My heart is happiest when one of the following occurs: 1. I see my children sleeping, 2. I hear my children laughing and giggling, or 3. I am with Travis and we have some good quality alone time. And I suppose I could add #4. when one of my family members succeeds at something or progresses in some way. I mention these things that bring me the most happiness, because the people who bring me the most happiness also have the ability to really test me and push my capacity to handle the trials of life more than other things. For the most part. Funny how that works? I suppose it's no coincidence!
I have been thinking a lot lately about being a mom. It is such a heavy responsibility. I know that is probably a bad adjective to use. But I can't help but feel the weight of my role as a mother. And a mother of girls. There are many other words I could use, too, that are much more "sunny" and "cheerful" when it comes to describing motherhood. But somehow...life gets in the way too often. (If that even makes sense?)
When I read the article on Power of Moms (which is a phenomenal site that I visit from time to time- if you don't, you should...) I knew that was exactly what my kids want. They want ME. The honest, imperfect, goofy mom that is ME- despite my flaws (and there are many). Too often I lie down at night feeling like I have failed at being their mom that day. I fall asleep asking my Heavenly Father to give me the strength and insight I need to be a better mom, to be what my girls need me to be. Then I realize how forgiving these sweet girls are. They love me no matter what. I know I have the children I have because they will be the ones to teach me the things I need to learn and grow.
I loved General Conference a couple weeks ago, because there was one talk in particular that I hope to benefit from as a mom and learn to be better. I was talking with someone recently about how hard I thought it was; being a parent. How hard kids are, in general. And this person's opinion was that how your children act or are isn't an indication of how good of a parent you are necessarily (although I do think a child's behavior is linked to how they are parented, at least in part)...she said that they come to us how they come to us. Spirits with their own personalities and level of difficulty, with their own "issues". And this was her opinion because she knows some phenomenal moms with really difficult children or who face trying circumstances relating to their kids.
As for each of us having unique dispositions, I do know that is true. We each have our own personalities. So I suppose that does play a role. But it dawned on me. We are NOT given more than we can handle. My girls came to me with personalities suited for my capabilities and limits as a mom. Perhaps "limits" isn't the right word. I just mean that I won't face more than I can handle as their mom. And I will face the things I am supposed to so that I can learn the things I need to in this particular role as a mom. There are days (many of them) that I feel like my kids are so. darn. HARD. (for me). Then I get around other people and their children and all of a sudden I am extremely grateful for my own kids and our challenges. Instead of thinking "My kids are gonna be the death of me!" I can stop and be grateful and realize they aren't, in fact, so difficult. Compared to most, I am able to see that my kids are pretty easy. And I think most moms feel this way. They have days like I do when they are at their wits end with their own children...but when it comes down to it and they can see and experience other children, they would pick their own kids, their personalities, and struggles or situations. As I said, I realize often my kids are pretty "easy"...in fact, this same person who felt kids come to us as they are and will be- raised 7 wonderful children and I said to her, "I don't know how you did it I don't think I could ever handle 5...or 7. (NO we aren't going to have 5 anyway). And she said something like, "Five like yours would be easy!") And I thought sure, it would be easy for someone with different limits and capabilities than my own.
This motherhood thing is on my mind all the time. It is easy to get distracted. It is easy to feel overwhelmed. Especially because that mom who lives down the street seems to have it together and does it all with ease. I said "seems" because let's be honest...no one and I mean no. one. has it all together and can do it all. Even those seem-to-be "supermoms" out there (we all know at least one of those, right?). No one is perfect. Just because it seems a certain way doesn't mean that is how it really is. As I type, lyrics from a song from an old Strawberry Shortcake episode/movie (?) come to mind, "Sometimes things aren't what they seem to be." And that is what I have to tell myself. If this "supermom" always has her kids hair done to perfection, their outfits clean and perfectly coordinated and is involved in the community and her kids are in three activities each AND she runs 10 miles a day...well, let's just say something else, somewhere is lacking. AND THAT'S OKAY. We all have areas where we excel and areas that can use some work. That is just how this mortal existence is. We are here to learn, grow, develop talents and skills, and be tried so we CAN learn and grow.
Some moms have the time management thing down to perfection. Some just have the "perfect" balance in certain areas that I can't seem to figure out. Sometimes I am a total drill sergeant with my kids, other times I hover too much (helicopter parent, anyone?), and sometimes I care too much if my kids' friends see me as a "fun" mom...but none of this matters!! If anyone was perfect in all aspects then what is the point?! I am so grateful that I have realized this and I have that perspective. We should each be trying. Everyday we can try. Try harder, try to be better, try to improve where it is needed. Seek to reach the "right" balance for ourselves. Some days will be better than others. Sometimes we will just plain fail. It's okay to have those days...as long as we don't let those days chew us up and swallow us into depths of despair and as long as we don't give up. Our kids don't expect perfection. They just want us.
I am glad I can accept myself and even say that most days, I know I am trying and that is what counts. Flaws and all. If someone else doesn't like me that doesn't matter. My kids like me. I like me. Those are the things that matter. As I type -they are outside doing the following:
They have been asking to paint for months and I finally figured, "What the heck? Let them paint...but let them do it outside." :) And then Izzy said what she always does when I let her do something she wants to do or something fun...she says, "You're the best mom ever!" And if she thinks that is true, that is good enough for me.
While the older girls paint, here is Lucy...wishing she could be out there doing what they are doing. This girl loves all things that are related to her big sisters. No one can make her laugh like the girls can. And she makes a bee-line for their bedroom if we are upstairs.
I have such a bad memory and there are so many thoughts that run through my head on this topic of being a mom. I will never get out all that I feel and think. I wish I were better at writing. But I am not a writer...I am not witty or entertaining but I don't blog to be those things. My blogging has always been more about journaling a few parts of our family life. There are many things I leave out because I have forgotten or not photographed them. And I want to be better. I want to keep this record for my girls. I want them to know I love being their mom and I know it is my most important job, right now especially. And I know that where I am right now, it is where I should be and I know that I am enough for my girls. I am enough. But I will keep trying to be better, too.