Becoming a mom gives an entirely new meaning to the concept of hard work.
Sure, there’s the changing, the feeding, the washing and the hundreds of other duties that come with keeping babies healthy.
But mothers also have the responsibility of raising their sons and daughters to be happy, healthy children and successful adults.
They provide encouragement, support and guidance when their kids struggle.
That’s a big job. But it comes with rewards that far outweigh the extra work.
Three Johnson County mothers have shared the challenges and joys that come with motherhood. Their stories are unique, but all share a theme — that none of the women would trade motherhood for anything.
“It’s really cool that you have these little babies, and you get to hug them and teach them and train them to grow up to love the Lord and maybe make a difference in the world. It’s a big responsibility, but I love it,” Franklin resident Brooke Ramirez said.
One of the first lessons motherhood taught Brooke Ramirez was to be prepared for anything.
Three years ago, the 28-year-old Franklin resident was getting ready to give birth to her first child.
Now, she’s caring for four kids, with another due this fall.
Ramirez and her husband, Mike, have two children — Will, 1, and Annabelle, 2. They are also in the process of adopting two children for whom they are guardians, 14-year-old Reo Terry and 11-year-old Maya Terry.
“It is a miracle, and something that God has blessed us with,” she said. “We had plans, but God definitely had different plans.”
Ramirez and her husband were married for six years before deciding to try to have kids. She would leave her job as a nurse and stay home with the children.
Annabelle was born in 2010. Six months later, they became the guardians of Reo and Maya. At the same time, they learned that Brooke Ramirez was pregnant with Will.
“We thought we had a long time to figure this all out. All of the sudden, we had big kids and little kids,” she said.
Ramirez has learned to try to balance having two very young children, a tween and a teen.
“The hardest thing to do has been getting the kids to appreciate each other,” she said. “The older kids don’t like to hang out and do what the younger kids do, and then it’s difficult to do things with the bigger kids, since the younger ones aren’t ready to do that.”
But at the same time, it teaches them the concept of sacrifice, to do something that their siblings will enjoy, even if it’s not the most fun for them.
Though she recognizes that their family makeup is unorthodox, Ramirez said that it also makes for a uniquely advantageous situation. The Ramirez children have always known Reo and Maya as their siblings. They don’t think of them as anything different, Ramirez said.
“It’s been different, but it’s been great. We’ve had the perspective that the Lord planned for them to be here like this, and it’s been fun. And we’re still growing the family,” she said.
Ramirez also has perspective on raising both older children and younger children. Her situation means that she’s learning how to handle an inquisitive and exploring toddler, as well as deal with the emotions of a teenager.
“You can’t get caught up with what other people are doing. You have to listen to the Lord to see what he wants from your family and be comfortable with that,” she said. “Everyone wants to compare, that this family looks better or that they have it all together, and no one has it all together.”