|Cuddling my son when he was sick.|
Becoming a mother kinda blew my mind.
Even though my husband and I wanted that baby more than anything, it was still a shock to experience first hand...And I thought I had mentally prepared myself. Ha! :)
Though our first couple months were rough, now, we've fallen into a rhythm, and we're loving life with our son. Yes, there are still challenges (which life always has, kid or not!)...but, I'm happy to say, life is good! It's so fun to see this mini human grow and learn...and I'm grateful and glad that I get to be his momma. I love him so much.
In this mommin' journey, there has been a few parts which have been a little hard to get used to. One of these: there's not a ton of recognition for what we do as moms. No raises for excellence, you don't get your pic posted as "employee of the month," and you do the same tasks day in and day out...it can be hard to feel like you're "accomplishing" anything. Thankfully, my cool hub often thanks me for taking care of Hayden (I need appreciation in my life; yep, "Words of Affirmation" junkie here...from the Love Languages book, if you're confused) and OH how I love my baber's little hugs! THAT is some sweet validation.
But some days, I get discouraged.
|He's looking at the food he threw on the floor...Stinker!|
And, momma, He knows YOU are too.
He sees us for the good that we do, even our efforts that aren't recognized, applauded, or noticed by anyone else...and He's grateful for every act of love.
He cares about the little ways that we reach out to others everyday, both to people outside of our families and with our own kids. Every service is huge to him, because we are serving HIS children!
Once, after I made a clumsy attempt to reach out to someone else, and it fell flat--I prayed through tears that night, "Father, You know that I was trying to do good. I messed it up, but YOU know." Then...I felt complete peace. I felt so strongly in that moment that He DID know my heart! He loved me for trying despite falling short.
When I had a baby, and it seemed like I just couldn't figure it out: nursing, naps, night sleep, getting us to dr. appointments on time...why couldn't I do this stuff? And, to top it off, I kept being SUPER late to church. Like, an hour late. (Ha, or two!) One week, while driving to the church, I started crying (great...if I wasn't already a wreck, now messy, wet, mascara smudges were around my eyes). Exasperated, I told my husband, "I don't understand...I see moms with 3 kids and a newborn who seem to be able to handle getting to church! I'm not expecting 10 minutes early, but getting there for MORE THAN HALF would be nice!"
I had to take a chill pill and remind myself, my Heavenly Father loves me and knows that I'm still trying to figure out all the mom stuff. He sees my struggle and my effort, and... He just wants me to keep trying.
So I wiped the black mess off my face, took a shaky breath, and walked into church with my hub and baby...an hour and a half late. But WE WENT!
I'm so glad God loves unconditionally. His SON gave His life for us! For us, silly, imperfect, daily-messing-up people! And, yes, we all sin, we all do things that we regret, but, I think that most the time we WANT to do good--we just plain fall short.
Gratefully, at the end of the day, I can get down on my knees and ask God for strength to do better, then get up the next day and try again. The Savior's atonement can lift us and enable us to be better that we could EVER be on our own! When I couldn't get to church on time for those first months (or get through a day without ending up a crying mess), He didn't see me as a wreck. He saw me as His daughter who was trying to take care of a new babe AND go to church to worship and learn more about Him.
And that is such a small, silly example. As a mom and a person, I will keep falling short my whole life, in a lot bigger ways than being late to church. I'll say things I regret. I'll snap at my kids. I'll blow my top when Hayden messes with the garbage for the 100th time and nasty wet garbage spills across the kitchen floor. I'm sure when he flushes my toothbrush down the toilet, I'll probably holler. I will miss opportunities to say "I love you" to my husband and kids. I've already made many mistakes, and I've only been a mom for a year! OY.
But, thankfully I have my whole life to work at this and a loving Savior to lift and strengthen me.
And I have to remember that, just like you, I've also done a lot of good!
I think the trouble comes when I start wanting to do everything. I want to be a great mother and wife AND accomplish so much! But, I've had to realize...I can't reach out to every person in the world with a broken heart or anyone who's been mistreated, create famous works of art and teach incredible art classes, write a book that changes lives, be in Olympic-athlete shape, be a scriptural scholar, travel the world with my husband, and serve the poor in third world countries... all while raising a fabulous family.
Not only is there not enough time, but my brain would explode. (I wish I was a better multi-tasker! I get overwhelmed.)
But, what CAN I do? I can get to know my neighbors, make friends with those who are lonely or shy, and use this little blog to reach out to others. I can set realistic goals about personal achievements and hobbies, and fit them in, however brief, on a regular basis to recharge my batteries. I can consistently read the scriptures (even if it's only a couple minutes) to lift my focus and strengthen my soul. I can teach a few art lessons a week to help bring in some income (we're living off of student loans while my husband is in grad school.) I can do small, steady amounts of exercise and put less crap in my body.
And, most of all, I can affect the people in my little world by trying every day to be a loving wife and mother. I don't want to just make sure my kids are fed, clothed, and take a bath once in a while--I want to help them know that they are loved, to teach them to follow God, to do good to others and be be the best they can. I can read books with them everyday and show them the importance of working hard, by working along side them.
Some people don't think it's very prestigious to spend your life teaching children, but those kiddios grow up. When I influence my little family, like a ripple, those small things will result in great influence! And some day my children will be parents, too, and the influence will continue.
That's gotta be the point, right? We were all born to this earth, raised by parents who loved us (hopefully) and taught us to be good people, and now, we show our gratitude for what we've been given by passing it on, and doing the same for children of our own. It fulfills God's design for us. We have the amazing ability of giving life to children, then the important responsibility to teach them how to use that life. We have Jesus' teachings, not just for us, but to share. And who more important than our kids?
Any time we influence a child for good, the difference is exponential; they have SO many years to do good and influence others.
