Sunday, May 12, 2013

Wishing a Happy (Not Guilty) Mother's Day to You!

You feel like you are the only one who is snapping at your kids and the only one with goldfish crackers smashed into your carpet. You feel like you are the only one with kids who don’t listen or who seem to be bickering non-stop and the only one who forgot about a meeting that you should’ve been at or something for your kid’s school project. Sometimes you feel like a lousy Mom and everyone else has it all together. You’re the one with a kid screaming as your dragging them out of the store. You’re the one who always has more laundry in the basket, whether clean or dirty, than you do in the dresser drawers. You’re the one with a to-do list the size of Texas and only a few things crossed off. Sometimes you feel alone and cumbered with the so many roles you carry and sometimes downright stressed, overwhelmed, and frankly not like the Mom you thought you’d be. You may feel that way at times. I know I do. I have felt like the only one and yet time and time again I am reminded that I am not. Maybe all of the descriptions above don’t fit you to a tee but you could take away a few and add a few others and still another slew of women would join you in the battle.

 I recently had a conversation with a good friend and neighbor about how we often forget that others are real and we are determined that they have it all together. She said that she would think that our home was pristine. Well, she was wrong. :) As we type, behind me sits a room waiting for me or someone to come a long and bring it back into order and a similar scenario rings true for almost every room in the house. On another occasion I discovered that someone thought that I listened to Church music and only church music every day of the week. When they found out I rocked out to the radio while doing dishes they were surprised. I too was surprised at how I am perceived. Church music every day would be great but that is not the real me. We like dance parties at our house. If we think we know the kind of Mom that lies behind the doors of each and every home, we are mistaken. We are all real and we are all trying but none of us is the perfect wife, or mother, or woman.

Today, I had the opportunity to sit in Relief Society and listen to a lovely lesson. I am in primary and it was nice to have a spirit-filled adult driven lesson (I do love primary but it was nice today:). I ended up making a comment about how today, Mother’s Day, can be a day full of guilt and we can be too hard on ourselves. I talked about how we are not the only one and we need to recognize that everyone else is real, we are all human, and no one has everything all together and perfectly in order. We are all trying and we all fall short sometimes. I shared portions of the conversation that my friend and I had had. As I expounded on this idea I felt how much it resonated with so many other sisters in the room. There were tears and there was no question that many had felt the way I described. We need to be real with ourselves. We need to realize that we are doing just fine. And that so-and-so down the street is just as real as you and sometimes they feel lousy and frustrated and completely behind and rundown just like you do.

 Elder Jeffrey R. Holland ( “Because She Is a Mother”) gave this encouragement, “Do the best you can through these years, but whatever else you do, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may sometimes feel that to be.”

All we need to do is make an honest effort. Sometimes I think that things are too hard to get done with 3 demanding little ones but I don’t give it my best effort and some things fall short. In saying that we are all real and we all struggle I am not saying we should justify our behavior as mothers or let things slide that really matter because so-and-so struggles with that too. We do need to try our best. We shouldn’t join in the comparing that sometimes goes on among women but we can recognize that no one is perfect and not beat ourselves up over our imperfectness.

 President Gordon B. Hinckley continually counseled, “Do your best.” And then he added: “But I want to emphasize that it be the very best. We are too prone to be satisfied with mediocre performance. We are capable of doing so much better” (“Standing Strong and Immovable,” World Leadership Training Meeting, 10 January 2004 [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2004], 21).

So on this Mother’s Day, recognize the good that you do. Recognize the good that others do. Recognize that you’re not perfect and that is okay, just try your very best and you will be “made more than you are and better than you have ever been”.

This is just as much counsel to me as it is to anyone else. My hope this week as I am down on my knees picking up the goldfish smashed into the carpet, and trying to hold my tongue when I feel close to snapping, and dragging my 3 year old out of the store screaming, and trying to make our dressers fuller than our baskets, that I can remember that I may not be perfect but if I am trying my very best that angels will be watching over me and my little ones. I hope they feel invited because I need them and so does so-and-so down the street. Happy Mother’s Day!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

To every woman...

...for every woman is a Mother.

Thank you to all of the wonderful women in my life!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

We're All In This Together!

Although we all go through different experiences and trials and we all live in different circumstances we are all living on the same world with chaos going on all around us just trying to do our best.  We really are all in this together, or at least we should be. 

It can be easy to get caught up in our own little worlds, with our own troubles, and our own agendas.  It is easy to only see the long list of to-dos that we have or the sometimes blinding trials, whether big or small.  At least it is for me.  But in one way or another I am always reminded of how much we all really need each other. 

I recently randomly fell upon a post of someone who had just had a house full of kiddos with a stomach bug that just wouldn't go away.  She too was hit with the yuck and thus her home had become a bit of a mess.  When finally the sickness seemed to be leaving them and she was ready to tackle her neglected house she had a feeling that there was someone who needed her that day. She felt like she was supposed to make someone dinner that very night and she was directed to who it was to be.  Her house was left for another day and someone who needed it was blessed that night with a nice dinner.  (You can read the whole post here.)  But sometimes for me it is all too easy to direct my attention back at my own struggles and push those promptings aside.

