What _______ Looks Like

During every stage of motherhood there are plenty good and bad things.  Here are some of the ones I have recognized over the past month as well as some other thoughts that have been rolling around my head.

Throwing Food
Not Sharing
Stepping on the tops of my feet
Tantrums - He sure knows how to throw a good one
Independence - doesn't want help when he needs it, wants it when he doesn't

When he says "see ya"
How he leans in and blinks when he wants butterfly kisses
How he softly cries for whichever parent is not putting him to bed
How he learns new words every day.  Some of my favorites; yo-yo, fly, meow, moo.
How he snuggles his face into his green monkey blanket at nap and bedtime
How he sings with Michael when he is playing the guitar
How he asks for daddy about 1,000 x a day
How excited he gets when daddy comes home from work.  He watches for him out the window and then runs to the front door to give him a great big hug.
How he points to EVERY baby we see in public and gets so excited about them
How he sits on his dump truck and then turns to me and says "see ya" while waving

I have noticed that I have gone through many little phases as I have tried to discover the mom in me.  As a passed through some phases I realized that I wasn't fully enjoying being a mom.  

Then I read this quote by Anna Quindlen, "I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less." 

I knew right then, that in 10 years that would be me.  I wasn't enjoying life.  I was constantly looking for the next think I needed to check off my to do list.  Outside play time, dinner, dishes, clean up, bed.  On and on and on.  

Next I read this quote by Iris Krasnow 

"...the most important advice [I] could give mothers is to Be There."
"Being there isn't about money or even about staying home full-time.  It's about an emotional and spiritual shift, of succumbing to Being Where You Are When You Are, and Being There as much as possible." 

Since reading those wise words I have slowed down.  I've left the dishes undone once in a while, I didn't vacuum my house last week, but I did spend extra time snuggling with Eli on the couch while we read books.  And you know what, I'm happier and he is happier.  We have had less tantrums and more laughter.  I know I still have to get things done around the house but those things aren't always the most important things.  I'm slowly learning to Be There.  It's hard.  But it makes a difference.


I have also recently had a huge problem comparing myself to other moms/women around me.

Not a good habit.  I know.

I have a lot of great friends who have amazing talents.  They make bread, sew better than I do, take their kids to the library more than I do, sing to their children more than I do, and cook healthier than I do.  Some even have small jobs that help contribute to the family income.  All while keeping their kids and husbands happy.

They seem to be able to do it all!

Then I started reading "A Mother's Book of Secrets".  Just the title of one of the chapters helped me feel loads better about all of this comparing mumbo jumbo.  

The chapter is titled Be Your Own Kind of "Best Mom"

The last paragraph is the chapter says...

Most days I'm flying by the seat of my pants, but each day that I really put my heart into it I think I come a little closer to being the mom I want to be.  I want to be the best kind of mom I can be.  The secret isn't to try to be the best mom I see in so many others.  It's to analyze what my own strengths are, to build on them, and to apply what I know to my parenting.  That way I become my own kind of "best mom."  And that's what my kids need me to be.

I truly believe that my children are sent to me, to this family, for a reason.  Heavenly father knows them and me personally.  He knows that I have strengths and talents that will help me teach them.  My children need me to be the best ME, not the mom down the street.  

It's always good to improve and to try new things, but I don't need to feel pressured into doing something just because others are.  Or because the media says I should.

In fact, I think we all have different strengths for a reason, we all need to rely on each other a little more.  I don't think motherhood is a role we are supposed to fulfill alone.  We have our husbands, friends, other mothers, and most importantly Heavenly Father to help us fulfill this role.  


And last but not least, for those days when no matter what I do, no matter how positive I am, how many things I leave undone, or how "There" I am and we still have a no good terrible day, I try and remember this quote. 

"Over time, the grueling job of a mother requires one to learn everything from patience to clinical psychology.  It teaches you to roll with the punches, puck your battles, and fish a favorite toy out of a toilet that has been used but not flushed without a wince.  You become a non-judgmental driver, a nurse, and a comforter.  And with a little self-reminder, you can recognize "a stage" and leap over the exceedingly strange behavior of a child with a single bound.  

When you are "in the fire," it is sometimes hard to recognize the value of what you are learning.  But the day-by-day refining process, the problem solving, crisis resolution, mental stretching, mess clean-ups, sleep deprivation, and loving more than you ever thought possible truly makes you into a smart, aware, beautifully refined individual."  Linda Eyre, A Mothers Book of Secrets p. 20  


Mallory Jo Searle said...

So I haven't looked at your blog in a long time...well anyone's for that matter, and I just did today-for a good reason. Thanks for the advice/pep talk/comforting words that I needed to hear. I really appreciate it :) Oh and you're a fabulous mom and person...remember that!

Rachel said...

I love all those pictures, what a cute, fun boy! I too am guilty of the comparing game. You're such a great mom!

-Gs said...

Wow, he is so BIG! He's so handsome.

Whitney said...

Oh how lucky I am to have you for a friend. I love these thoughts and I think every single mom struggles with these same things at one time or another. It truly is a refining process to become the mom you want (and are meant) to be. I think you are doing a beautiful job. PS Can you design MY blog? I love yours. PPS- I'm dying to borrow that book. Love you!

Taylor Family said...

If it makes you feel any better, you are one of the moms I find myself comparing myself to. (Because we all do the comparing from time to time, unfortunately) I admire you and think you and Michael are two of the best people I know! I sure am glad to have such awesome people in my family! Love you guys!

Stephanie said...

What a wonderful post! I really needed that today. Thank you so much for sharing. I am frequently putting myself down because I don't do xxx as well as everyone else seems to. You're a babe!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this.

Oh, and you already know, but Eli is so dang cute!!!!!

kami said...

Wow Brittany...this post was amazing! I needed it. It is so easy to compare ourselves and see all of the things we don't do. I loved all of the quotes and your thoughts. We really are all just doing our best and that's what is important! You're awesome!

Tiffany Rumsey said...

Thank you so much for this post- I definitely needed to hear those things tonight. And I LOVE A Mother's Book of Secrets- such a great book!

sbdent said...

The lucky thing is everyone has those days regardless of how happy their kids are or appear to be. Thanks for sharing:)