Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I've had a million post ideas running through my head the last few days.  But something happened today that has stuck with me.  We just returned Sunday morning from a week long vacation to Utah to visit my family for the fourth of July holiday.  I knew that getting back into the swing of things might be a little rough since naps and any semblance of schedule were thrown out the window during vacation and because I knew my husband would be leaving early and working late to make up for missed time but whew!  These last two days have been challenging.

There has been more fighting, biting, pushing, pulling, hitting, crying and screaming from both my girls than ever before.  A forced trip to the grocery store with both kids on Tuesday to restock the kitchen was almost worse than a root canal and I feel like I have gotten absolutely nothing done the last three days except break up fights, change diapers, comfort bumps and bruises and clean up tornado type messes.

I'll probably say it a hundred times on this blog but motherhood is HARD.  Some days I smack my forehead and think, "What in the world have I done?  This is a nightmare!".  And other days my heart is so full of joy I feel like I'm going to burst.  It's incredible how two (or one, or five or six) small children can make you feel completely defeated and as if you have no idea what you are doing one day, and then the next they make you feel like you are mother of the year with their hugs and kisses, I love yous, and exclamations that you are their best friend.  What I was reminded of today is that it all comes down to perspective.

Where we live in CA (and in other parts of the country too I believe) one of the local cinemas has $1 movies during the sumer on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Yesterday I decided I would be brave and take the kids today and figured if it was a complete fail that I could leave and not feel bad since I would only be spending $3.  Before the movie I decided that we would stop by Sprouts to grab a few healthy snacks to have during the movie, partly because I knew it would be getting close to lunch and partly to have something to use as a distraction in the event of a melt down.  We were meeting a friend at the theater so I told Abby that we needed to hustle inside to pick our snacks so we wouldn't be late.  But of course as is true to her personality she needed to walk on every ledge of the flower beds and investigate every crack in the sidewalk.  But I hustled her along, we picked our snacks and hurried to the checkout line.  Just as we were approaching a sweet lady (grandma type) stopped and said hello to the girls.  Then she looked at me and said, "I saw your youngest when you first walked in and thought she was just precious.  And then I saw your oldest and thought (putting her hand over her heart) what beautiful, sweet little girls.  You don't get to see that every morning."  I thanked her for her sweet comment and she talked with Abby for a moment and then we rushed on our way.  But her comment left an impression upon me.  It was a sweet reminder of how blessed I truly am. I DO get to see them every day.  They are one of the greatest joys in my life and give me purpose each day.  But it is often so hard for me to remember this when I am in the "trenches" of life each day dealing with potty accidents, food being thrown on the ground, tantrums of epic proportions, biting, hair pulling, screaming and whining.  It was a reminder that when I'm in the "thick" of things that I need to step back a little so that I can see the full picture, the eternal perspective if you will and not just the small moments of frustration.

Over this last year I have discovered that every moment that I have with my children both beautiful and difficult has the potential to bring us closer together and allow us to make lasting connections or drive us apart causing us to become slowly disconnected.  Each of these encounters also give us opportunities  to become aware of our weaknesses and insecurities so that we can either strengthen them or give in to them making them weaker.  It's been a long year but one of incredible growth for me personally.  It has taken a lot of talking (with the hubs), crying, praying, yelling (hate that), reading, pondering, searching, practicing and sleepless nights to get to where I am today. I wish I could say that finally everything has fallen into place but the truth is I'm still in the thick of it and have a long way to go.  But I have come a long way.  My weaknesses are stronger, my insecurities are slowly fading away, my tendency toward perfectionism doesn't have nearly the hold on me that it did a year ago and I have had more "special" moments with my girls than I ever have before.  Somedays I still want to pull my hair out, have to count to ten or walk away when I feel everything coming to the surface but the difference is that instead of "stuffing" how I feel and then lashing out later I am able to give myself permission to feel frustrated, angry, sad, etc which helps the emotion to wash over me and be gone like a wave and then deal with the situation more calmly and with more empathy.

There are a lot of resources that have helped me get to this point.  However nothing has helped me more than working on my relationship with my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ.  I am far from perfect in this area as well but when it comes to parenting Heavenly Father knows it all.  Not only that he knows me and my children individually.  He is the only one who can helped me to know how best to teach, comfort, guide and help my little girl reach their full potential.  And he is the only one who can truly help me to become the best mother I can be.  He knows me.  He knows my weaknesses, insecurities and struggles.  He loves me and my children more than I could ever comprehend.  He gave me a Savior who sacrificed his life so that I didn't have to be perfect.  All I have to do is try my very best every day and then come to him to ask for help and forgiveness.  My best is going to be different every day depending on the curve balls life throws me and that's ok.  One of the greatest things that Heavenly Father has reminded me of this last year is that even though they are small and under my care and protection my children are not mine, they are his.  They are individuals with personalities, gifts, talents and most importantly agency.  Just as Heavenly Father does not take away our freedom to choose and make mistakes by controlling us I cannot control my children.  I can only control myself, my emotions, my responses and my attitude.  If I can master myself and not give in to the natural man then I will be able to allow my children to do the same as I guide them, teach them, love them and help them to become who Heavenly Father needs them to be and what they want to be.

