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Peace amid chaos

From the Trenches

Motherhood comes with loads of laughs, love and laundry

Just like every one of your children is unique, motherhood has a unique meaning to all the women lucky enough and brave enough to give it try. Whether you’re a mom through childbirth, adoption or marriage, it’s all motherhood. As you prepare to enjoy Mother’s Day, and hopefully take a well-deserved break, we hope these stories from bay area moms inspire you and make you smile.

I always knew I wanted to be a mother but never imagined I’d have five kids. I’m the workaholic career woman on the fast track. I fell into motherhood quite naturally, though, and in a variety of ways. I married a man who had two children. So I became a stepmom to two wonderful girls. I gave birth to two more girls and recently became a second mom for a relative of my husband’s from Cuba. We have had five kids in the house at one time, toddlers and teenagers. There have been $200 weekly trips to the grocery store, endless papers to sign for school, more nights at the softball park than I can count, broken arms and fractured friendships. Through it all, I’ve had to be the calm eye in a rapidly turning storm.

It’s exhausting and satisfying and I wouldn’t have my life any other way. But what I have found in the years I’ve spent mothering is that organization is key for me.

Peace in the chaos of the morning starts by preparing the night before. I lay out all of my kid’s clothes, sign their planners and make their lunches before I go to bed. I’d be late every day if I didn’t.

I work out in the morning. Sometimes I have to get up at 4:45 a.m. just so I can jump on a treadmill in my garage and get in a 30-minute workout. Exercise will start your day off the right way. You get your blood moving, your muscles stretching and those happy chemicals in your brain dancing.

Teach your kids to be helpers. My kids make their beds in the morning and keep their rooms clean, most of the time, so those are rooms I don’t have to clean. They also are expected to help with dishes and laundry.

Ask for help if you need it because it takes a village to raise a child. I have my mother-in-law on speed dial, recently hired a tutor for one of my kids and my husband contributes a lot.

Find a hobby and lose yourself in it. I joined a fiction writer’s group and love the time I spend with a group of women who share my love for the written word. It’s something I do only for me. Don’t feel guilty about doing something you love outside the family.

As my husband always says: Happy wife means happy life.

Linda Hurtado is the 5 p.m. anchor and medical reporter for ABC Action News. An 11-time Emmy award winning reporter, she met her husband while on assignment in Cuba. When not interviewing local newsmakers, you’ll find her at one of her kid’s sporting events.

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