Steve always knows when I'm reading BooMama's blog because I laugh out loud, right before I say, "you have to read this!" Now you can laugh along with her and grab your husband (or wife) and say, "honey, you've got to read this interview!" She is hysterical, and wise, and well, let's get on with it. It's part 12 of the series, if you're counting.You say in your bio, "I've been married to my best friend for eleven years, and our little boy is five. I’d love to have another child, but, well, I’m old. We’ll just have to see what happens." What were those first six years pre-kid like?
Um—I guess the expected answer would be that those years were wonderful and easy and we traveled and we were footloose and fancy-free and we loved every second. And that was true to a certain degree. But those years were also really hard—especially the first three. We both had a whole lot of growing up to do and some Life Junk we needed to address, but we didn't really realize that until after we were married.
Why the wait? Did you face any emotional or practical hurdles to starting your family?
No practical hurdles. Probably a few emotional ones. For whatever reason, I had never been a girl who just couldn't wait to have kids. And because I married later than most of my friends (I was 27), I just wanted to SOAK UP the experience of being a wife. After we were married, I kept thinking that we'd both know when it was "the right time" to start a family. Right after our fifth anniversary was when we said Okay—let's give this baby thing a shot. That was the first time in our married life when we were both ready for a little one. And I got pregnant right away.
Did you have any unusual cravings during pregnancy? Did they stick around?
Tomatoes, guacamole and yogurt. And that guacamole craving is still alive and kickin', my friends.
What surprised you most about becoming a mom?
I had no idea that I could love anyone like I loved our child the very first time I saw him. Like I STILL love him. I also had no idea that I could live and function on so little sleep. But I think the biggest surprise for me was the daily epiphanies—and I'm still having them—in terms of how God reveals His character to me as I parent. I'll never, ever forget trying to teach Alex how to hold my hand when we took walks when he was around 18 months old. I just wanted to guide him and protect him, and he fought me with everything he had. God taught me a lesson or four hundred about surrender in the process.
What’s the most annoying thing that parenthood has brought into your life?
"Caillou." Hands-down. I can hear the first three notes to the theme song before I lunge for the remote. And if I can't get to the remote in time and have to hear Caillou's voice, I start to twitch. Believe me: if I could jump into the TV screen, I would put Caillou in time out FOREVER. :-)
How has having a child changed your marriage?
Seeing my husband as a father has given me a whole new level of respect for him. He's so steady and even and patient. We are typically on the same page in terms of discipline and what we want to instill in our little guy, so in that sense parenting together has really strengthened our bond. We would both tell you that Alex is the best thing that ever happened to us—for a whole host of reasons.
How has having a child changed your relationship with God?
I have been blown away by how becoming a parent has deepened my relationship with God. When I was pregnant with Alex, a friend of mine told me that motherhood would give me a completely different perspective on God's love. And he was so right. As much as I love my little boy, that's just a teeny tiny little fraction of how much the Creator of the universe loves us. I feel like motherhood has given me a fresh appreciation for God's grace and—oh, have mercy—His PATIENCE with His children.
What's your high/low of starting a family?
I feel like there's a high point every single day. Children see the world without judgment or cynicism, so Alex's enthusiasm for life in general blesses my soul in ways I can't even describe. I can't really think of a low point. I mean, I struggle with daily frustrations like anybody else (every once in awhile MAMA NEEDS SOME TIME), and sometimes when I think back on parenting a three year-old I shudder just a little bit, but TRULY motherhood has been the great joy of my life.
Does Boo (Alex) drink your diet coke?
NO MA'AM. :-) Only the real stuff for him. And not too much of it. He has enough energy without the added stimulus of caffeine.
What kid-proofing changes, if any, did you make to your home or life?
Honestly, besides putting a gate on the stairs and putting those little plastic things in the electrical sockets, not many. I never put away my breakables or anything like that. If you could see my mama's house (or, as we like to call it: The Showroom), you would know that the children in our family have to figure out how to live in the middle of lots of dishes and crystal and assorted fragile treasures. So I figured if our little guy could learn how to live among all of my pretties, he'd be up for the task of staying at my parents' house, too.
When do you blog? Does your family read it?
Mostly after 8 at night, though sometimes I'll get a chunk of time in the afternoon when I can take care of blogging stuff. Sometimes I'll even write a little bit when I'm sitting in carpool line. And yes, my family reads it. Alex is just now starting to understand that "Mama writes on the computer." My parents are really good sports about it, but the whole thing absolutely confounds my mama. She tells people that I have "a blog on Google."
What advice would you give a couple considering starting their family?
There's no such thing as talking too much about how you're going to handle parenting in your house. If you're planning to be a mom and you think you might want to stay home with your child, then do a trial run on one income for several months to make sure that you know what you're getting into. I think the financial stress of losing one income can be super-tough on a lot of couples.
Also—and my husband and I tell people this all the time—it is so important to be on the same page spiritually. Every discipline issue you face with your child is a heart issue, and how you handle those heart issues is HUGE. We're both big believers that if you just address behavior, you're only dealing with a symptom of the real problem—which is every heart's need for the transforming love of Jesus. I think all the time that if David and I weren't on the same page with that, parenting could feel really tense and lonely. I'm so grateful that God gave us the gift of working through our junk (and we had plenty) before the little guy came along. We are much healthier parents as a result.
BooMama is a wife, mama, daughter, sister and friend. She adores her family, and loves to laugh. She also loves TiVo, Mississippi State sports, diet Coke over ice, pedicures, and entire seasons of television shows on DVD. And Jesus. She loves Him most of all.
She started BooMama blog in November of 2005 because she wanted to do a better job of documenting Alex's life (and because scrapbooking's out due to the unfortunate and chronic twitching that would be the result of having to use some form of specialty scissors).