Eternal Perspective.  It is absolutely crucial to being successful in this life.  If we get so caught up in the moment that we lose sight of the goal then we have no purpose to drive us forward, to push us to become what we have the potential to be.  That's not to say we shouldn't "live in the moment", make memories or enjoy and be satisfied with what we have now but we can't allow the darkness to overcome the light.  Especially spiritual darkness.

My challenge to myself and to you if you are struggling is to step back when you feel like you are losing hold of the eternal perspective or the bigger picture.  Take a deep breath, count to ten, and say a silent prayer to ask Heavenly Father to see your children as he sees them.  Ask him to help you feel love, charity and empathy for who they are and what they are going through no matter how big or small it may seem to you.  My hope is that this will help me remain more peaceful inside so that I can be more peaceful outside.

To all mothers, no matter what stage of motherhood you are in, bless you.  Bless you for being who you are, for taking on the enormous task of motherhood.  It is truly a sacred calling in this life and in the next.  Nothing will bring you more joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain or sweetness and bitterness than this elect role in your life.  May the Lord bless you for your daily efforts to push through the mundane and see the joy in the simple things.  You are noble and great and no one can replace who you are and what you individually can do.  Go forth with faith and with a prayer in your heart and you will not fail.

Monday, July 1, 2013

"Nice Knees!"

Kind of an odd title I know but one that has been resonating in my head for the better part of a week.  Two Sundays ago at church I was sitting in the back of the primary room while the Stake Primary Presidency was giving sharing time because it was ward conference.  I was conducting that day and was waiting for her to finish so that I could turn the time over to our chorister for singing time.  Our second counselor was sitting just in front and to the right of me and at one point she turned around to tell me something and then proceeded to look down at my knees and said, "Nice Knees" in a sort of teasing tone of voice.  At first I wasn't sure what she was talking about.  But once I realized that she was talking about my knees I immediately became self-conscious covered them with my hands. I chuckled and then mumbled some excuse about how as hard as I try I can't seem to make them look better.  I put lotion on them every day, scrub them, etc. but nothing seems to work.

Exhibit A: My Knees

Now first off you have to know that this person is a dear friend, very kind and is the sweet mother of 4 energetic boys.  There is no malice in what she said, and I knew that, but being a woman I couldn't help but feel a little bit embarrassed.  My first thought was, "Doesn't every mother have knees like mine?".  A quick look around the room confirmed that no, they did not. But I told myself it didn't matter and just brushed it off, or so I thought.  For some reason that comment has stuck with me all week.  After thinking about it for a few days I have finally come to the conclusion that I am supposed to learn something from her comment.   I am incredibly hard on myself, I always have been.  Like many women I compare myself to the "other mothers" out there.  Some are crafty, some are bakers, some are chefs, some are beautifully organized, some are successful business women and mothers, some are leaders, some are patient, some are musical, some are fashion forward, some are lean, mean, exercise machines, some live green, some are quietly strong and influential and some have nice knees.  ;-) Too often in my life I have compared my weaknesses to the strengths of others collectively.  I don't think that there is anything wrong with wanting to develop new talents or strengthen one you already posses.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a better mother and work on weaknesses that you have.  And there is nothing wrong with wanting to have nice knees.  But there is something wrong with not accepting and celebrating what you are at this moment.  I think the lesson that I am suppose to learn from this is that when I feel insecure about something I should look for the good inside of that insecurity.  So this week I have thought about my knees and how they got the way that they are and why that's a good thing and not bad.

A Pair of Worn Knees
  • I kneel each morning to pray for strength and guidance and a wife and mother
  • I kneel with my children as we pick out clothes and I get them dressed
  • I kneel as I play games with them, crawl around like a horse and chase them while they giggle.
  • I kneel as I speak to them eye to eye when they need correction and direction in an effort to connect with them and understand what they need.
  • I kneel to give and receive hugs from my children
  • I kneel to pick up toys
  • I kneel to change diapers
  • I kneel as I mop my floor, clean my bathtub and toilet and as I dust my home
  • I kneel next to the crib when my babies can't sleep and pat their backs
  • I kneel next to my toddler's bed when she can't sleep or she doesn't feel well and stroke her hair or pat her back
  • I kneel to say my prayers before bed
  • I drop to my knees sometimes in prayer throughout the day to pray for the strength to go on when I am exhausted, frustrated and unsure of what to do.
  • I kneel at the temple to participate in sacred ordinances 
  • I kneel to ask for forgiveness of my children when I have yelled and lost my temper
  • I kneel to ask for forgiveness from my Heavenly Father
  • I kneel to pray with my family each night
  • I kneel to pray with my husband morning and night
Maybe I don't have to kneel as I do all those things but I do.  My knees serve me as I walk, run, bend, kneel and sit.  I am grateful for all the things that have made my knees look a little rough because I know those things have blessed my life more than I could imagine. I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on a blessing and learn a lesson from something that could have been seen in a negative light.

Is there something about you that is less than what others would deem as ideal but that has blessed your life in ways that others might not be able to see?  I would love to hear your stories and the things you have learned from your rough spots, scars, bumps and bruises.

Blog Designed by The Single Momoirs