|Brooklyn taking a nap with her blanket on her grandma.|
|Brooklyn taking a nap with her blanket on her grandma.|
|3 out of 5 smiling is pretty darn good. =)|
When I was about 21 years old I was aching to get married and have a family. I was about to graduate from college with no marriage prospects, and I felt like my chance to find someone was gone. I was really sad that I had not found someone to live my life with and even more sad that I wouldn’t have children anytime soon.
Skip ahead ten years, and I am happily married with three daughters. It really does feel surreal sometimes because I spent so much time thinking that it might not happen. Today I see that I am truly blessed, and I need to have more gratitude for what has happened and not dwell on what has not happened.
I walked Maurie up the stairs to tuck her into bed for the second time tonight. As she held my hand, she said, “I lub you.” I expressed my love in return and repeated most of the bedtime routine I had done ten minutes earlier. Normally, I would be a little irritated and impatient about having to tuck her in again, but tonight I just enjoyed a little more time to spend with my daughter. She is sweet and loving and with a little encouragement and more love, she is now sleeping soundly in her bed. Most of the time the answer to my problems is not to have less responsibility, but to have more love and patience. I wish I felt this calm and peaceful all the time. It is too easy to get distracted and miss special moments that I won’t get back.
My husband and children really are my dreams come true. I get overwhelmed with all that I need to do and keep up with, but at the end of the day I just need to ask myself, “Did the people I care about the most feel loved?” If I can answer yes, I need to count the day a victory despite the other things that may have gone undone.
I honor motherhood and all the mothers before me by doing a little better today than I did yesterday.
Here is a poem that I wrote about four years ago and it still applies.
I went to a job interview on Monday. I was very excited about the type of work I would be doing (interior design), but after the interview I realized a few things. 1) No grass is as green on the other side as we think. The manager explained an understaffed, overworked workplace, and weekends were required for everyone. 2) Being a stay-at-home mom is truly a job even from a financial standpoint. The salaried pay from the job I sought would cover the cost of childcare for my children and leave me with a mediocre paycheck. For us, I save my family money, time and stress by staying home. This reminded me that I contribute to our overall family goals. 3) I have problems as a stay-at-home mom, and I pretty sure I don’t want another set of problems at work. 4) My attempt to find balance through getting a job is not working, so I need to find different ways. 5) There are some perks of being a stay-at-home mom that I had not appreciated until they were being threatened. Specifically, I control my day and I didn’t realize how much I love that flexibility. Even with morning and afternoon naps that keep me homebound most of the time, I still schedule the rest of my day anyway that I want.
So, as I drove away from the interview, with a second interview scheduled, I re-committed to embracing motherhood during this season. My youngest turned one this month and this first year of her life has flown by. I do not want to look back and wish I had been more involved during my children’s lives.
The day of my interview I was pre-occupied with preparing and getting things done, and in the midst of this, Brooklyn fell and hit her eye on the handle of mini baby stroller. I hurried to her side, soothed her pain and calmed her. As I held her I heard the question in my mind, “Who would do this if you were not here?” I didn’t even need to answer that question; I knew immediately that I wanted to be the one who held her close and made her feel safe and happy. Now, I do not always do a great job of being a mom, but I would rather be present than perfect. (Note: This is my personal experience and does not reflect on anyone else’s choices.)
Although I have decided that a traditional job is not what I want or need right now, I still want to find ways to pursue my goals in a way that fits my family’s lifestyle. Mostly, I want to find contentment, and true joy in being a mother, every. single. day. This is not something that comes naturally to me, but I know that I can do it.
Here are my questions for you. Please share your insights so we can learn together.
Here are the ideas that I have brainstormed for myself to embrace motherhood more.
1. Have at least one meaningful and/or fun activity, outing, chore or learning experience each day and also having a back-up plan that I can work with. I actually keep a list of things that are available to do on any given day at our house; this helps me when I can’t think of anything to do with them. Summer is going to be glorious because the outdoors opens a whole new arena for activities.
