Thursday, July 10, 2008

Of Matters Greater Than Throw Pillows

high-strung
stressed
tightly wound
short-fused
moody
...Is how I would describe myself lately. Mostly due to the fact that I am a perfectionist to a level that is totally unhealthy and honestly a bit frightening. What's really ridiculous is that I want Blaine's behavior to be perfect (hello, unrealistic expectations!) and get so hot and bothered when he acts his age! Also I want a perfectly clean house and an organized garage and a manicured yard and perfectly polished toenails and I don't like it when Blaine's shirt is covered in stains and I didn't take pictures of Rog when he had baby acne and I want my mantel and dining table to be decorated darlingly for every holiday and did Blaine really just dump out all his puzzles again? And I want to sew a new tablecloth and experiment with my new Italian creme cupcake recipe and when am I supposed to have time for all the these things I want to do when I'm constantly changing or feeding a babe or toddler??
And then I am all in a tizzy when I bring home my new throw pillows and I decide I don't love them (do they match the palette for that room? can I find more preferable ones?) and Taylor just shakes his head and says with a grin, "I'm glad the hardest thing in your life right now is throw pillows, dear."

And I know he's right. And I'm cognisant of the ridulocity (clearly not a real word) of my behavior and mind-set, but still have to fight it so consciously. I have to seriously pray for help to calm the heck down.

And then your friends' mother dies of cancer way too young. And suddenly your are shaken back to a proper perspective. And you realize you've got this all wrong. Do you want your kids to look back and say, "Our kitchen floor was always clean," or "Mom sure did fun things with us."?? And since when is mothering about all the things I want to do? And what about serving other people? Anne, you've got it all backwards and you're not enjoying your boys like you should. Your life is essentially perfect (ironic, huh?) and you are unhappy because your perspective is totally messed up.

She was an amazing woman. She was one of the most fun mothers around. With an infectious laugh. Always serving others. Reveled in raising her six children. And I sat at her funeral and remembered: that's ALL that matters.
I want to be like her.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful woman. I never knew her but I have heard the most wonderful things about her.

Amy Jean said...

wow. I seriously needed this. You are not alone in having those thoughts. I guess I will stop caring about the pictures not framed, and the wet laundry left in the washer. My life is pretty perfect right now too. Thanks Anne!

EMILY said...

My mom was out a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about how we (mothers) just can't do it all, even though we might want to. Something has to suffer. For me it is the house. I just have not been motivated to keep it picked up! Laundry is always piled up, the bed it never made and toys are strewn about the whole house! It is tricky to find that balance between expectations and reality. But, Anne, I know you can do it!

The Ramptons said...

Oh, Anne, that was a cryer! One of the many things I love about you is your ability to look inward and try to be who you want to be. I love it. change is great, we all need to try it more often. It is hard to be a fun mom, but so worth it too. I love ya, and PS is Rog THE cutest thing I have ever seen?! What a chub a lub! I can't wait to sqeeze him.

liz said...

This made me cry too. I've had several conversations about perfectionism lately -- just spent a week with Matt's whole family, and perfectionism is rampant with them. The problem, as you discovered in this post, is it doesn't make you happy! #1 good quality for a mother -- being happy. Even if you're cleaning or something and not playing with your kids all day, they will have a good day if you are happy. (I'm telling myself that today too.)

lori said...

Bless this beautiful post. Thanks for the profound words. Thanks for the pictures (we've been dying!).

Love and miss you so much!
Think of you often!

Sara said...

Thank you for this post. I lurk on your blog sometimes and you help me keep my life in perspective. So thank you for your act of service today.
dshodges.blogspot.com

jeanine said...

This post made me teary eyed... it was just what I needed. All too often I have unrealistic expectations for William (3yrs) too. Then I remember: he's only THREE! Thank you!

ps. all the pics of your boys are SO precious!

Barb @ getupandplay said...

What a touching post. It's a good reminder to me, too, to slow down and appreciate the blessings that I have. Thanks for that.

The Innkeeper said...

Loved this post. My friend gave me a book for my birthday called Mitten Strings for God - I am still in the process of reading it, but I think you would love it. One of the first chapters is entitled dailiness and it helped me to remember to enjoy life every day no matter what it brings.

