Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Best Motherhood advice I've ever received....

this adorable little 2 year old now almost 6!  

I thought I was so prepared for Motherhood.  I was the youngest of 7 children who became an Aunt at age 8, my nieces and nephews were more like my siblings.  I started babysitting very young and I loved being around children.  I majored in Family and Human Development with an emphasis in early childhood.  I just knew I was going to be a well prepared, fantastic Mother.

Then my first son was born.  He was colicky, he didn’t sleep and I was exhausted in every way.  I remember talking to my Mom and being so upset that I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, that he wasn’t the happy, content baby that I thought I would have. That I wasn’t the great Mom I thought I would be.   My Mom said 4 words that have become my Motherhood mantra…”This too shall pass.” 

It bothered me back then, because I felt like she was discounting my pain and frustration.  But what I have come to find out is she wasn’t discounting anything, she was trying to give me the gift of PERSPECTIVE.  You see she had 7 children, she knew that some babies fuss more than others, that some sleep better, that some are content and happy and some are not.   I wish I could go back 14 years and tell myself to listen to this nugget of wisdom because it’s the best advice ever.

She knew a secret, that for the most part this too shall pass.  (I realize that some things do not pass, some babies have special needs for example that aren’t going to pass no matter how much time passes, my heart aches for them.) But for the most part in a healthy baby, hard phases and stages pass on.   

Fussy, colicky baby?  Yep passed.  Toddler who wouldn’t leave my side to go to nursery or a babysitter? Passed.  Horrible reflux and severe lactose allergy (that cost us a pretty penny in specialized formula)?  Passed.  The terrible twos/threes? Passed. A boy who was a monkey and made my heart stop with his climbing antics and no fear?  Passed. A child who is terrified of the toilet? Passed.  A preemie in the hospital for 6 weeks? Passed.

But on the flip side….. Newborn baby who snuggles right into your neck and smells amazing?  Passed.  First steps and first words? Passed.  First time my baby belly laughed?  Passed.  Sleeping with a newborn on your chest?  Passed.   A baby all snuggled up after a bath in their hooded towel where just their eyes and smile show?  Passed.  My daughter saying I YUV YOU Mommy! (now she says her L's). Passed.

My baby is 3.  My oldest baby is 14.  I know it’s so cliché, but time FLIES!  Hard stages come with every age.  Some days I wish I could  trade in a grouchy teen for a colicky baby.  Some days I would trade in some experiences my son is having in middle school for when he was a biter and bit nearly every child in the nursery at church.   Those hard phases will pass, but so will the sweet phases where they say words a certain way (like ornange or hangurber) or want to hold your hand on a walk. Honestly I don't think Motherhood gets easier as they get just is different.

The beauty of “This too shall pass” is that it helps those phases not seem quite so tragic or eternal.  Some days we just have to grit our teeth and wait it out.  However, some days I really can smile at my 3 year old throwing a fit over not being able to buckle his own car seat because I know soon enough he will master it and it will mean one more way he is becoming independent of me.  I realize that is my job to teach them not to need me, but man it’s hard. 

So next time your frustration, or exhaustion or anger about something your child is doing or going through gets the best of you think, “This too shall pass” and see if maybe it just doesn’t give you a little perspective.

What is the best Motherhood advice you've gotten?

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Today I turn 42...seriously?  I honestly cannot believe I am that old.  I certainly don't feel like it, but the math doesn't lie.  However, there are a few perks to getting older....I am much less likely to care what others think of me, I believe I am growing into the person I am supposed to become and I love the wisdom my experiences have given me.  Those are all pretty great things. I thought I loved my 20's, but wouldn't go back to them,   I really loved the decade of my 30's a lot (and would gladly go back), but I am really starting to love my 40's as well.

So here are 42 things about me:

