The Joys of Motherhood – 3 Life Lessons I Learned from My 12 Kids
I’m not technically a mother, though I do have many kids – 12 to be exact. We have goats. 8 pregnant mommas turned into 14 babies (6 sets of twins, 2 single births; 9 girls, 5 boys.) We have already found good homes for two of the baby girls, but that still leaves us with a whole lot of kids to take care of. And all of these kids require bottle feeding and their poopy butts to be wiped, and guess who does most of that! You guessed it – yours truly.
But as much as I may dislike (read: can’t f-ing stand) having to set my alarm to get up at midnight and 4 in the morning to feed the babies, and as much as I may not like leaving the house for work or an important event emitting that faint yet very distinct smell of goat, I do love caring for these beautiful animals.
And, if I’m going to be really honest, my version of motherhood has taught me some of the biggest life lessons I, or anyone, could hope to learn. Yep, it doesn’t matter if your kids have two legs or four, tails or tantrums, in the midst of your exhaustion and frustration lies wisdom.
Here are 3 life lessons I have learned from my 12 kids:
Life Lesson #1 – Human Beings Are Herd Animals
As we continue to try and place some of these precious babies into good homes, we always make sure to ask if the people already have goats. Goats are herd animals, they need other goats around in order to thrive and flourish. A lone goat is simply lost. They quickly become depressed, some will stop eating and even become very sick.
Human beings are also herd animals. We need each other, though that fact is becoming harder and harder to believe sometimes. Wars, social unrest, politics and the media have divided us. Heck, even technology, which is supposed to connect us, has driven a wedge between us. These days it’s hard to even find a table of people at a restaurant interacting with each other instead of their smartphones.
Perhaps this explains why diseases seem to be on the rise. We are all disconnected from ourselves, our friends, family, and society, and it’s taking a big toll on our minds, hearts and bodies.
Deep down we’re all just a bunch of goats who long to connect with other goats.
Life Lesson #2 – Life is Abundant with Simple Joys
So many things make goats happy. Things like head butting each other or head butting whatever object may be closest to them. Eating stuff, jumping on stuff, eating stuff while high atop stuff, running around in circles. You would not believe how happy our goats get when we walk toward them with banana peels (one of their favorite treats). You’d think we were walking toward them with tickets to a George Winston concert (they also seem to enjoy instrumental piano).
The point is, like all animals, goats take extreme joy in the simple pleasures of life. Why can’t we humans do the same? We spend our entire lives chasing the next big joy, and when we get it, it’s somehow not enough, so we keep chasing joy, needing that next big fix. Then one day we wake up and we’re old and we’ve missed our entire lives chasing things that never really brought us that much joy.
Joy is all around us. Joy is in the sound of your dog snoring, the smell of coffee and bacon, the sudden realization that you get to sleep in tomorrow, the touch of your wife, the look in your kids’ face when you walk in the door.
Stop looking for joy and just see it.
Life Lesson #3 – Stay Curious
Whether your kids have two legs or four, you spend a great deal of time when they’re young making sure they don’t die. Much of this lurking death stems from the fact that all kids are incredibly curious – and this curiosity can get them into some trouble.
Case in point – The other day Clancy and I spent a few hours trying to bolt down one of the tables we set supplies on in the barn. Why did we do this? Because every day, multiple times a day, the goats will jump up on it, investigating the supplies, sending them crashing down onto the other goats, and then eventually the goat that made it on top will tip the whole table over and come crashing down. It’s like they are actively trying to hurt themselves. But really, they’re just incredibly curious creatures.
People start out curious – kids are, by nature, incredibly curious. We begin our lives trying to fundamentally understand the world around us. “We ask why why why why why why…” so many times we cause the adults around us to run away screaming.
We explore our backyards like they are Patagonia, we explore the skies with awe and wonder, we are curious about EVERYTHING.
And then we age and curiosity wanes and in its place responsibilities, which take our full attention. It’s hard to remain curious when all of our time and effort goes toward getting the right college degree, paying off student debt, getting a good job that offers a 401K and solid benefits package, and keeping up with the Joneses.
The thing about curiosity is, those that are curious sometimes risk death. But those that stop being curious die mentally and spiritually.
So, stay curious.
Having kids, no matter what kind, is hard. But in all that hard are some profound lessons that, if we let them, can change our lives.
Devon is a Licensed Professional Clinical/Substance Abuse Counselor, Nationally Certified Teacher, Certified Personal Trainer, Personal Life Coach, and an experienced consultant. As a counselor, she is committed to helping young people be their highest selves in all areas: body, mind, and spirit. With her background in teaching children, her expertise, enthusiasm, energy and educational background serve to create a unique blend of services and techniques employed to help you reach your goals. For counseling sessions, coaching, or training, please contact her at 505.469.0779 or firstname.lastname@example.org.