Monday, May 21, 2012

Asking the hard questions

{Mother's Day 2012}

Good morning!

I have so much I'd love to tell you about the weekend, particularly the success of the Pirate Birthday Party, with lots of great photos to tell the story.  Hopefully tomorrow.  Today I am busy attempting to answer the difficult questions...

How do I overcome the guilt of not being the Stephanie Nielson--all I ever wanted was to be a mother--type of woman?

How do I bury the temper and impatience that motherhood birthed?

How do I find more satisfaction in the process and journey?

How do I learn to measure my goodness and accomplishment qualitatively rather than quantitatively (i.e. counting it a good day if I was present with my children, regardless of how many things I checked off my list)?

I know I can't solve all of this in one day, but it's weighing too heavily on my mind to write much else.  Until tomorrow,



sarita said...

Hi Anne! I think this is my first comment on your blog---I have looked up to you since finding Bloom years ago and now this blog is one of the few that I follow without knowing you personally (though we would totally be friends if we didn't live on opposites coasts, I'm certain!).

I loved your thought-provoking questions and have asked myself those same questions often as I struggle with them, too. I will touch on just two of them.

Burying the temper and impatience that motherhood birthed (love that description, btw--spot on!) is so so hard because motherhood is so so intense. I have found that when I try (really try) to step back, even for a couple of seconds, and think before I react, I almost always respond more calmly. Very hard to do but slowly with practice I am getting better.

As far as finding more joy in the journey, I remind myself often of Elder Ballard's talk to mothers and how he tells us that the joy of motherhood comes in moments--it's not all supposed to be just roses. And it certainly isn't easy. And I find that stepping back before reacting helps me see these moments more often.

You are pregnant with your 4th child--I personally think that the only thing on your to-do list should be to take a nap :)

Rachael said...

Anne, in regards to your first question (and I wish I had more typing time but there is a baby waking up!) but I've often felt the same (re not wanting to be a mother from my earliest recollection). And without totally bashing on those who do, I feel like my choices to go to college/grad school/have bits of a career have made me more like the well-rounded woman that I would like my children to become.

On a completely different note, I actually wrote an essay about this not so long ago for a yet-to-be-published collection (on the topic of finding joy in mothering). Shoot me an email if you're interested and I'll send it to you.

Trina said...

For me, it's all gotten easier over time. I think the constant burdens have eased as my kids transition from helpless to helpful and from little children to companions. I still struggle with temper and impatience (ask my kids about yesterday after church)and guilt and quality time and productivity, but I know it feels less overwhelming than it did when my oldest kids were younger.

You're truly doing a fabulous job. Hang in there Anne!

Melissa said...

Hi Anne. I haven't commented a lot, but have been following since BLOOM. I never know how I would feel about someone I don't know waxing philosophical on my blog, so I worry about intruding. I have a couple of thoughts if they help. If not, I will not be offended. :)

#1 Stop any kind of comparing; it's the surest and fastest path to disappointment and discouragement. We are not like so-and-so because we are uniquely who we are with our own path and learning. I am not like Stephanie, but I am doing what makes me feel like the best mom I can be. Our best is enough. I'm sure Stephanie would have some great things to say about your parenting and be able to point out some things that you are really good at that she wishes she could do better.
#2 You can't bury any of your habits, but you can work on improving things you want to improve. Babies bring out so many emotions in us, and we are often sleep deprived and running on half a tank when we're asked to deal with multiple challenges at one time. Try to take care of yourself (emotionally, spiritually), ask for help from our Father in Heaven, and take deep breaths. This really busy time won't last forever; you'll eventually have more sleep and patience.
#3 We hear people say they learn so much from their kids and it sounds cliche. I find pleasure and satisfaction in the journey because I recognize growth in myself. Everytime I have a "bad mommy moment,", apologize and reflect, I improve. Through reflection, I've learned that if I have a plan I react more peacefully. I've learned that if I am upset with something somewhere in my life, I have to really concentrate on not taking that out on my kids. I guess what I'm saying is that satisfaction comes for me in knowing that I am making personal changes and growth that nothing but being a mom could have taught me. And while doing this, I'm providing a safe and loving environment for my kids.

I tried to keep this really brief and could talk more, but I hope it helps a little. You are amazing and doing amazing things. You aren't perfect yet, but who is?? Do your best and pray for whatever you need help with. I swear I am a better mom because I frequently ask for divine help. :) xoxo

Sally said...

So, I think most of us moms feel exactly the same way you do on most days. you've already had some great comments so I'm just going to add my little two cents about the whole patience thing. Sometimes I try to act at home as if I were in a public place, because let's be honest, we talk much nicer to our kids when other people are watching/listening. I don't always remember to do it, but when I do, it helps.

Sally said...

Ps. You look gorgeous! Your boys are adorable! and it really does get so much easier when you have a few older ones instead of all little ones.

Christina said...

I love the picture of you with your boys. You look radiant!

I think those questions weigh on so many of our mother hearts. The more I live in the present as a mother, the more some of those things answers are found. Did I always want to be a mother? No, but is it where I want to be right now? Yes, and I'm happy that I feel satisfaction within that role. The slower my days are, the more I can embrace the "I was present today" and the less I feel the pressure of accomplish 23 things. This is a busy busy stage with young children, and it's hard to make my days slow. It involves saying no to things I'd normally say yes to, but I've found that when I do create boundaries it really is helping.

Thank you for sharing more food for thought. Hope you had a lovely Mother's Day!

Joan said...

Look at your sassy, pink, skinny belt! And your perfectly round little belly?! Anne, you are the pregnant mom poster child/woman. haha.
I have seen you in action and I think you are a fabulous mother. Really, truly.
I miss our pearl Altima and chatting over Chipotle while going twin style to the jacuzzi ;) haha.

Mrs. Cropper said...

I like what you said about stepping back before reacting. It's true-I'm always successfully patient when I do that. Thanks for staying with me. The saddest part about quitting Bloom was saying goodbye to the new friends. So glad you're still here.

I'd love to see your essay. Sounds awesome. I, too, am confident that I made the right choices for myself with regards to education and career. Thanks for that reminder. I guess the bottom line is that I chose to be a mother, and it doesn't matter if I chose that when I was 12 or 25.

That's really good to know! And, even with Blaine only being 6, he is getting really helpful, so I'm grateful for that.

I appreciate all your feedback. Don't ever be shy to comment; I've always loved your insights. Good reminder to pray more. Can never pray too much, right?

Isn't that the truth?! I should totally do that more. Thanks, too, for your sweet compliments. I really appreciate that.

I love how you said, "Is this where I want to be right now? Yes." That's what I am trying to focus on now, so I can get over that ridiculous guilt. Thank you!

Aw shucks, what I wouldn't give to be eating chips and guac and livin' it up in the hottub. That trip was WAY too short! Thanks for always making me feel like a million bucks!

Stephanie said...

I am so grateful for Stephanie's example and how she points out aspects of motherhood that I've overlooked. But I think accepting the fact that some of us are different in other ways is okay too :) Don't beat yourself up...just do your best. It's all we can do!