I’ve wanted to be a mom since I was a little girl pretending to nurse my baby dolls. Every time my mom had one of my little brothers, my little life was made. I was able to take care of them, cuddle them, kiss them, and watch my mom take care of them. I couldn’t wait to have my own little babies and perfect life with them.
It wasn’t until I had kids that I realized just how imperfect it all is….
I met my husband when I was 19 and we were married by the time I was 20. We talked about having kids right away, but decided to wait two years until we would start trying. Within the first two years of our marriage we ended up getting a dog and having a baby. Then we added two more babies to the mix by the time we hit our 5 year anniversary.
In addition to a handful of tiny toddlers running around our house, we have a few things that make our family stand apart from others.
1. We have a multicultural family and are raising our kids in two different cultures (American and East Indian).
My husband is East Indian and I am Caucasian and Romanian. While my husband and I were both born in the US, our family lives were extremely different. His family were born and raised in India. They moved to the Midwest after his parents were married. My parents were born and raised in the US.
When we got married, we knew we wanted to raise our children in both cultures. While living by my side of the family, we found it was difficult to teach our kids about Indian culture like we wanted to. They weren’t exposed to Indian events and the language.
Last year we moved to the Midwest to be right next to my husband’s side. It’s been great because now our kids hear my father in law speaking in Telugu every day, they get to go to Indian events, they are around other multicultural families, and it’s easier to be intentional when you’re around the culture more.
We’re constantly navigating through two different cultures in our marriage and in how we parent our children. It means there isn’t a guidebook telling us how to do it. Every single multicultural family is unique in how they blend cultures.
We have even found ourself torn between cultures. While one culture tells us to do things one way, the other tells us the complete opposite. We’ve had to develop a new family culture that includes both.
2. My husband travels for a living which means it’s just the kids and I a lot of the time.
My husband started the job he’s currently working at a few years into our marriage. We were pregnant with our second and knew we needed a change. What we didn’t realize is how much travel his job would entail. On an easy month he travels a week and on a busy month he travels a total of three weeks off and on.
Taking care of three little boys while my husband’s away is difficult, but we make it work. Sometimes it means cereal for dinners while we sit on the couch with a tower of unfolded laundry and other times it means taking the kids to the gym so I can get a few hours to myself.
3. My youngest started getting seizures last year.
The scariest moment of my life was the moment my one year old had his first seizure. We were driving to my mother in law’s house when my son made a strange sound from his carseat. I un-buckeld and ran back there only to see him convulsing in his seat. I melted down immediately. My husband called 911 and they rushed to the parking lot we had stopped at.
When they got there his seizure had stopped, but he couldn’t move one side of his body for an hour. I thought he had a stroke and couldn’t help, but hold him crying.
Luckily, he started moving his entire body at the hospital. We found out he had a febrile seizure, which isn’t as rare as we thought. (That would have been nice to see in a parenting book.) He has had a handful since then and the doctors tell us he will have more until he’s about 4 years old.
We had a few months were we let fear take over. We were scared of him getting more so we wouldn’t let him go to Sunday School, be babysat by anyone, or let out of our sight. Then we realized we couldn’t live our lives in fear and had to let go a bit.
We still get nervous when he gets sick, but we have a good routine to try and prevent them. It’s scary, but it’s taught my husband and I to lean on each other more.
All three of these things have taught me one of the most important lessons of my life.
Perfection is unattainable. If I were to be solely focused on gaining the perfect life I’d dreamed about, I’d loose sight of the amazing life I’ve been blessed with. It’s harder than I thought it would be, but I love my life.
I didn’t expect a traveling husband, a multicultural family, or a child with health struggles. I also didn’t expect to have three beautiful boys, a husband that loves me as much as he does, or to see how much stronger our family has become through the difficulties we’ve faced.
Instead of focusing on how different our life is than I expected, I’ve been able to see how much God has blessed our family in ways I never thought were possible.
When marrying your husband were you in anyway scared to enter a multicultural relationship? If so what were your fears?
