger sister than a niece.  She is extremely talented and creative.  She was a teacher before she had children and is very gifted with kids.  She has a beautiful family and someone I look up to very much, she is such an awesome mom!  She and her husband Jason have been married for 6 years.

Tell us about your journey to motherhood:

I didn't marry until I was almost 31 years old.  I was afraid that might keep me from having the large family I had always wanted.  Fortunately we were blessed to get pregnant quite easily and had our first baby boy 10 months after we were married.  We now have three children.  Nixon is 5, Olive is 3 and Will is 1.  We've had them quickly, but are so grateful for all of them!

What has surprised you about motherhood?

I was surprised at how hard and exhausting it is!  I thought after being a school teacher and being around kids all of my life I knew what it would be like.  But it's much more tiring than I expected.

I would also go to the zoo, the grocery store, a restaurant and look around and wonder why it was that all these moms had it all together, but I was dying at how hard it was!  I wish we talked more about the reality of how hard it is, we all like to put on the happy face.  I obviously love my kids so much and I'm so grateful for them, but this is the hardest thing I've ever done.

What advice would you give other moms?

I would encourage them to find one or two people they can be real with and talk about how hard it is. Someone who won't judge them for saying their kids are driving them crazy or for their messy house.

Also know that you are enough. You don't have to be perfect in any way to be enough of a mom for your kids.  I know my kids came to me because I'm the best mom for them, nobody else could love them like I do.  I believe that for every mom.

What brings you joy in motherhood?

Watching them learn things and knowing I taught them that.  The other day my son Nixon made a mistake and we were talking through it and he said, "Mom I just want to be like Jesus!"  It made me feel so happy that what we are teaching really is sinking in and he's getting it!

How do you take care of yourself so you have more to give your family?

I teach sewing lessons in my home, and help put on an annual musical at the elementary school I taught at before kids.   I love being creative and doing things that help me keep up my talents really fills me.

Also a few months ago my sister in law invited me to start going to the gym with her every morning. I haven't ever been a gym person before, but I decided to try it.  We go at 5:30 every morning and I have come to love that time to myself and talking with other adults.  It helps me get my day started right.

How do you nurture your marriage with so many little kids?

A few months ago my husband had to travel to NYC for work.  He encouraged me to come with him and even though I didn't know that I wanted to leave my kids, I went.  It was SO fun and so good for us to be just the two of us.  I knew my kids were in good hands and having so much fun and it allowed me to relax and just enjoy being the two of us.  I think we need to do that regularly.

We also try to go on dates, but it's hard to find babysitters etc.  Sometimes we buckle the kids in the car and go on a long drive so we can just talk.  Usually they fall asleep and we can have some good time just being the two of us.

Thank you Emily, you are awesome!

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