I wish we could have stayed for the funeral, your mom said that it was really nice. One of the things that I remember about Sister Johnson was that she was a happy person and always smiling - I want to be more like that. Generally, I feel pretty happy, but I'm going to try and smile more!

Love you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, I sit alone in a hotel room tonight on a work trip and randomly search the internet for words of comfort. I do not know why I came to your blog but I did. I am grateful for your thoughts about my Mom, it means the world to me, she will be missed.

Love,
-H

Joan Koplin said...

I just read this post to Brandon and he said, "good for her...so, what do you think about that?" I responded, "I just totally relate in every way."
Anne, this is the problem that MOST Mothers (especially LDS Mothers) struggle with on a regular basis.
I am impressed with your honest introspection (as painful as it may sometimes be) and your ability to be entirely self-aware.
Thank you for your perspective and raw honestly. I love you.
ps--can you pretty please send me your home address? I need to send Tay's b-day care...thanks :)
Oh, I hate to be obnoxious and include a "pss" but can I chew on your fat baby Rog?

Sugar... said...

I think Joan is so right. Most mothers do this, but we all think that no one else does, so we beat ourselves up. I was just realizing tonight that the first thing I usually say to Jeff at the end of the day is, "I'm tired", not, "We had so much fun today", or "The kids were hilarious today!" It's so hard to keep perspective and not expect our children to know everything we know. I know exactly what you mean about wanting your 4 year old (in my case) to just be mature and stop whining, and fill her own sippy cup, and act our age. My mother-in-law is just like this wonderful woman you describe. I look back at all their home videos and she was always having fun with her kids and her house was always messy. And you know what...I asked Jeff's 24 year old brother what kind of girl he is looking for and he says, "Someone like my mom." Isn't that the best compliment a mom could get? That's who I want to be like too. You are an awesome woman and mom, and I think without a little perfection in this world we'd be a mess, so congratulations on your perfectionism as well. We are all learning and to be honest I think the toddler years are probably some of the hardest because you don't have a lot of time for yourself, especially when you need it so badly.
Sorry for such a long comment, but I haven't commented for so long, so I was due!

Megan said...

I struggle with the same things everyday! You just happened to put all those thoughts into words for me :) I'm also a perfectionist and need perspective checks every now and then. I love how Taylor said that throw pillows are your biggest woes right now :)

Sally said...

Anne, I've never seen you with your boys, but I'm sure you are a much better mother than you give yourself credit for. Afterall, you are a Hall, and well lets face it, you guys ooz perfection...
Wouldn't it be great if we could all just see ourselves as other people see us.

TaylorCrew said...

Anne - I came across your blog when I was checking up on the Gourleys and I just love your posts. I seriously wish I had made more of an effort to stop doing laundry etc. and had you over for lunch or something friendly - a good lesson for me! I hope you are loving life in OR!
Catherine Taylor

Laurie said...

Sinec I have become a mother my once "organized" life is gone. I still struggle for organization and perfection. Motherhood is not easy. I really appreciate your insights as I look around at all that I should/need to accomplish, but instead Tori and I are going to practice writing her numbers. I miss you

Mrs. Cropper said...

Dear Anne, I finally caught up on your blog this morning (thanks for leaving it open on my computer). Here's what I love about you--course corrections. You'll never grow out of needing them, so you may as well get good at them, and you are. It's all about balance and perspective and then making the slight shift. You CAN have it all, in fact you DO have it all, you just have to keep re-defining what "ALL" is. I love watching you do just that.

MLFong said...

Thank you for the reminder, and the perspective. I appreciate you sharing profound thoughts about simple life. Always a pleasure to read what you write.

Vicky said...

I needed this. Thanks. Being a mom of 2 hasn't been what I expected it to be. It's hard to meet expectations after being up all night and changing diapers all day and washing 30 loads of peed-on baby clothes every week. (Slight exaggerations, but essentially the truth.) Anyway, I appreciate your perspective. And your pictures are wonderful. I'm glad it's not just my toddler that sits in his brother's bouncy chair. What's the weight limit on those things, anyway?