I wasn’t worried when we first met and were dating. My husband was born and raised in Chicago. It wasn’t until I met his family that I realized just how different our life together would be. His family is first generation East Indian which means they moved to the US as adults.
They raised my husband with very similar traditions and customs they grew up with. It meant a lot to my husband to raise our children with the same traditions or as best we could do in our multicultural family.
My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to offer my future children a blend of both cultures. Living in the US meant we wouldn’t be fully immersed into Indian culture. I loved learning about the culture and traditions from my husband, but it’s not the same as moving our entire family to India.
I was scared I’d only be able to offer them half of what they deserved. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that fear is universal among mothers. We all want the best for our children and all we can do is our best. I’m intentional in how I blend cultures in my kid’s lives and that’s the best I can offer them.
When your husband is gone on business what is the hardest part of being a mom by yourself?
Just one thing? The hardest part is feeling like a single mom. I get used to one life while my husband is home. In that life, I can depend on my partner. He helps me do it all and I have to trust him to take care of me. In my other life, while my husband is away, it’s all on my shoulders.
I feel the responsibility to be the rockstar mom. The mom that makes three elaborate meals a day, keeps a perfectly clean house, pleases everyone around her, talks to her children in a calm and loving voice, all while taking care of myself. Instead, I end up with piles of clean laundry stuffed in my closet, breakfast (cereal) for more meals than I’d like to admit, and I end up turning down most invitations that require me leaving my house with three children.
I end up having to settle being a loving mom. Instead of being perfect, I choose to love my children. They don’t care how clean our house is. They just want a mom that spends time with and loves them. I have to constantly remind myself it’s enough.
Complete and utter disbelief. The moment I heard him make a stifled cry from the backseat, I knew something was wrong. My happy little boy was in trouble. Jumping in the backseat and seeing him unresponsive was terrifying. My husband tells me his seizure only lasted a little over two minutes, but it felt like a lifetime. Afterwards, he didn’t move half of his body for an hour.
I felt helpless. I just wanted to be strong and fix him. Instead, I was a hysterical mess. There’s nothing like that feeling; that feeling of not being able to help your child. I didn’t know if he was scared or in pain. All I knew was that something was wrong.
It’s been a few months since his last seizure, but that fear is still there. Anytime he gets a fever, my husband and I get anxious and don’t let him out of our sight. We give him medicine every two hours to get his fever down and watch him for 24 hours. The doctors say it’s not foolproof in preventing his seizure, but it’s something. It’s the one thing we can do.
What advice or tips can you give to someone that may be experiencing their child having seizures?
One thing they don’t tell you in the plethora of parenting books out there is that they’re more normal than you think. I can’t tell you how many parents have contacted us since it all started with our son, saying their child has them too. One tip is to find a community or at least a few people who have been through similar situations. It’s nice to have someone who understands.
Another tip I always recommend to other parents now is peppermint oil. I’m not an essential oil obsessor, but it really is great. It works before the tylenol can kick in. The biggest thing with seizures is how quickly your child’s body temperature goes up. Meds typically take an hour to kick in. Things like peppermint oil can help while you’re waiting.
Your a mom blogger, how do you do it all?
Blogging has become something I do for myself. I love working on my blog and being able to hear from my readers. I love hearing that something I’ve shared has resonated with someone.
I think something that’s important for all mothers, is making time for yourself. I schedule time throughout my day to blog. Sometimes it’s during nap times, quiet times, or when my kids are asleep. I make sure that I have my time to do something for myself every day.
Now that you have told the Mother Effin Truth, who do you want to nominate to tell their story as a mother? And Why?
I nominate blogger Diedre from Are Those Your Kids! I nominate Diedre because she is the ultimate mother. Even though she wears multiple hats (mother, wife, blogger, school counselor), she does it all with such grace. She’s honest about her life and is always encouraging and uplifting those around her.
Be sure to follow Brittany on Facebook to stay updated on her latest posts from her blog The Almost Indian Wife.