Wednesday, May 5, 2010

a discourse on motherhood.


I’m a mother.  It’s a big job.  I think the physical energy it takes to be a mother might lessen as children get older, but having your children grow up brings new challenges at each new stage of the game. 

I’ve had several thoughts about motherhood the past while and need to record them, although I’m not quite sure how they are going to come together yet.

I spoke with a lifelong friend this week who is in the middle of simply surviving with five young children, three in diapers.   One of her concerns was that it takes so much to do what needs to be done that there isn’t any time or energy left to do what she would like to do with her children.  I admire her a great deal and know without a doubt that this is what she is supposed to be doing here on earth.  She is one of my top role models as a mother.  She is domestic, patient, kind, and knows how to recognize the spirit in her life.  And my guess is, that even she, has days when she just doesn’t want to do it today.  Days when diapering, potty training accidents, feeding, feeding, cleaning up, preparing meals, doing endless laundry just doesn’t appeal as the greatest way to spend the day.  And yet she does it day after day because she’s a mother.  And maybe because she’s hoping that today will be easier than yesterday.

I have another friend whose children are a little older, a stage I sometimes hope will come sooner rather than later simply because it looks easier.  She has children who are more independent, who don’t need physical help eating, dressing, bathing and playing.  And yet her heart is aching for her daughter as unexplained anger and tantrums seem to signal something isn’t right.  The words she speaks are disturbing and frustrating and no method of discipline seems effective and while it seems to be an overwhelming problem, she doesn’t run from it or ignore it- she faces it and seeks help because she is a mother. 

I woke up this morning with simple desires… I want to go for a run.  I want to get to the library.  I want to get a few household tasks crossed off my list and I want to have learning time with my kids.  My frustration mounted as I explained to Denten that going for a run, even on the treadmill is no easy task.  I have good kids, but they are curious and busy and 30 minutes of unsupervised time could be great or it could be a disaster.  Getting it in before they wake up is a good option, but would require my body getting out of bed before 5:30 a.m. and I’m not there yet.  My days are busy and I am tired at the end of them and I secretly hope that my clock can reach at least 6:30 before I see Seneca’s face in the morning, but it rarely happens.  Getting to the library is challenging because it the hours don’t coordinate well with fitting in lunch and getting Cooper to club on time.  Household chores could be done easily and quickly if it weren’t for lots of interruptions from children who need help reaching a different game, or putting a tractor together or tying an apron, or changing the music. 

I watched Stephanie Nielsen’s video this morning and had a few thoughts.  The obvious one is that my life is not as hard as hers is and that I should be grateful for my dilemmas that aren’t actual problems in any way.  The more selfish one is that if I had an excuse, some awful thing that had happened to me that I would be justified in feeling overwhelmed sometimes and just want to take a break. 

Sometimes in the morning when Denten is leaving for work I ask if he wants to trade for the day.  Could I go do important lawyer stuff today and he could stay here and handle the kids?  Please?  Most of the time he laughs and doesn’t realize how completely serious I am.  The truth is, however, that I have a great job.  I’m a mother.  It’s a big job, but I’m the only one who can do it.  Well, if I died, someone else would have to do it and my kids would probably survive, but while I’m here, no one else can do it like me.  Some of that is that I like things done a certain way, but some of it is that these are my kids, on loan from Heavenly Father and while I feel completely not up to the task some days, I’m the girl for the job.  I have a strong testimony of the fact that in heaven, before we came here, these kids chose me to be their mother and our Father in Heaven knew it was the right fit and made it happen.  It’s a complete privilege to get to spend my days with these busy little spirits.

I called Emily last night to ask for a lesson in using my convection oven and commented that someday I was going to make chocolate chip cookies all by myself, without any little helpers sticking their fingers in everything, making a holy mess.  Someday I’ll serve breakfast and it won’t end up all over the floor and chairs and clothes.  Someday I won’t buy diapers and wipes in bulk and wipe little bottoms several times a day.  Someday I’ll put on the really cute clothes in my closet instead of saving them for a day that doesn’t involve getting sandy at the park or sweaty sitting at swimming lessons.  Someday I’ll listen to my music in the car rather than “follow the prophet” 57 times.   Someday I’ll have gorgeous furniture in my living room, suitable for real company rather than a trampoline.  Someday I’ll climb in my car when it’s time to go and not even thing about grabbing sippy cups, diapers, clean underwear, snacks and buckling in this kid and then that one and then double-checking to make sure everyone has shoes on, even me.  Someday.

But today, I will.  I will do all of those things.  I’ll listen to them dump out a bucket of toys in the room I just picked up.  I’ll wipe sticky hands, faces, chairs and the floor.  I’ll gladly reach for diapers, wipes and toilet paper because heaven forbid I didn’t have them.  I may get a run in, I may not and while I long to have both the discipline and body of Katelyn, it will have to wait until someday.  I might get to the library but if I don’t it will still be there tomorrow.  If the toilets get cleaned today, great.  If they don’t we probably won’t die.  I will hook the trailer up to the tractor and play on the floor with beckham.  I will talk about shapes with seneca, tie her apron and have her serve me lovely creations from her kitchen.  I will read with cooper, push them on the swings and sing silly songs.  I will ask them to be sweet, to talk nice to each other and break up squabbles and dream of someday.  But I will also enjoy today. 

Because I am a mother.  It’s a big job.  But it’s the right one for me right now.  and I’ve got important people counting on me to do it well. 


Jaime said...

i couldn't agree more. When I want to escape from the daily grind most and hide under my covers, I just have to say and prayer, think of my alternative options, and quick like a flash, I am back in the mommy game again. I think this is where it is at! Besides, the day always ends and covers are always waiting for me eventually. Now, about that 3-mile run... Still working on getting that a permanent spot in the schedule too.

tenacious d said...

Great post! Venting is good, and then turning it back around and picking up on the positives is even better. You are a good mom, and you are absolutely the right person for the job for those three little people (and whoever else is in line to join them).

Amy said...

I so enjoyed reading this. The "some day" definitely has its allure on some days. Yesterday was one for me.

Partridge Family said...

I loved reading this! You have such a talent to write. Thank you. Being a Mom is such a blessing!

Torey said...

Thank you for saying what so many of us want to say. And, just as you have your mother role models, I too have mine, and you happen to be on that list! "Some day I'll be a skinny, peppy mommy like Amberly... some day..."

brenda hatch said...

So, it won't get easier once Brody starts walking?! I was really thinking it would.

And I agree with Torey!

Katelyn & Wade said...

Loved this. You said what I dare say 99% of us all feel. You do motherhood gracefully and what seems to me, effortlessly. You always have it all together, I read your days when you list the things you did, heard, saw and it's a wonder why you don't want to get up before 5:30 AM. I can only hope to have the same level of energy and optimism when there's 2 more under my feet. And peppy, that is a BRILLIANT word for you. Your honesty is refreshing.

Emily said...

Yep. Wouldn't have it any other way.

Love you.

K said...

Well said Amberly.

DaNae said...

Whenever I get overwhelmed I hear that country song in my head..."You're gonna miss this. You're gonna want this back. You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast". My kids ARE growing up so fast. I see Cheyanne for an hour before school & maybe 2 hours in the evening before bed. At this point, I feel that every moment I have with her is precious! We only have 6 more years before she leaves us to move on with her makes me a little sad.