But I have a confession… I can’t remember who talked about what! All I know is that I heard what seems like several talks about how the most important things that I can do will happen within the walls of my own home. I THINK it was Elder Perry who talked about his mother’s strong influence and watchfulness over everything his family learned. At church, at school, everything.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been struggling with homeschooling lately. I’ve been doubting my ability to do it. Not that I’m not smart enough or patient enough. But that I’m not consistent or disciplined or organized enough. I worry that my being pregnant and kind of laid back on this year means that my children will not be learning things that they should be and that they will never be able to catch up. I worry that this one year of morning sickness, my short attention span and a few more months of figuring out how to be a family of six will be like compound interest in a savings account. That I’ll never be able to catch up. Sometimes I feel like my kids haven’t learned anything this year.
Elder Perry comforted me. It’s not like compound interest. Lucy is now starting in on division (having mastered simple multiplication) and is reading books in her head for fun. I know she is because it takes her a long time to finish a chapter and she asks me about words she doesn’t understand or can’t sound out. Emma can read. EMMA, you know, the free spirit. The child who can’t concentrate long enough to look into my eyes for more than five seconds. SHE CAN READ! Who cares if they didn’t learn about the history of the environmental movement or the life story of whatever political figure the liberal schools in the area feel are important. They can read and they can do math. They love each other and soak up everything they can about animals. They can jump rope, ride bikes, mostly clean up after themselves and have better manners then most adults that I know. I’m pretty sure we’ll make up what I missed this year later on.
And Sister Beck’s words reminded me that, pregnant or not, it’s only when I spend too much time on myself and spend too much time away from my family that I get angry and impatient with my kids. I thought of this again the other day when I went to an orientation for new Air Force Spouses. I really enjoyed myself and learned a lot about the way things work. I dropped the kids off at the babysitter at 8 am and spent the next 4 1/2 hours with other women, had a free lunch at the chow hall, got to meet the Wing Commander and was presented my very own coin (it’s a military thing, Matt has 3 or 4). What happened when I picked my kids up after this relaxing and enjoyable day? I lost my temper, yelled at them and sent them upstairs for quiet time. You’d think that after a day of “me time” I would feel refreshed and ready to face everything. But in fact, the opposite happened. I came home and felt guilty for not having school two days in a row, I was tired and felt bad because I had spent my energy filled hours doing something without them. And I took my guilt and frustration out on them. It wasn’t until later on, after they went to bed that I realized what had happened. Sister Beck is right. We women have the most important jobs in the world and we can’t afford to get distracted with things like manicures, spa days and shopping. There is too much to do. Now don’t get me wrong, I know they are right when they say that you can’t draw water from an empty well. We have to make time to explore our own righteous desires and interests. But put first things first!
For me, I think the easiest way to do that is apply the same rules to myself that we apply to our kids. You know, the “you can’t play until your homework is done” rule. I’m not going to be nuts about it. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done and at least half the things on my “to do” list wouldn’t make a bit of difference in our lives. I figure if we have had a quality school day, two square meals (we snack a lot), and house that is at least clean enough not to be mortified if someone stops by then I don’t need to feel guilty or frustrated if I relax and read or watch a mindless show when my kids are playing outside or napping. But if I fill up on junk, there will be no room for the good stuff. And I get sick… and fat… I think I’ve taken my metaphor too far.
And I have another confession. I can’t remember who said it, but someone said that with the help of the media, Satan makes women think that their only worth lies in seduction. I’ve been guilty of this lately. Not that I take pride in being a temptress of the night or anything like that, but this pregnancy has taken it’s toll on my self-esteem. I started 25 pounds heavier than I started ever before. I was 120 lbs when I got pregnant with Emma and 130 when I got pregnant with Spencer (though I was a smaller pants size). My hopes of eating so well that I would only gain baby weight this time went down in flames when the only thing I could keep down my first trimester was heavy greasy BAD foods. It’s only gone downhill from there. I know I’m only 9 weeks from kicking this boy out, but I could very likely tip the scales at 200 before that happens. And I don’t loose weight like normal nursing women. It doesn’t “melt off” and I rarely end up loosing more than 5 lbs when the baby is out… as crazy and illogical as that sounds. I retain water (I look swollen for days) and my boobs get so huge that any poundage that I may have lost is easily gained in them. I’m embarrassed for anyone who has seen me skinny to see me now. And that includes my sweet mother-in-law who will again be coming to my rescue when he is born. To top it all off I have ugly hair. Needless to say, I’ve been a little bit of a basket case, especially when I see myself in the mirror or look at my skinny clothes. Matt has been taking the brunt of it. He keeps telling me that I’m still beautiful but even if I weren’t he’d love me because that isn’t the only part of me. I found it hard to believe him, especially now that my back and backside have become a single entity. Who ever gave this talk today reminded me that I am of infinite worth and I have a lot to offer, not only to my husband and children, but to all who know me. And that won’t change no matter what I weigh… Though I still plan on fitting into my skinny clothes within three years. I’m sure Matt will be a little annoyed that I needed an outside source to tell me that instead of believing him when he says it. But oh well.
And I loved it when Elder Holland said “And you shouldn’t be serving tea, anyway!”