1. I am the youngest of 7 children by 6 years, I am 16 years younger than my oldest sibling.  I have great friendships with my siblings and feel so blessed to have them as mentors and role models in parenting and life.
2. I have 26 nieces and nephews, I am a great aunt 11 times with 4 more due this year
3. I became an aunt at age 8, my nieces and nephews are more like younger siblings
4. I am naturally an introvert but have worked hard to become more outgoing
5. I still like my solitude and recharge my spirit by being alone
6. I like small groups, not a fan of big crowds (see #5)
7. I like in depth, meaningful conversations
8. I love keeping in touch with old friends
9. I love music, almost all kinds but I really dislike hard rock and rap
10. I love to teach, especially about the gospel or about the family
11. When Dave was going to BYU and we had a little Nathan, I was an adjunct instructor at UVSC (now UVU) and I loved it!
12.  I would love to teach at a community college again someday (except I would have to go get my masters)
13. I love helping others and taking dinners to people is one way I enjoy serving
14. I am a morning person and really love taking a walk and watching the sunrise (although I don't do it as often as I should)
15. I love to read, however I am realizing that the books I like to read are "real life" stories and biographies and historical fiction.
16.  I am not  a fantasy or sci-fi fan in my book selections
17.  I like TV, but don't watch that often.  I like old shows like MASH and the Cosby Show.  I like new shows like Modern Family and Parenthood.  I like to laugh and have TV be an escape
18.  I am 3 years and 4 months older than my husband
19.  I met him when I was 14 and he was 11
20.  I was good friends with his older sister Becky (we were locker partners in 10th grade)
21.  I was his Ma on Pioneer trek when I was 19 and he was 15.  I did not have a crush on him as we would lead you to believe, but I did think he was a great, hard working kid who treated the girls in our family with great respect and loved helping others.
22. We started dating 3 months after he got home from his mission and were married 9 months after he got home from his mission
23.  I first noticed his smile and his eyes, and his soccer playing legs
24.  I swore I would never have a whirlwind courtship
25. We celebrate 17 years of marriage this August
26.  I always wanted a big family, so did Dave, when we got married he said he wanted 8.
27.  I literally had as many children as my body would allow and would have loved a couple more if I could have.  I had 2 miscarriages, one before Nathan and one before Drew
28.  My dreams when growing up were to have a handsome husband who treated me well,have a gaggle of kids and be a stay at home Mom
29.  I am living my dream
30.  I am allowing myself to pursue other dreams now as well, I bought a guitar and am pursuing becoming a Power of Moms trainer so I can teach Moms and families how to become the best they can.
31.  I love nature and being out in it.  I miss living in Utah with it's gorgeous mountains and scenery.  Every time we are there I wonder why we aren't living in it's beauty.
32.  I am working on getting healthier.  I am eating much better, only having sugar and soda once a week and am starting to exercise again.
33. I have a strong testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ, I know he makes up for my weaknesses and sins and loves me no matter what I do.  I feel his presence regularly in my life.
34.  When I woke up in the morning as I was growing up, I would walk upstairs and most days I would find my Mom studying the scriptures at our dining room table, she truly is a scholar of the gospel and I hope my children remember that of me too and I hope to gain the same knowledge she has
35.  I really, really dislike raisins and olives (my Mom taught me you don't use the word hate)
36.  I LOVE Mexican, Chinese and Thai food
37.  I love to sing and wish I had a chance to do it more
38.  I am looking forward to our "epic" road trip this summer with my kids.  Two weeks in the car heading to Nauvoo and other church history spots.  It will make memories my kids will remember for life (at least those older than 3).  I hope nobody gets maimed in such close quarters.
39.  In five years I will have a missionary out (hopefully), my youngest will be 8, I will be married for 22 years and I will be healthy, happy and hopefully teaching in some way.
40. I don't have any gray hairs yet, I know I color my hair, but ask my gray yet
41.  I am grateful for every one of my 42 years and the experiences and wisdom I'm gaining.
42. I used to look at people who were 42 as old....I don't think I'm old.

As a birthday gift to me, please COMMENT on this post and tell me something about you.  I know more people read this than comment (I get the stats people).  Please tell me something about you, I LOVE comments, just humor this old lady :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sweet and Sour

Mother's Day was full of fun, family....and crying.  It wouldn't be Mother's Day without the sweet and sour, because that is truly what Motherhood is.  We have moments of great satisfaction and gratitude, and then the next second we have a mess to clean up and crying children.

 We made a super quick (less than 48 hours) trip to Utah for my in-laws homecoming from their mission for the LDS church.   The drive up was great, the kids traveled like CHAMPS, we only had to stop once to fill up and to empty our bladders :)  

And THEN we had the drive home...below is a picture at our stop in Filmore for Maverick hot dogs and playing on the playground.  I was feeling lots of gratitude and love for my kids at this point.  They were playing so great together and they had been great on the ride home thus far....then a switch flipped and the Monsters came out.

I'm telling you, the last half of the trip home was MISERABLE.  Five children and parents who are totally sleep deprived and have been in a car too much.  Lots of crying and whining and fighting.  I thought I was going to pull my hair out.  Nobody was comfortable to go to sleep, I finally ended up in the back seat so I could stop the fighting and so kids would SLEEP.  That did not make my back happy and so I was a bit miserable myself.  Oh the yin and yang of motherhood right?  