A day or two after reading this post I read a post by one of my roommates from college.  She wrote about how one of her best friends had just found out that her 5 year old son has cancer.  My roommate currently lives in Australia and her good friend in Utah.  Through some amazing promptings and a very long flight she was able to come home to be with her friend during this difficult time.  (You can read the whole post here.)

And here is where my connection comes in.  As I followed the link in that post to her friend's blog that details the journey of this last month's battle with cancer I was struck with great emotion. She took her 5 year old son to the doctor on the very day that I took my 6 year old to the doctor.  She headed to the hospital for blood tests and a CT scan that very day, as did we.  The following day I received news that our son did not have a brain tumor and she heard the devastating news that her son did have cancer.  As I read these similarities and thought about how her situation could so easily have been ours I couldn't help but feel a connection with their family.  While we were feeling relief, they were feeling heartache.  I prayed for them, I cried for them, and I felt that the least I could do was to donate a little bit in their behalf. If you are willing you can head here and donate, even $5 will help them along their way. :)

Behind closed doors and inside hearts everyone has something that wears at them. Sometimes big and sometimes small.  Sometimes it is for a moment and sometimes it is for a lifetime.  My hope is that we will look beyond ourselves and see that we need each other. That we will see that in the walls of each and every home and in the chambers of each individuals heart their is a need for love, compassion, understanding, and the following of promptings of the Holy Ghost.  Let us pray for, see, and act on the promptings that will allow us to be the person that someone else is longing for.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Life's Journey

I just recently past the year mark of my last post.  Time and time again I have thought that maybe I'd add a few words and the timing never felt right and I never had something I felt needed to be said.  The year long break started at a transitional time when our third child had recently been added to the bunch.  Sleepless nights, adjusting to life with three little ones, and helping three little ones adjust to life with each other, sending my oldest child off to his first day of school (adding many trips to and from), and other numerous tasks and experiences and trials have filled the time.

The past month has felt personally transitional.  It has felt transformational. I have felt taught.  My heart has been stirred and learning has taken place.

Several weeks back I sat in a doctor's appointment with my 6 year old son.  He had been experiencing shooting pains in his head, through his eyes, and sometimes down to his toes.  He mentioned that his hands felt "itchy" on the inside and I wondered if he meant that were fuzzy, asleep.  Some things were bothering his tummy and he was extra emotional, among a few other ailments. In this case, Google is not your friend.  I searched and of course came up with some scary options.  Namely one, one really scary one.

Brain tumor.

I often blow things up to a level that is not necessary and I hoped that this was the case this time, more so than ever before because this time it wasn't about me it was about him, my son.  As we sat in the office and rattled off symptom after symptom to the doctor it became apparent that my ideas weren't so far fetched.  It was an option.  The doctor explained that he didn't think it was a brain tumor but with all of his symptoms it needed to be ruled out.  An appointment was made for that night to get a CT scan and some blood tests at the hospital.

In the car on the way home, I explained that we would be going to the hospital that night and what would take place.  He, of course, did not like the idea.  His scope was small. He was worried about the blood tests and I was terrified about the potential outcome. The nurses who were drawing his blood were amazed at how he carried himself.  They held his arm but they didn't need to.  Not a tear was shed.  The CT scan was easy and kind of entertaining to him. I held his hand and he tried to hold still. He was so brave. I was seriously a Mommy kind of impressed.  I expected more drama but he was a amazing.

We were told we would probably hear the results back about the CT scan the next day and if we hadn't that we should call in the day after.  Of course, I called the next day because I just couldn't wait any longer.  I prayed and prayed and prayed. I tried to prepare myself mentally, and emotionally, and spiritually for what could be some major changes in our lives.  I thought both about the things that would take place immediately if the results were not in our favor but I also thought about the possible end result. I paced.  I waited.  I tried not to let my whole world be consumed by not knowing but my day was a day of hoping, praying, and waiting.

I received a phone call from the doctor's office with some of the blood results but no word about the CT scan that the doctor hadn't had a chance to look at yet.  I felt like the nurse was TOO nice on the phone and thus the results must not be good.  I worried that the reason the nurse didn't tell me the results of the CT scan was because the doctor wanted to talk to me personally.  Again, I started to blow things up.  The day was long. Definitely the longest day I've had as a Mother and maybe my longest day ever.

Finally nearing the closing hours of the doctor's office I received a phone call and headed to a room to hear the results away from little voices.  I was glad to hear a women's voice on the line and not the male voice of the physician and even more glad to hear these words, "He was able to look over the CT scan results and everything was perfectly normal."

Perfectly normal. 

I can't even begin to tell you the feelings of relief and pure happiness that came over me as those words were processed.  Although this all happened over a 36 hour span between doctor visit, to hospital visit, to results I felt like I had been on an emotional and spiritual journey.  Amidst my prayers of hope that everything would be fine with my son I also prayed for faith to face whatever happened.  The reminder of what is most important was all so real and the encouragement to be a better Mother, a Mother of children of God was needed and accepted. 

Has everything been perfect since. No.  Have I immediately become the Mother that I hope to be, of course not.  I will continue on my journey.  A journey that continued as prophets and apostles spoke to me personally at General Conference and as local leaders the following week shared their insights with me at our Stake Conference.  I am trying to remember that that is what life is, a journey and that I need to start where I am. In my journey I hope to fill my life with things that matter most.