My Name is Kami Gilmour, and I am a Mom
My name is Kami Gilmour, and I am a mom.
I am a parent of 5 kids, but not a parenting expert.
In fact, I have a general mistrust of anyone who calls themselves a parenting expert because I assume they’ve actually not yet experienced raising their own children.
I know this because the closest I ever felt to being an expert was 19 years ago when I was pregnant with my first born, and I read five or six parenting books and mapped out a wonderful vision for what my perfect life would look like as a mom. I made lots of judge-y mental notes to myself when kids acted up at restaurants and added that to my list of what my kids would not ever be like. And I’d trained my dog pretty well, so I’d obviously have the toddler years nailed in a heartbeat.
And then on April 14 of 1995, I marched (waddled) into the hospital with my grand vision of motherhood—which all started with my handy Birth Plan.
A Birth Plan is supposed to be a written outline of your choices during childbirth. (things like natural birth vs. epidural, who’ll be in the room, etc.) The Birth Plan is actually just a giant lie, most likely written by a man who’s never had children. Nothing in my Birth Plan happened like I’d envisioned. Writing my hopes into a “Plan” just made it cruel.
It was also the very first lesson I learned that the whole parenting thing will NEVER go exactly as planned. (more on this birth fiasco in a future blog post.)
There’s a lot more pain, joy, fear, exhilaration, exposure to various horrifying bodily fluids, and general loss of control and dignity than I’d pictured. This illustration has pretty much been my ongoing description for parenthood as well as childbirth since day one. And my kids are now teenagers.
But the other thing I learned through the failure of my Birth Plan, is that I didn’t even care about the Plan when I held my daughter for the first time. Nothing could have prepared me for the rush of overwhelming love when I first saw my daughter. It baffled me how instantly and massively I could love a tiny human who didn’t even know me.
And for the first time in my life I finally grasped that maybe this was what I’d heard about God’s unconditional love for us when I was growing up in church.
This was the moment I finally felt God’s love for me was real—because I now understood what it was like to love a child of my own. And I also realized how much I needed to know God more, and trust that He had this life in control because I surely did not.
Within the first month of motherhood, I also realized how loved I was by my own mother, despite our imperfect relationship.
Her wise counsel through sleepless nights became my sanity, as she soothed my fears and reminded me that we all must learn our way through parenthood. She reminded me we all make mistakes, we fail ourselves and our kids, but that doesn’t mean we love them less. Love is much bigger than that. It was during this time I learned to forgive her for all of the things it’d been so easy to criticize her about through the years, and realize we were on the same team. Our relationship deepened to a shared journey of motherhood and my acceptance her imperfection, as well as my own. She was farther along the road than I, and I needed her reassurance.
And I realized there were many other mothers (and fathers) who were walking along this road whom I needed as well. We all have stories to share—stories of failure and triumph—laughter and heartache--and the wisdom we’ve learned in hindsight of it all. What I’ve learned about life, relationships, and loving God and others has always come in the context of an experience.
My hope for the Everyday Family Everyday Faith blog is that through a collection of voices and stories we can reveal something authentic, relevant and hopeful to anyone on this journey who want to explore faith, family and everything in between.
follow this blog author, Kami Gilmour n her new-unhacked-by-her-teenagers-Twitter-account @glorifyingmessy for daily musings on life and motherhood and the margins in between...
Thank you for sharing part of your story of parenting. I found it so refreshing and encouraging. I look forward to the next post.
Saw your article on pointers on sending your first-born to college. I literally started to cry. I must tell you that my first born is now 40 and my son is 37 – so it’s been a while. But I thought it was a very interesting and informative piece and was relieved to know I wasn’t the only one I know (of course, other parents are the same) who was really a basket case when my first one went off. Very moving for me. Thank you.