There are amazing, devoted, wonderful, deliberate mothers out there, and each week we’ll spotlight one of them here at The Power of Moms. Do you know a mom who deserves a little time in the spotlight? Email rachelle.price (at) powerofmoms.com. We can’t wait to meet her.
Introducing Laurie Snider
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
Six. They are 38, 37, 35, 34, 31, and 30. Four boys first, and then two girls. Life was very crazy when they were all little, and very busy when they were teenagers, but they’re all the best of friends and love being together, so it’s all worth it.
I really loved the teenage years! I loved the humor and the activities they were involved in and watching them turn into young adults. I liked being a mom who welcomed their friends, even though the friends knew they’d have to obey the rules. I’m Facebook friends now with some of them that I got to know through high school drama and sports, and I’ve loved watching them grow up, too.
But then I also loved being pregnant and having babies, and watching them develop into toddlers and then children and then teenagers. And I love just being friends with them now that they’re adults. I guess I just love being a mom!
What do you do as a mother that you feel really good about?
When the kids were all really young, probably ages 9,8,6,5,3,and 1, I realized I was yelling a lot. And I sometimes wondered if my kids knew I loved them. I told them often, and mostly I was nice enough, but I didn’t want them to wonder, even for one second, if their mother loved them. So I quit yelling, and made sure everything I said to any of them was said calmly and lovingly. It took a while to make it a habit, but a few years later, when several of them were teenagers, I realized that not one of them had ever spoken a harsh word to me. Not one ever talked back or said unkind things to me. All communication between us was always respectful, never hurtful. I feel great about that!
What are your favorite moments of motherhood? How do you create them?
I love having everyone together, and I make the best of it when even a few of them are together. I just sit back and listen to their reminiscences and their witty banter and enjoy that there is never unkindness between them.
What do you do that is a little different than what seems to be the “norm”?
Well, I decorate seven Christmas trees every year! People say my house looks like Christmas blew up in it.
What has surprised you about motherhood?
I think just the intensity of the love I have for my kids has been the biggest surprise. When I was pregnant with my second, I wondered how in the world I could love another baby as much as I loved the first, but the heart just opens up and multiplies. And seeing the love they have for each other makes it that much greater. Now that I also have grandchildren, I love them just as much. And my daughters-in-law, too! I love them like my own daughters, even the one who is divorced from my son. One of them said this: “I didn’t have you as a mom growing up, but having you as a mother-in-law is my favorite thing. I watch you with your kids now and I want that with my kids when they are older. A lot of the things we do with our kids we do because Jeff learned it from you and it always made complete sense to me. ”
What coping strategies do you have for getting through hard times and hard days?
I completely believe that it’s all in God’s hands. Tough times and hardships will end, and eventually it will all be okay. I also believe that we can choose to look on the bright side of just about anything. I not only feel like the glass is half full, I’m convinced that there’s a pitcher right around the corner waiting to fill it up the rest of the way!
Be patient! Don’t react to button-pushing. Respond gently. This doesn’t mean that the child is allowed to do whatever he wants, only that the parent is in control. No one, child or adult, changes their feelings because someone yells at them in anger. Behavior may change out of fear, but the heart doesn’t change unless the correction is given with love and patience.
My daughter said this: “I think the most important thing for a mom to do, which you are absolutely the very best at, is to always be loving and respectful and expect your children to behave the same way. I remember being expected to be kind even when I was little; there was never the excuse that I was too little to know better. If I did something wrong you would talk to me about my motivations, and it would be an opportunity to either teach me something I didn’t know about how to behave, or to remind me of what I already knew. I knew I had to be nice, and you showed me how in everything you did, as well as explicitly teaching me to think of others’ feelings and try to see from their point of view. When I think about my childhood it’s a big sparkly cloud of love, kindness, and respect. As an adult I’m frequently commended for my ability to get along with everyone and see everyone’s side of things, and I always tell people it’s because I have a great mom.”
What a mom shouldn’t do is make excuses for her child or try to be buddies. Her job is to teach correct behavior and set standards for her children to live up to. Too many moms ask their child’s permission to be their parent.
What are some unique and interesting aspects of your family or your approach to mothering?
One of my sons has said that he appreciated that our home felt like “our” home, not “my” home that I allowed them to live in. They had a version of baseball that they played in the living room when they were little, using rolled-up socks for a ball and one of my flipflops for a bat, to avoid breakage. We had several other games like that through the years, including a version of soccer and one of football, and there was a lot of wrestling. The games were designed to avoid breakage, but an accidental breaking was never a tragedy. Well, except my nephew’s arm.
What have you learned about motherhood that you wished you’d known sooner and would like to pass along?
The best relationships in my life, besides with my husband, are with my kids. I was always kind of sad every time I thought of them growing up, but if I’d known how great it is to have adult children who are my friends, it might not have been so sad.