I met Kim and her family last summer at our Positive PlayTime community in Central New York.
Excited that a mom of four- automatic wisdom status in my book- was joining our group,
I was also wondering how we could best accommodate 4 more little ones.
When I told everyone about a new mom with 4 children that would be joining us they said,
"Oh is it Kim? She has the most well-behaved children ever."
The next week, in walks Kim with four babies at her side.
They were well-behaved, but more than that.
Peaceful, angelic little people.
I am sure they have their moments,
but sweet-spirited souls was every single one of her 4 children under age 4.
Kim's energy was nurturing and calm, with a glow about her.
She was centered in her life, and her children.
Her peace of heart was reflected back in her little ones.
She'd be the one, with her children, helping clean up after class.
Aware, kind-hearted, and service-orientated,
Kim embodies the essence of a Christian woman.
I knew Kim had a story in her to help others.
Here is our Facebook chat from last summer.
What made you say yes to this blog interview?
What made me say yes was that I didn't have the best up-bringing.
Even if I could help just one other mother know she is not alone in her struggles.
To let moms know they are supported in becoming better mothers and women,
then I have accomplished something and my story was worth it.
I truly believe that as women we tend to think we have to do everything ourselves,
or else we are failures. It takes humbling to realize that it's ok to not struggle alone.
Supporting one another as women is our greatest power.
Let's say you happen to run into one of these moms, a mom that had it rough as a kid,
and is doing her best to do it differently. What would you say to her?
I would tell her:
You are strong! You are capable!
Do not let the past dictate your future.
Look at the things you had to go through.
Realize that you have grown from them.
You can be the mother you didn't have.
You are the one person your child can truly rely on.
Trust yourself.... It's ok to not know all of the answers now.
Just keep seeking ways to grow and learn.
Your child will see the strength you have and want to be more like you.
Remind your child that you are learning too.
When you make a mistake, learn from it.
Don't let your past hold you back from becoming the mother you want to be.
YOU are STRONG!
Beautiful, inspiring, and true.
Did you always know this truth within yourself?
Or did it take time to get to this place of wisdom?
I grew up with an incredibly abusive father.
My mother tried, but she was stretched so thin having 7 kids in 9 years.
I NEVER felt validated growing up.
It took years of pursuing my own dreams of becoming a mother that I realized,
I can not change my past. But I can make sure I am not that kind of parent.
I always knew I wasn't going to let people be proven right and that I WAS worth more.
I always knew I had a Heavenly Father who knew my worth and I was going to make him proud.
It took 6 years into my marriage, with the support of my amazing husband,
for my own insecurities to be pushed aside. To help me realize the worth I have as a mom.
I am grateful for so many wonderful people in my life
who I have been able to help along my own path of self discovery.
It is a journey, isn't it?
Someone told me: however bad it was, well that much goodness is there for us now.
I love that.
Very much so. Its an every day thing.
My husband grew up in an emotionally abusive family, so we were able to talk about the things
we don't want for our family, and take the good things & implement them.
Sounds like you two have a wonderfully supportive relationship that transcends the reality of your childhoods. I LOVE hearing when this happens because unfortunately most of with abusive childhoods tend to repeat our early wiring because it's what we know. Dysfunction become a pattern.
I really am blessed to have him as my husband and the father of my children. One of the main things that first attracted me to him was I saw him with a little baby and how tender & gentle he was......... It made me chase him for 4 months before he finally would go on a date with me.
And you two of you get to change the realities of your own children!
So tell me a little bit more of coming to peace with your past.
Are there specific events or aha moments that stick out in your mind?
I think its so important when our children are young that they have a firm foundation of love and trust in their lives. When my oldest came up to me and said she was sad because mommy yelled; it broke my heart. I had to change. I was NOT going to have her remember me as a yelling mom.
It is amazing how empowered these little people are. They know people are to be treated respectfully. The cycle is changing, our children have a voice. And you have played a big role in her feel confident & secure to speak her voice. This is the gift of a strong parent-child relationship: both parents & children growing together.
With 4 children and one on the way, how do you stay centered throughout the day?
Or do you just let yourself go with it all?
My father was very physically and emotionally abusive.
I was the third oldest in the 7 children,
and my sister right above me was physically abused the worse.
I remember as a very small child that I didn't feel love or happiness.
l was just scared all of the time.
I am by nature a peace maker and every day there was a fight going on.