Anyway, we packed LOTS of great things into those 45 hours. We stayed with my oldest sister, who I admire so much, she and my niec  played dollhouse and multiple games with my kids and her boys (in their 20's) played on the trampoline and kept my kids happy and busy.  They are truly amazing.

My nephew Matt came home from his mission on Friday and I loved seeing him and the growth he has made.  What a great example to my kids!

 Below is a Mother's Day lunch we had with my Mother in-law and sisters in law and the granddaughters.  It was so fun, the little girls have so much fun together.  I love these ladies like my own flesh and blood.

My oldest son turned 14 on Sunday.  When boys in our church turn 14, they become a teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood.  All thse men stood in a circle around my son and put their hands on his head.  It always makes me tear up that he is surrounded by so much support and love.  If he can remember the protection and support of these great men in his life, he can withstand all the temptations and bad things of this world.

At 14 he is funny, smart, sweet, sensitive, a great older brother and my buddy.  He has always been very sensitive to me and my needs, even as a very little boy he would make sure I was happy and taken care of.  Now don't get me wrong, he is still a teenager (sweet and sour right?) and we have our fair share of eye rolls and attitude.  However he is a GREAT kid and I love watching him grow into the person he is supposed to become.

I know for some women Mother's Day is hard.  Whether it's infertility, a difficult relationship with your own mother or feeling like you don't measure up as a Mom, there are those who don't like to celebrate this holiday.  I choose to celebrate the positive.  I have a wonderful Mom and Mother in-law and I am blessed to have amazing kids.  I am not perfect by any means.  I yell more than I would like, my house is messy much of the time and my kids watch TV too much.  But I do a lot of things right as well and that is what I choose to focus on.

I really really love this article "Drops of Awesome" on the blog Daring Young Mom.  It summarizes how I feel.  I most often want to focus on the "sweet" of Motherhood, while still acknowledging  that the "sour" exists and is HARD.

How was your Mother's Day?  Was is sweet or sour, or a combination of both?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

What do you really want?

On Sunday my oldest son (pictured above, he was about 18 months) turns 14.  I think it's fitting his birthday falls on Mother's Day since he is the one who made me a Mother.  He is all sorts of awesome.  He is funny, smart, talented, sensitive to spiritual things as well as to his Mother, he is a fantastic, responsible older brother and loves his little siblings to pieces.  I am so fortunate to be his Mother, I have learned more from him than he has from me I am certain of it.

He has been very excited about his birthday and anxious for presents.  He doesn't ask for much, we are lucky that way.  He is pretty happy with whatever we get for him.  He has been asking me however, "Mom what do YOU want for Mother's Day?"

It has got me thinking what do I really want?  Another trip to Kauai, now that would be nice for sure but it won't happen for many more years :).  But I don't need or want anything they can buy me at stores.  I want to spend TIME as a family, I want to go out to breakfast, I want to go hiking or play at the park, I want to go to a movie together.   I want homemade cards and letters, I want tissue paper flowers and frames made from popsicle sticks. I want fresh flowers to brighten my spirits. I want kind, obedient children.  I want them to be hard working and happy.  I want them to reach their full potential, I want them to find someone to marry who is as good to them as their Dad is to me.  I want them to have children so they can learn the lessons and feel the joy that can only come from being a parent.

Maybe I've grown up but I think finally the lessons of Motherhood have sunk in.  Motherhood is about finding JOY in the journey.  Yes it's mundane on a regular basis, yes it's exhausting and draining and the hardest thing I have ever done  But it is the hardest JOY I've ever experienced.  . I recently read an article where the author said she hasn't EVER had an easy day as a Mother, she has had GREAT days but never easy days.  IT'S NOT MEANT TO BE EASY! If it were easy it wouldn't be a refining tool.It is refining me and teaching me and is helping me become the person that God wants me to be. I have become more charitable and loving, I have become more selfless, I have become more flexible, I have become more confident in my abilities, I have become funnier, I have laughed more and cried more than I even thought possible.

What do you really want?  What do you want from Motherhood?  Do you want to just survive or do you want to THRIVE?  It is possible to thrive while in the midst of diapers, messes and chaos.  If you want that how are you going to get there??

P.S.  For you for Mother's Day...Here is one of my very favorite articles about Motherhood by one of my favorite authors April Perry