Friday, February 24, 2012

Mother of the year? Nope.


I have been off the grid for a few weeks.  Not really sure why my blogging went to crap, I've had plenty to blog about, after all, things are never dull around here. I've just fallen behind in so many things the last few weeks, and the blog has been the last thing on my list.  Sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed with all that I have to do that I want to go hide in a hole and just forget it all.  Generally, that's the point where a vacation comes in--but since we don't have one on the horizon, I'm just going to have to plug along, suck it up, and deal.  Here are a few things that I've been thinking about lately, and wanted to write down.  Someday my kids will look back on this, and laugh (or cry hysterically) at how clueless their mom was when they were growing up.  Have I mentioned that I am in way over my head when it comes to this mothering thing?  Well, I am.  And here are a few reasons why:

First, I won't be receiving a nomination for "Mother of the Year" anytime soon (*shocker, I know).  Last Sunday, we got out of church a little early, Josh had already picked up Jack, and was waiting for me outside of Relief Society.  I saw Abby and Erin come out of their classes, and we headed out to the car.  "We got out of church pretty quickly", I mentioned, as we drove out of the parking lot.  Erin agreed, and we noticed how the car seemed empty since Dad was at work, and Emie was out of town with her friends.  As I pulled up to the gate to go to our house, I happened to glance in the rear-view mirror to see Josh and Jack playing on Josh's DS in the back seat, and then I FROZE.  "WHERE'S ASHLIE?"  Abby and Erin looked at each other, and then looked at me, and said "OH, CRAP!"  As I flipped the car around, and SPED back to the church (you know, before someone noticed we had been gone 15 minutes) I was asking the kids, "How the heck did you not notice that Ashlie wasn't in the freakin' car?"  (As if I had no responsibility in the situation, of course).  But c'mon--shouldn't SOMEONE in the back seat have noticed that their sister was missing?  I swear, my kids are going to need therapy...and of all my kids--we would have to leave the one with NO sense of humor behind. I'm thinking,  "This kid is going to be scarred for life!"  Poor girl.  By the time we got back to the church and looked around, we found out that Ashlie had gone home with my sweet neighbor Tonya, (who is finding out that being neighbors with a crazy lady and her kids isn't such an easy job) and when we drove up to our house we see my sassy little Ashlie jump out of her car and start yelling and wagging her finger at us.  I don't know what she was saying, but it was pretty hilarious.  Tonya told me that Ashlie told her on the way home, "My mom probably doesn't even know I'm gone--she is probably taking a NAP!"  Ha!  All I could do was offer a lame apology, and laugh.  After all, Ashlie has lived with us for 7 years now, she knows her mom is one to forget things, (but this happened to be a first for me--I swear)!  Todd wasn't as amused as we were.  He got calls from several people in the ward, as well as one of the members of the Bishopric, and while he was meeting with a family at work, his phone was ringing off the hook. Oh my.  No one could get hold of me, since I don't take my phone to church.  I always thought that was a good idea (so that I'm not tempted to play Words with Friends during Sunday School).  Anyway, all's well that ends well right?  Ashlie even got out of doing Sunday chores, since I started having the kids clean up when we got home, and she says, "Umm...mom, you left me at church today, I don't think I should have to do any cleaning."  My answer? "Yep, honey you're absolutely right!"  I even had to sit myself in the repentance chair and apologize to her for what I did wrong. Fair is fair, right?  Since then, I have heard several of people's "I left my kid somewhere too" stories, which made me feel a lot better that I'm not the only mother out there who isn't on top of things all the time.  (Oh, who am I kidding, I am never on top of things)!  Do you have a story?  Let's hear it! My favorite was a mom that left one of their kids at Chuck-o-Rama and had been home an hour before the police called them!  It was in Utah--so she said it wasn't a big deal, which got me thinking that maybe this is not a problem with me--it's just a problem of having a few too many kids (dang Mormons-- we are just asking for trouble when we multiply and replenish too much).  I also saw a study this week that the more kids you have--the smaller their IQ (which explains a lot), and I'm pretty sure that the moms who have large families would probably flunk an IQ test as well.  Give us a break people--we're trying!  But I guess that's a topic for another day...