I thought that yelling, demanding, and having things your way was the only way to communicate.
I think my a-ha moment was when Jason and I were first married.
We had been trying unsuccessfully for 18 months to have a child
and I was not the nicest person to be around.
I was very " my way or no way" and we got into a big fight.
Now when I say fight, I was the one screaming. He has NEVER raised his voice with me. Something I love dearly about him.
I started to pack my bag and was going to leave when he broke down and started to cry.
At that moment right there I KNEW I needed to change.
I could not be the person I was raised with.
I would NOT be the perpetrator in the cycle of violence.
And slowly & surely, and through lots of patience and humbling on both of our parts,
we have been able to come to the marriage with equal respect and admiration for each other.
Now I am grateful we were unable to have children until 3.5 years into our marriage.
I needed to learn to be a better me, before I could be a better mom.
I think it's so important to keep working on yourself even after you are a mom.
You can't just wear the Mom hat all of the time.
That is not your only identity.
It is wonderful you had time before children to work on yourselves & build a strong relationship. As moms, it is essential to continue developing who we are as women after we have children.
You had that defining moment that was purely transformative.
What happens after that moment?
How does one stay committed to personal change when things get tough
and it's easy to fall back into old patterns?
How do you make the time to work on yourself and your own identity
within the daily demands of 4 young children?
How do I stay centered?? Sane??
Well some days are better then others. I try to stick to a rough schedule.
My kids like routines and to know what comes next. It makes life easier that way.
But I am not a typical Type A personality. I like flexibility and spontaneity.
I try to have in my mind what the next day is going to bring.
I usually let the kids have as much choice as possible. I let them choose their outfits.
(Or if we are going some where they choose between two choices I am fine with).
They have family responsibilities like cleaning up their own messes and making their beds.
We try to have some kind of physical exercise every day, and school time as well.
One thing that REALLY helps keep me centered is quiet time. Its a mandatory 1.5 hours of relax time. They don't need to nap but they do need to rest.
I have taught them from very early on that rest helps their bodies grow big and strong just like eating their veggies and exercising. Speaking of exercising, we like to do 10 mins of yoga together. It's not an every day thing but when I am feeling extra stressed I say, "Ok yoga time," and they all follow along. Even the baby gets a kick out of it.
Sounds lovely! That sense of community of a large family is so beautiful, like a little school house. And I imagine there are good days when everyone is inspiring one another, and days that are more challenging.
What do you do yourself? Simple, doable things that other moms could easily try out?
Yoga ...I wasn't a believer in it but once I tried it, it was hooked. I don't go to a studio, I just do some deep cleaning breaths in my house.
I also try to do service as much as possible. I know for other moms it might stress them out,
but I LOVE to serve those around me. So I get the kids involved with making a dinner
for a family in need or just a simple note to mail to someone.
I love to craft as well. Now this is very difficult to do with 4 small children, but I allow myself to do something crafty when they have their craft time. I also have a garden. I spend 5-10 mins every day just walking through my garden and picking the fresh veggies. I also mow the lawn. It's something that needs to be done, but its time when I have to myself...
Also, Girls Night! It doesn't happen as often as I would like but I LOVE being able to just have adult interaction. I am not just a mom, I am a wife, I am a friend, I am a daughter, I am a crafter, I am a reader, I am a bubble bath lover. I am finding joy in getting to learn my own unique qualities and gifts.
I think so much of the time woman feel selfish doing things for themselves but in reality you can't be the best mom with out being the best you.
Megan: Thank you, Kim for inspiring us with your passion for creating the life we deserve.
All the best and so much love to your soon-to-be family of seven!
From the Heart parenting stories feature real families, real struggles, real wisdom.
Like a family portrait or trophy, the stories highlight the beauty & strength that is your family.
Be proud of who you are. Tell your story. Do you have a family story you'd like to share?
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Hi friends, I write from the heart to tell my life story, and the story of those in my neighborhood called life. Research shows that our children's emotional & mental health is contingent upon us parents being able to tell our life story, or "coherent narrative." This is my coherent narrative, my life story in the making, with some of what I love in life too. My goal is to share my life in a way that is real, uplifting & positive- sometimes serious, sometimes fun. In my practice, I inspire parents to empowerment through reclaiming our life stories and learning respectful discipline. My work is my offering to our children- our future. Wishing you all a happy family!