I woke up this morning and, like so many mornings, my shower was interrupted by a little voice asking when I was coming downstairs. I couldn’t help but smile. Today is Mother’s Day. I knew that I wouldn’t have breakfast in bed, would have to make my own dinner, and (as always) instigate the tidying of the house. Today it doesn’t bother me. Today is Mother’s Day. Today, while everyone celebrates their mothers I am also going to celebrate my children. I have five beautiful, healthy, and energetic blessings from God (six if you include my husband… which I do).
I came downstairs to see that the little voice that interrupted my shower had prepared a surprise for me. She taped up a “Happy Mother’s Day” sign on the coat closet door and handed me a present decorated with a Thanksgiving Day turkey. My girls have been aching to give me their presents for weeks. The girls made me a lemon sugar scrub at one of their mid-week church activities. Over the last two weeks Emma has painstakingly collected sweet smelling flower petals and grass from our yard and put them in a box for me.
Matt wrote me a poem. It was beautiful and almost made me smear my mascara before church (it would have if I hadn’t braced myself).
The boys worked together for their present as well ;) During church their arguments revolved around who got to sit next to me. Spencer gave me hugs and Jack slobbered wet kisses on my cheek. Henry even went the extra mile to sleep for four consecutive hours last night.
Today is Mother’s Day and I love being a mom.
I thought that I would also re-write one of my all time favorite blog posts that is very close to my heart. Those of you who have been reading me for years will recognize it. Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you take this time to enjoy those blessings that allow you to be a mother!
Having it All and Fulfilling Your Dreams
Once upon a time, I was a perfect mom. It’s true. And it was actually quite easy. But evidently hypothetical children are different from actual children. So it all came to a screeching halt when my first child was born.
Elder Bradley D Foster said in the April 2010 General Conference “By divine design, nurturing seems to be part of the spiritual heritage given to women. I’ve seen it in my daughters, and now I see it in my granddaughters – even before they could walk, they wanted to carry and care for their little baby dolls.”
I see it in my daughters too. I also see it to a certain extent in my sons, but the treatment they give to their toys could never be confused with the tenderness that my girls give to their baby dolls.
I was one of those girls as well. One dream I have had since childhood was that of being a wife and mother; but there were so many things that I wanted to do that I knew I couldn’t do as a mother, especially a mother of small children.
Not too long ago, I went through sort of an early mid-life crisis. One of the many, many dreams I had as a little girl was to sing on Broadway. Since my parents didn’t support that choice I settled for a path that would more easily allow me to fulfill my roll as a mother in the long run.
After my third child was born, I found myself looking back at my life with regret. Not with the things that I done, but with those things that I hadn’t. I was plagued with “what if’s” and “if only’s”. I felt like I had been cheated out of my lifelong dreams and I was always looking for a way to redeem it. I even tried out for American Idol. I had the opportunity to participate in my first play. I had a big part and took my nursing son to six grueling weeks of rehearsals. I was so excited and I knew that even though I might never be on Broadway, I could still be a small town star. I had a lot of fun and my childhood dreams of singing again fought its way to the forefront of my mind. Predictably, it was far too difficult on my family. I resolved not to do another play until our children were grown. With sadness I put that dream back up on a high shelf to collect dust, knowing full well that I might never pick it up again.
I tried to “find myself” in other ways but as with anything in life, the more time you dedicate to something, the less you have for other, and in my case, more important things.
After years of searching I was still unhappy and regretful. One day, as I was wallowing in self-pity, the Lord told me in no uncertain terms that the reason I was unsatisfied with my life wasn’t because I had dreams that I couldn’t fulfill, but because I wasn’t realizing and taking advantage of the countless and incredible benefits that motherhood has to offer. Since then my outlook has completely changed. In short, I am one of the most selfish and lazy people that I know and it took an intervention from the Lord to show me that my priorities were way out of order and that was why I was dissatisfied.
Sister Beck said in the 2010 BYU Women’s Conference, “Women are like a lioness at the gate of a home… Nothing important happens in the home unless the lioness cares about it and makes it a priority… When our priorities are out of order, we loose our power.”
That is exactly what happened! After a massive priority shift I have realized that the releasing of my dreams has been a very freeing and powerful experience. And in doing so, I have discovered that I haven’t let them go after all and I certainly hadn’t settled.
I grew up hearing about how “women can have it all”, only to hear as an adult that those who tried found it was impossible. I guess now the new saying is that you can have it all, you just can’t have it all at the same time. I must strongly disagree. Women can have it all, and at the same time. I certainly do. But it is because I am a mother, not in spite of it.
I wasted years of my life thinking that I needed others to validate me in order to be successful. Once I woke up, I realized that what I care most about is that my husband and children know that they are the most important things to me. Not money, not a standing ovation, and not even a pat on the back.
In April of 2010, Sister Julie B. Beck said, “A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. Life is not calm for most women, and each day seems to require the accomplishment of a million things, most of which are important. A good woman must constantly resist alluring and deceptive messages from many sources telling her that she is entitled to more time away from her responsibilities and that she deserves a life of greater ease and independence. But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently.”
Every time I read a book to my children, I am an actress. Every time I sing them to sleep, I’m a singer. When I blast music while we clean the house, we are all dancers! I’m an artist every time I get out the paints and crayons. I’m the world’s greatest doctor, who can heal anything with a kiss and a hug. I’m a therapist when they come to me in tears. I’m an accountant every time I balance the checkbook. I’m a chef when I’m in the kitchen. I’m a maid, manager, technician and computer geek. Electrician, nutritionist, horticulturist, photographer, movie screener and critic. I’m a builder, economist, a politician, a professional complement giver, the “it’s not fair” police and a drill sergeant
Within my little family I have fulfilled every dream I have ever had and more! And since I have added homeschooling to my list, I’m finding a whole new set of dreams that I am so excited to follow with my kids. I get to be a scientist, a mathematician, theologian, botanist, zoologist, literacy specialist and historian. I get to read great literature with them and be a scholar. Right now I’m a writer. I can do anything my heart desires because I am a mother!
Elder Maxwell said “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling that what happened in congresses?… You rock a sobbing child without wondering if today’s world is passing you by, because you know you hold tomorrow tightly in your arms.”
I don’t get paid with money. The currency in my home is much more valuable. They pay me with smiles and hugs. Kisses and “I love you’s”. Last week my five-year-old told me that I was the best mother that any kid could ever have. I know that’s not true, but the fact that he felt it means the world to me. Nothing is worth trading that. I am a mother. The woman who has it all!