We have a whole team of talented, dedicated mothers working behind the scenes to make The Power of Moms the best it can be. We wanted you to meet them, so each month, we’ll take a day to spotlight one of our board members. (You can read about our board of volunteer moms here.)
Introducing Trainer Manager Tiffany Sowby
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
Five children: 13 year old daughter, 10 year old son, 8 year old daughter, 5 year old son, 3 year old son.
What are some unique and interesting aspects of your family or your approach to mothering? What do you do that is a little different than what seems to be the “norm”? What have you decided to prioritize in your mothering that you see as somewhat unusual?
I love playing games. My children know that one way to get my immediate attention (or sometimes procrastinate chores a little) is to ask me to play a game. You’ll never find me watching a movie or television show with my children, but you’ll frequently find me sitting on the floor playing a board game or a card game with some of them.
What have been your favorite parts of motherhood? How do you cultivate joy in your journey as a mother?
For years now, my mothering motto has been: enjoy the little things, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things. I love the nights when I crawl in bed and know that for that day (at least) I focused on what mattered. Things like stopping what I was doing to read a book to a preschooler, or climbing onto my teenager’s bed to chat about teenage stuff I had forgotten was important, or allowing a pleading child to accompany me to the store, when I’d much rather have gone alone, or letting my children hide beneath laundry piles instead of being in such a rush to fold it, or laughing when my son ties a rubber band around the kitchen sprayer instead of yelling when I get soaked. I’m not perfect at doing any of these things, but I keep trying. I’m certain not a day goes by that I don’t say to myself at least once, “It’s all about the little things, Tiffany.”
What have been the biggest challenges of motherhood for you? What are the hardest parts of your typical day as a mom? What coping strategies do you have for getting through hard times and hard days?
The biggest challenge of motherhood is the mental and emotional exhaustion. There are days we have had a pan of Rice Krispie treats for dinner and days I’ve told a child to wear clothing from the dirty clothes basket. I’ll even admit I’ve wished I had a superpower to make my children temporarily disappear, and I’ve been known to tell a crying child being chased by a sibling threatening to throw a toy, to run faster instead of doing the more responsible thing and intervening. Even though there are days I go to bed feeling discouraged about the kind of mother I am, I’m learning instead of berating myself, to simply accept some days are like that, and it is OKAY.
What has surprised you about motherhood?
How hard it is. There are so many things I would never have thought about before having kids. Everyone talks about newborns and how difficult they are, but no one told me about the times I’d have to ask 34 times to have a wet towel picked up from the floor, or how embarrassing it would be when you get called by a principal, or how much your heart will ache when a child has friend troubles. And certainly nobody told me about the occasional times I would hide in my closet and have a quick 5 minute cry. But the biggest surprise of all is probably the fact that despite it all, I wouldn’t trade being a mother for anything in the world.
What have you learned from motherhood? Please share a specific story or incident that really taught you something.
When I had three children, I had a near-death experience. I laid in a hospital bed for a couple of days pleading with God for my life to be spared. I have never forgotten my specific prayers–I wanted to play another game of SkipBo with my oldest daughter, sit on the front porch and watch my son ride his bike, and sit on the couch and hold my toddler. As I look back at the experience, I am amazed how specific yet simple my desires were. I didn’t ask for a chance to clean my house one more time, or to go on one more shopping spree, or take one more vacation. I wanted time with my children. It was humbling to have survived the experience and have those desires granted. Although I get wrapped up in things that aren’t important far too often, the experience gave me a unique perspective to not take for granted what really matters.
What have you learned about motherhood that you wished you’d known sooner and would like to pass along?
“The days are long, but the years are short.” I feel like I spent so many of my first few years of motherhood projecting forward to no diapers, or when my kids would start school, or be able to bathe themselves, or not wake up in the night, etc. I feel like I wasted too much time anxious for the future. I’m realizing now how quickly time is passing. I am finally grasping the importance of living in the moments more. I’d be lying if I said I never dream of the days when there will be less chaos and less laundry, I do. But I do it a lot less than I used to. My days are still long, but the years are short. I don’t want to wish them away.
Photo courtesy of Tiffany Sowby