There is no one who can make you feel like they’ve swiped your intelligence faster than a 2-year-old.

My mom was a stay-at-home mom until I was in 2nd grade. She had her college diploma framed in our kitchen. I totally get it now.

Once upon a time, I was a teacher. I taught first grade and preschool, but only for a grand total of 4 years. It was my career calling at the time, but after I had our second, I decided to stay home full time.

I’ve stayed home 9 years now and my biggest challenge is not letting my kids define me.

It’s easy to let go of your pre-baby hopes, dreams, and expectations when you’re raising 4 small children, but it’s so important not to.

Motherhood has shown me the greatest love and the greatest pain, made me appreciate the simplicities of life, and shown me that some things I used to deem important are short-sighted and empty. Marriage and motherhood have given me the greatest gifts, which, in turn, have filled me up and torn me down. As a mom of four, the feeling of motherhood sucking the life out of me is very real some days.

Some people really struggle with understanding why we would want to have 4 kids. The truth is, we only planned for 3, but ended up with 4 – surprise! Our third child was only 5 months old when I found out I was pregnant and she was a very challenging baby. The though of adding one more (so soon!) practically suffocated me. I thought all the same things you think when you see a mom with 4 kids walking by; we’re quite a show most of time, and boy do I know it.  It was a tough pill for me to swallow; I felt the judged all the time. It took a while for me to get over it, but ultimately, I knew I wouldn’t remember what life was like before #4 once he came into the world.

Even so, balancing what I want to accomplish with the needs of my family is challenging. Our busy schedule is ever-changing, so every day, week, and month look a little different than the last.  Adapting to the constant change can get frustrating at times. But I have learned that while change is inevitable, your perspective is a choice. We truly do reap what we sow.

Motherhood has taught me how to reinvent myself in ways that keep me satisfied with being me.

I had taken focus off of myself for so long, only to realize one day that a tinge of emptiness had crept in. Motherhood had chewed me up and spit me out, but it clearly was teaching me that I needed some serious balance in my life.

It is impossible to become a mom and not go through personal changes and struggles throughout the motherhood journey. It doesn’t matter how old her kids are, or how put together she looks, every mom struggles in one way or another.

Motherhood has made my life infinitely fuller. It’s slowly revealing to me what I truly want out of life, and how to get there.

I go back and forth with the urge to go back to teaching. All of my certifications have lapsed, so I would have to go back to school to re-certify. Timing is everything, and if I found myself with an emblazoned pull to pursue this, I would, but it’s just not there right now.

You know what I do wake up and get excited about? My blog. I’ve followed bloggers for several years, and thought it’d be fun, so I gave it a shot. I created Tiny Stampede one day in July, almost 2 years ago, and had no clue what I was doing. At the time, I had an almost 2 year old, an almost 3 year old, 5 year old and 7 year old. Extra time was non-existent.

If there is one thing blogging is, it’s time consuming. But it is a creative outlet that has given me the balance I’ve craved for so long. We moms give 110% all the time. It’s easy to not “do you” because you feel as though it’s not for the good of the group, but then suddenly you feel stuck. It’s a cycle that we can get caught in all-the-freaking time!

I’m working to be the best version of myself every day, so all 4 of my kids can learn how to be their best selves too.

My biggest inspiration is working to raise, successful, humble, smart human beings who are motivated to contribute to society. If I fail at this, I have failed them and myself. I want my kids to see me be strong and stay true to myself. I want them to know when to fight for something, when to let things roll off your back, how to deal with disappointment, and how to recover. I certainly fail at all of this a lot during the week, but part of mommin’ it 24/7 is shaking it off and reminding myself to only use the F-bomb in my head.

I’m working towards my greatest success: raising my children to be good humans, while keeping myself sane and inspired along the way. So far, I think we’re headed down the right path… but I’ll let you know for sure in about 10-15 years.



Leslie Bixenmann
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Leslie Bixenmann is a mom of 4, teacher turned stay-at-home mom turned blogger.  She has a love of her babies, coffee, fashion and quiet time (in that order). You can connect with her at Tiny Stampede.