A Mother of Muses: Instilling Sisterly Love with Kim Watson
Up at 4am, hit the gym, showered, dressed, hair done, lipstick on, breakfast eaten, fully prepped for the day's meetings… all by 7am. And they say supermoms don’t exist. Add three girls to the mix and a thriving Instagram feed, and you’ve got Kim Watson.
If mornings are hectic for Kim, family time seems to be its polar opposite… and a peek at her feed makes that clear. Here, there are no to-do lists. None of the stress you’d imagine in raising three girls ranging in age from one to eleven. Kim has got this under control.
Instead, her photos tell a story of sisterly love told in quiet, borrowed moments where she helps her girls find a home in each other’s hearts forever.
With her littlest now at that climbing age, Kim gives us a glimpse into the reality of raising her brood:
On sibling dreams…
Growing up, my brother and I weren’t as close as I would have liked because of the difference in our gender and the seven years between us. I must have wished a million times for a bigger family. I mean, when I was beginning to experience the trials of tweenage years, my brother was learning to ride a bike! So our experiences were worlds apart. I love my brother to death. But growing up, I always knew that I wanted a big family to make up for that distance between us.
Three to four kids, each two years apart, was my absolute dream. But life didn’t quite get my memo. I had Madelyn when I was 23 years old. Her father and I divorced when she was just two years old and for the next three years, we were a simply a duo.
Years later, I met my current husband, Mel, and became pregnant with Maya. Madelyn and Maya are seven years apart, just like brother and I. But I’m not really one to let go of what I want… So two years later, Mila came along.
On forging strong bonds…
Raising three kids of different ages is pretty challenging, but it’s also so much fun! It makes it a little easier that they’re all girls. So even though there’s a big age difference between Maddy and Maya, they can still find a lot of things in common.
When they’re not busy fighting, they are the sweetest to each other. My husband and I referee what seems like a hundred arguments a day and regardless of how much we try to promote sibling love and respect, there always seems to be a crisis that needs resolving.
I just want my girls to build a bond with one another that’s supportive, loving, caring, and unconditional… a closeness that I didn’t have with my own brother. So Mel and I always try to get the girls to problem solve together by encouraging them to find out each other’s source of anger, rather than provoking it. Sometimes it works and they’re the best of friends, and other times it’s like they’re not even related!
On family dynamics…
Once Mila came into the picture, it was such a different experience. No matter how frustrated Maddy and Maya get with one another, their patience is infinite when it comes to their baby sister. They’re always so gentle and protective of her and it’s such a sweet sight.
I always joke with my husband and say that Mila is like kryptonite. Even her sisters are powerless around her! I was especially surprised to see how Maya took to having a little sister. She has always been Daddy’s little girl and a bit on the overdramatic side, but as soon as her baby sister came along, it was like she knew that she had to step up and become a big girl.
On respecting their individual development…
One of the biggest challenges of raising kids of different ages is trying to understand how each age group is developing emotionally. At the age of 11, Madelyn is at a turning point where she is starting to seek approval outside of our family… from friends and peers. So it’s more important than ever for us to give her positive assurances and focus on her self-confidence. For Maya, at three years old, she’s just beginning a lifelong journey of self-discovery. She’s starting to really voice her opinions and to show us more and more of who she is. With her, it’s all about developing her independence. In Mila’s case, her needs are pretty easily met at this age: Eat, sleep, love, repeat.
On keeping the peace…
Give the kids their own space. Maddy and Maya share a room, but we let them each have a private place they can go to when there’s conflict. Maddy retreats to the guest room and Maya heads to our loft when they’re arguing.
On self-doubt (when you’re only human)…
Sometimes, I find myself wishing I could just get away, wishing I could just pause life and run away for a while and be alone. I love my family to death and there's nothing I wouldn't do for them, but just sometimes I think of another life. I had my first baby when I was 23 and have been in mom/wife mode for the past 11 years.
Motherhood is trying and it interferes with who you are in so many different ways. So many of us are dealing with silent depression and I'm not saying that I am, but I know that I find myself struggling sometimes.
But then, I find myself traveling for work, spending all of my nights alone. I get that occasional glimpse of that "other" life, the life of freedom and no attachment and not being responsible for anyone but myself. And I know that something’s missing.
On staying sane…
Between work and the girls and carving out date nights, life is more than busy and it’s easy to drown in the different roles you have to play. I absolutely need my alone time… some time when I’m not a manager or mother or wife. I make sure to get on my bike regularly and just pedal away. It’s what keeps me sane and lets me reconnect with myself.
Favorite all girl group activity (Sorry, Dad):
Playing beauty parlor. I let the girls play with some old makeup brushes and lip-glosses and they love to give each other makeovers. Oh, and also, lunch dates! We always go somewhere fun and enjoy a nice alfresco lunch on the weekends!
Song she keeps on rewind:
These Are the Days by Van Morrison
Her favorite after-hours indulgence:
My husband and are forever on the hunt for new shows to binge on. Currently we’re neck deep into The OA. Often with some Stella Rosa and a cheese plate.
Best way to unwind:
Long bike rides, alone.
Last thing she does before tucking the girls in:
The girls and l like to lie in the dark and we play a game of naming all Disney characters. It’s a lot of fun and I’m always amazed at how much better they are than me at it!
For a daily dose of sibling love, follow Kim on Instagram @kikhaly.
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