The next clue I had that I wasn't Mother of the Year, came a few days later as I was talking to my teenagers.  I was telling Erin that she needed to do her chores (for the millionth time in an hour), and she looked at me and said, "Are you kidding me mom?  Quit complaining!  Your life is NOT that rough!"  As a side note--don't you love it when your teenagers start throwing your words back in your face, and you realize how stupid it sounds when you say them?  I do. It's awesome.  Then I hear Emie chime in and say, "No, her life isn't rough, it's just monotonous and completely unfulfilling!"  Well isn't that lovely? (And incredibly true at times...HA!)  I have been noticing this trend for awhile now with my two oldest girls.  Emie is at the point where she is almost a Junior in high school, and starting to think about her future.  The thought of being a mother, or a housewife, (or both...*gasp), just absolutely terrifies her.  She looks at my job, and feels sorry for me.  In her eyes, I gave up my life when I decided to stay home.  I think she looks at my job like a prison, that holds me back from real success in life.  Despite the fact that I have tried to tell her that being a mother and a housewife was my CHOICE, I'm not sure she buys it.  It's hard for her to imagine that I was a good student, and could have chosen a different path, and done anything I wanted to.  All she can see is the negative aspect of being a mother (and let's face it...there are many, even when you're trying to be positive).  When she thinks of her future, she wants to have a job, and an education, and to do something of importance with her life, not just raise bratty kids who you have to clean up after and nag all the time.  I just laugh at her, since her attitude was the EXACT attitude I had when I was her age. It's amazing how much your life can change when a doctor lays a little pink baby in your arms, and you feel an amazing amount of love and responsibility for that child.  Good or bad, I have never regretted "giving up my life" (as she sees it), for my children. I have felt God's hand in my life as he has guided me to choose motherhood as my focus, and my profession at this point in my life.  I have always felt like it was what He wanted me to do.  I could have done anything with my life, but I chose to put motherhood and family first, at least while my kids are young.  Are there hard days?  Yes.  Is it frustrating sometimes?  Yes.  But it is also incredibly rewarding to see your children grow and develop and learn, and know that you are their main influence, at least for a time, on how they see the world. 

Then, on the other hand, I have my Erin, who sees things quite differently--but just as mistakenly.  Erin wants to be just like me!  Not because she sees what a great mother I am, or what a great job I do (again...*shocker).  She wants to marry a handsome rich guy, and stay home, and watch TV all day, eat bon bons, and let him take care of her!  There's no need for an education in her eyes--I only got 2 years of college in, and I am doing just fine, right?  When it comes to kids, she might have one, or two--but NEVER as many as I had.  She wants to stay home, have FUN, and enjoy life while her husband supports her.  The problem?  Her memory only goes back so far!  Is my life easy now?  Generally.  I have left the "baby stage", and most of the kids are in school.  We have enough money to buy what we need, and I am able to go to lunch with my friends, shop, or do fun things sometimes. (The last few years have put a real kink in that lifestyle by the way--we are back to scrimping and saving and working our way back up).  Has it always been this way?  NO!!!  What my sweet girl doesn't realize, is that my husband was NOT rich when we got married.  It took YEARS of struggle, and sacrifice to get to where we were able to make a comfortable living.  The first 6 years of our marriage, we had only 1 car.  I was home, with no transportation for most of Erin's childhood. Todd worked 3 or 4 jobs sometimes, and went to school in order to make something of himself.  When Emie was born, he wanted me to quit my job, and was willing to work all hours of the day and night to support our family!  Sometimes it would seem like we would only see eachother in passing!  I was exhausted with child rearing, and staying up at all hours of the night with babies and toddlers--and he was exhausted from working himself to death. The point I am trying to get Erin to realize is that first, not all guys be willing to do what Todd was willing to do to support our family.  I know how lucky I am to have a husband who feels that motherhood is of the utmost importance. He is incredibly supportive.  Second, life isn't a fairytale!  Just because we want a Happily Ever After, doesn't mean we'll get one!  Happily Ever After takes WORK--a lot of it!  Third, it's not an awful thing to have an ultimate goal of being a mother or a housewife--but you need to have that goal for the right reasons--not just because you think it's an easy life, and you won't have to work or go to college. Can you all picture her with baby #1?  Honey, babies are WORK!  Kids are WORK...sometimes the most frusterating, awful, rewarding, amazing work you will ever do!

So, there you go. I have two different kids, with two different views on motherhood that are both CRAZY.  One on one end of the spectrum--and the other on the complete opposite?  What in the world did I do wrong?  Juxtapose those two views, and come into the middle, and there is a perfectly healthy view of what Motherhood should be between them--but I'm not sure how to get them there, especially since whatever comes out of my mouth might as well be French the way they look at me when I talk to them about just about anything.  I guess, just like me, they will have to figure things out on their own. After all, the only training we get as parents is "on the job" training.  It's the best/worst job in all the world, and even when I think I have it figured out these dang kids go and do something else to screw up whatever theory I come up with.  The worst part of this job, for me, is the fact that you can never REALLY know whether you are doing the job right.  There is no measuring stick, no way to see if you're getting through, or if kids are learning what you mean for them to learn--and there isn't a point when you are ever DONE!  Even when kids are grown, I'm not sure you really know whether you parented them right.  Each time they make a mistake, each time they make a choice you don't agree with, you question whether you taught them right, or whether you screwed something up.  And they question it too.  That's why psychologist offices all over the world are filled to capacity with kids trying to get over what their parents did to them--even when they become parents themselves!  As I said before--there is no magical answer.  I don't see myself ever being Mother of the Year.  All I can do is pray, pray, pray.  Pray that if I can't get through to my children, that God will help me.  Pray that they will see what I do every day in a good light, and realize that everything I have done, I have done for them.  And most importantly, pray that I don't leave any of them anywhere...ever again.  Man, that was not my best moment.

1 comment:

ed said...

I loved the perspective your girls have. I totally remember thinking I was going to go to school and have a degree and have worked for a few years before I got married. Ha!
You're a great mom...some day they will both (all) realize all the things you do and you will be mother of the year for the rest of their lives.

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