2. See motherhood a little more like a professional job. I am committing to waking up each day to do a “morning miracle” routine before my little ones wake up. I need the encouragement, endorphins and direction that this routine can offer. What I do each day is by no means glamorous, but I want to show up for my kids and I can’t do that well when I am sluggish and depressed when I start my day.
3. Stay connected to others. I always feel better when I connect with friends and family throughout my week. Having really small people for my constant company has the perks of snuggles and kisses, but adult conversation is non-existent.
4. I have written down one goal I have for each of my children. I can’t do it all, but I can do one thing at a time. I made these goals about two months ago and I have actually seen progress. I don’t feel overwhelmed by…one of them. =)
5. Family home evenings, family prayer and family scripture study.
I love you moms! I hope you feel good about you. I’m so thankful for the many examples of mothers who embrace parenting everyday. I am inspired to be better when I see you. Here’s to making wonderful memories with our families and reaching our dreams on our own terms.
PS. Basement progress: Paint is still unopened and painting supplies are sitting in the same spot. 😂
Yesterday, I was reminded of some really important truths, and after I internalized them once again, I thought of my three daughters and the world they live in. Are you a parent? Do you ever get worried about your children? Are you surprised about what they encounter younger and younger? I want to help my children to have the tools that will be a guide for them as they navigate this complicated world we live in.
I know that my children are not old enough to fully understand my words right now, but I know they will eventually need these truths because I need them right now. I hope this letter will remind you of some liberating and hopeful truths you know and inspire you to think about what you want to share with your own children. You know just what your children need; they were sent to you for a reason. I know that you also want your children to be healthy and happy! We can do it, even in this chaotic and loud world.
There is nothing that can diminish your worth. You have value because you were born and you take space in this world. Never, ever forget that you can lose everything and still be of worth. A boy you like, your friends, your husband, your children, your job, your education, money, fame–no person or thing defines your worth. The sooner you internalize this truth, the more resilient you will be and the more confidence you will have to change the world in your unique way.
I am THE worst about enjoying the moment. One Christmas when I was probably in middle school, my dad gave each child advice as a gift. He advised me to stop and smell the roses. The shoe fit even then! I am always planning the next big goal or waiting for the next event and it robs me of enjoying my life far too often. Right now is beautiful; I am sitting on my warm bed next to your dad that I love and writing to you, my beautiful sleeping angels. Be grateful for what you have while still progressing. Chasing your dreams is wonderful, but not at the expense of laughing or soaking in life’s goodness. The ever illusive perfect situation is just that…an illusion. “Men are that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25)
Joy is our purpose, but it is not a constant; hard times will come. Look for the good in life, but be aware that bad things can happen to good people. Don’t let this truth surprise you; you will become more compassionate and capable as you overcome your challenges and weaknesses. The trials will hurt, but you are never alone in the battle if you don’t want to be.
Listen to the voice inside you that prompts you to do good and be good. Listen to your family because they love you. Listen more than you talk and you will learn. When you hear a lie, name it and throw it away from you.
You will not be able to please everyone and that is okay. But, you can offer others the kindness and mercy that you hope to receive. Remember, if you have worth, so does everyone you come in contact with…even the ones you don’t particularly like or agree with. The best way to find ways to be kind and serve is to stop thinking about yourself for a few minutes. You will be surprised at what you will see when you do.
When you do good, there are rewards…maybe not always immediate, but there are promised blessings. Let this be a comfort to you and make choices that will result in positive consequences.
This goes for relationships, possessions and accomplishments. Don’t be lazy and use your time wisely. I don’t want to look back and see years worth of time wasted. There is a lot of “stuff” to fill your time, but you will likely know what things are most important.
Create beauty wherever you go. You have a mind capable of problem-solving and enhancing the world in small or large ways.
Hold tight to and stand up for your beliefs; if you do this, you will be a leader because you will not change with every fleeting trend.
Change fosters growth so try to embrace your gender. The seasons of your life will take adjustment, but each stage can be great. This needs little explanation. You will simply understand as you grow into a woman.
You cannot go wrong when you are motivated by real love.
1 Corinthians 13:
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,