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 Sara Harding
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
My husband, Chris, and I have eight children: Sadie (15), Jimmy (13), Halee (13), Tia (10), Olivia (9), Shon (8), Austin (7), and Gracie (5).
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?
Eight children in ten years was never part of the plan that Chris and I made for ourselves. After having our fifth biological child, we felt like we had our hands plenty full. But the first week of 2011, I had a visitor come to the children’s class I was teaching at church. We were used to visitors in our class, but for some reason, this ten-year-old boy intrigued me more than the others had. I’m not sure if it was his great smile, his big brown eyes, or most likely, his strong desire to learn and do good. Whatever the reason, I immediately fell in love with him.
I found out later that he was living in a foster home in my neighborhood. As the weeks passed and I got to know him better, I grew to love him even more. After a couple of months, I learned that the rights of this boy’s birth mother were being terminated. I also learned that he had two younger siblings living in a different foster home. There was concern that these children would be separated from each other. I worried a lot about what the future held in store for this boy. Still, I never expected what was going to happen next.
To make an incredibly long story short…after many months of trying to push the idea out of our minds, Chris and I began considering bringing these children into our home. The following months were filled with worry, fear, confusion, sadness, more meetings than I care to remember, lots of classes and training, and lots and lots of adjustments. These months were also filled with hope, excitement, joy, love, inspiration, and miracle after miracle after miracle. By the end of what seemed to be an incredibly long year, 2011, we were able to add three absolutely amazing children to our family through adoption. Our family is definitely different than what might be considered “the norm”, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
What have been your favorite parts of motherhood? How do you cultivate joy in your journey as a mother?
Finding joy in my mothering is not always easy. There was a day just recently where by 8:00 a.m., I had run to the junior high three times taking forgotten items to forgetful children.
Following that, I came home to find milk spilled all over the floor. Along with that, one child was feeling sick and another was refusing to go to school. In a rush, I not-so-nicely demanded that they all get in the car, the above-mentioned child still fighting the idea of going to school. After literally prying his hands off the bars of the headrest to get him out of the car, I had to chase him through the halls of the school and ultimately ended up crawling on the floor OF THE BOYS BATHROOM IN AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL…SO GROSS…to get under the stall where I could convince him that going to class was the right thing to do.
Completely exhausted, I came home and pulled myself together enough to begin my sixteen loads of laundry and move on to my grocery list that was as long as the Nile River. It is days like these that I find it a little difficult to find joy in my mothering.
However, I have found a pretty good cure. As soon as these negative thoughts begin to creep into my mind, if I will immediately start making a mental list of all of the things I have to be grateful for, I am reminded that my eight beautiful, healthy, sometimes nice, children are right there on the top of the list. And everything seems to be OK again.
What have you learned from motherhood? Please share a specific story or incident that really taught you something.
Most of the important knowledge that I have gained at this point in my life has come from my experiences as a mother. But one lesson that is on my mind currently is that it is not the huge things that we offer our children (exotic vacations, fancy clothes and toys, unique experiences) that mold them the most. It is the small, everyday things that have the most influence on our children. Just being there.
Whenever possible, I try and visit with my kids for just a minute as they lay in their beds before going to sleep. (I have to take turns as I can’t get to all eight of them in one night). Traditional questions that I ask them include, “What was the best part of your day today?” and “What was the worst part of your day today?” I was surprised the other night as I asked my seven-year-old son these questions. He had done some fun things at school that day, been to soccer practice that night AND had some time to play with friends. I thought for sure that one of these activities would be the “best part” of his day. I was wrong. When I asked what the very best part of his day was, he said, “You laying here with me.”
What have you learned about motherhood that you wished you’d known sooner and would like to pass along?
I think that quite possibly the most important thing for moms to remember is to never give up. I have a plaque on my piano that says, “motherhood ain’t for sissies.” Isn’t that the truth?
Motherhood is hard and we are going to make mistakes. I personally make them every day over and over and over again. It is easy to get discouraged. But we can say sorry and try again. And day by day, we will be better. This concept alone might be the best lesson we can ever teach our children.
Picture courtesy of Sara Harding