It can be difficult to keep the bigger picture in mind during the day-to-day. Nurturing these kids takes a lot of time and OHH boy does it take some patience. Like waiting for a tree to grow...it comes from a little seed and it grows slowly. That's why it easy to get frustrated, cause the fruits of our labors take time. No tree springs up over night. And with our kids, it takes a hundred, "This is how we share..." and "Please help your brother" and many times of helping them to pray (and then they say things like, "Help me to grow up and save the day"...my little nephew's prayer, haha!). It takes a long time to see the ripple effect. Then, one day, the tree is tall and strong, providing beauty and shade, and shelter. Our children will grow. The truths we've taught them by word and action, will circle through them like rings in a tree. They will leave our homes and have the freedom to make their own choices, but the foundation is there. And as they teach their children good, the influence grows. The tree reaches higher and higher. Small beginnings, great influence.
My son is my seed to carefully tend to; my best way to do the most good in the world. But there's a lot of years filled with less than glamorous tasks which are necessary to get him there. Cause it's hard to change the world, if you haven't learned how to talk or walk! Or if you never felt loved. If you don't know that God loves you and wants you to do good. Where do they gain all that knowledge? Moms and dads.
probably weren't thinking, "This child will change history." Even if none of our kids ever become the president or receives the Nobel Peace prize, if they live good lives and do good to others, that is greatness. Thankfully, in our mission to raise our kids, moms and dads are a team...with help from loving grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and teachers: people who see our child for their good instead of brushing them off as nuisances not worth their time. So the little tasks we do? God sees. The little kiddios we are trying our best to raise well? We are nurturing greatness. Every child. Because they are HIS.
So, when I get frustrated and wonder why I can't get the things done that I want to accomplish...I need to think, my son IS my number one. I can have hobbies and do other good things, but he's my main priority. And it's a tricky, life-long pursuit to find the balance. As, a wise momma blogger once said, we moms are people too--we have hobbies and hopes and dreams, many mommas work to make ends meet, and we need to enjoy friendships. It's a great thing to accomplish goals and continue to improve ourselves as people. But, it's our daily balance act. I try to pray and be open to those nudges that tell me when something else is getting more time than it should, when I have to make choices and cut-back. Cause I never want to look back at my life and see that I accomplished cool stuff, at the expense of my family.
The words of a scripture hit me so hard a few months ago when I was feeling like I wasn't making much of a difference. That morning, I read "Out of small and simple things, great things come to pass." That's it! And, a few weeks later, my sister shared a post by another blogger, who read the same scrip and it made her think of her daily tasks as a mom, too. Not only do those small and simple things mean the tasks that bring about the great accomplishment of raising a family; those small and simple things can be our kids! Our sweet little babes! Great things will come to pass by the lives of our children. They have so much potential! Look at how Jesus felt about children; He loved them so much. He saw their goodness and counseled us to be more like them. I'm sure he knew that they can throw fits (he had younger siblings, you know!) but, he LOVED them. He blessed them and called them to come to sit on his knee. I'm sure he didn't care about their hands being grubby. He felt them important enough to bless, and teach and enjoy.
So, our mission as mothers, and as anyone who has influence on a child, is a noble one! We get to help God in shaping and raising some of His children. That's why no small acts of kindness, to any of his children, goes un-noticed by Him. The moments when I truly see and love my child with none of the other distractions that come with life, I feel Heaven on earth.
I look up to so many women. My own mom is amazing. She raised 6 kids...and the first 3 came in 4 years! She is my hero. And now, she continues to serve her children as well as others, every day. I also look up to women who press on even when they're lonely, women who are raising kids while working outside jobs, those who are raising kids on their own, women who desperately want children of their own, and those who feel overwhelmed by the ones they have. Those who have health issues, those who deal with depression or anxiety, those who have trouble in their family...we can't know the secret hurts that the women around us are going through, or what lies in their future.
But, God sees.
He sees the tears when we're all alone and crying and snotting all over the place. We can tell him all about our pain. He sees our heartbreak when we are dissapointed by a family member, spouse, or child. He sees when we don't feel like we'll ever be enough.
But, our best IS enough, even if some days, that's not much! Especially in times of sickness, when you're just trying to get in those basic necessities, just do your best and let it be. He knows you are trying. There comes a point when all you can do is pray, then trust. The Savior will help us carry our burden. All we have to do is ask for the Savior's grace, and keep putting one foot in front of another. He will also send others to help us carry our burden. And, as time goes on, things will get better. Soon, we'll be happily walk along, enjoying our path with our little family, helping others as we've been helped.
Many people who live good, simple lives will never be recognized by the world. You and I don't know their name, but God does. And he cares. He's smiling down on every good choice, every hand we reach out, every diaper changed, every time we sing and smile with our baby.
So there are my thoughts. After all of this, I've concluded that even though I may never be considered influential by the world's standards, my daily labors of love will impact my kids forever. God sees my efforts, no matter how imperfect, and loves me for it.
And Momma, He sees and loves you too.
If you appreciated this post, please like/share with other mommas or future mommas! And, if you're a lady who loves to read/tell uplifting stories and wants to support other ladies, then follow along! We'd love to have you! :)
P.S. Mommas! I'd love you hear your thoughts on motherhood! How do you remember the importance of what you're doing?
P.S.S. Here are some amazing posts that talk about motherhood. Read em and weep! (I did!) A few times, we even came up with similar analogies and ideas...but, hey, it's nice to know I'm not the only mom who have ever felt this way! :) I think the "small and simple things" scrip has become the champion of all mommas everywhere!
Power of Moms: Big Things are Made Out of Little Things
A Holy Experience: The Habit of a Mother who Changes the World
Power of Moms: Your Children Want YOU!
Daring Young Mom: Drops of Awesome