"experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." -randy pausch

Sunday, March 26, 2017

meat from lunch stuck in my teeth {for all mothers everywhere, or for anyone that can see}

{please note the meat from lunch stuck in my teeth. thank you.}
what is a mother?
i am different.
in the book of moses it talks about how adam and eve's eyes were opened.
so they could see things more clearly.
and every time i've changed as a person,
i feel just like that.
like i know a little bit more.
and i understand a little bit more.
and i can never really go back to how it was before.
like when we struggled with infertility.
those were hard years.
i know the look in a woman's face sitting at the 3rd baby shower she's gone to in the month.
watching everyone pick out names, and set up nurseries.
i know the look of that woman fighting back the tears, 
trying to be happy for everyone around her who's pregnant. 
i know that look because i've been that woman.
and when i got pregnant for the first time,
i never forgot what it felt like to be the woman who couldn't.
and it made me a better person.
it made me a woman that saw more clearly.
these are the experiences in our lives that give us the experiences to be whole.
even though it feels like we are missing the pieces along the way.
in the most unexpected way, 17 months ago,
i became a mother that worked from home.
i didn't plan it.
i didn't want it.
and for the first 7 months,
i swore i wasn't even doing it.
it was like i was ashamed to be doing it.
my friend christy told me once that we all have a stick,
and the stick has two sides,
but most of us only want everyone to just see the one side.
part of me felt like if i did this work from home thing,
that everyone would see both sides of my stick.
and that made me feel like i wasn't a "real mom" anymore.
at least not the way i had defined it for so long.
and then one day, i woke up and realized 
that there was something really amazing about doing it.
and if people saw both sides of my stick,
so be it.
because i saw more.
i knew more.
the painful part of it of course
was knowing what it felt like to do it.
because now i knew the look of a woman who forgot 
to drop off the plates, cups, and bowls for teacher appreciation week.
{i heard they ate on napkins that day, and it was no big deal, 
and really i hope that was true.} 
after i got off of the phone with the school secretary that day, 
i consciously apologized in my head to all of the working moms 
i've ever misunderstood in all of my years of being a stay at home mom.
i know the look of a mom that realizes the book report is due tomorrow,
and it's 10:24pm. 
the mom before would have never let this happen.
yep, i get it.
and i hate that i get it.
because i didn't get it before.
and now i'm different.
and i can see better.
sometimes i wish i didn't see as well as i do now.
because what i see most clearly is the person i was before,
and sometimes that can hurt the person that i am now.
you know?
so last night after feeling like i almost needed to cry about it 
{i'm talking about the working mom seeing better thing here},
sean said to me very lovingly, "what is a mother anyway?"
because the way i mother has changed.
i can see that better now.
the core things have stayed the same: 
1. make them feel safe.
2. make them feel loved.
but what about all of the other rituals in between?
the ones that used to define me.
and made me feel confident in my mothering.
the way i used to do it.
a mother nurtures.
she loves.
and above all,
she makes her children feel safe.
this is what i told him.
it made me not cry,
and in the great words of marjorie pay hinckley, 
"i'd rather laugh than cry. crying gives me a headache."
it just made feel good. 
i wasn't laughing, but i wasn't crying,
because i'm still doing those things.
i'm still being a mother.
it might look differently than before,
but i'm still a mother.
i always feel like crying when i've been gone working.
even if i'm working on my couch.
i thought i used to know what mom guilt felt like.
but now i see more.
and sometimes it's a lot to see.
but it makes me better.
and i know the look of that mom.
anyone still with me here???
have you ever been surprised at what you say to yourself 
when you are doing something you never knew you had opinions about?
i've been wrestling with these thoughts i've had. 
about myself. 
and about being a working mom.
and it's been eating away at me to write about it.
because i've wanted to vomit at the thought of writing about it.
maybe because if i don't write about it,
i don't really have to think about it.
but i'm always thinking about it.
i HAVE to write about it.
so i sat there last night thinking about all of the things that i love doing as a mother...
wearing an apron to make dinner,
having a snack ready for the kids after school,
singing songs at bedtime to my children,
reading them stories,
and tucking them in each night.
braiding maxine's hair.
practicing piano.
being the room mom.
meal planning.
pretty much a lot of stuff i can't always do as a working mom.
this is my wrestle.
i've struggled with how to make it all look exactly the way it was before,
with it being completely impossible to make it look EXACTLY the way it was before.
and i think i'm finally starting to settle into just letting it look how it looks,
without worrying about how it looked before.
kind of like when you have your 4th baby,
and the family is changed forever.
and it takes a year to work that new baby in, but somehow you get a handle on it,
and you're more experienced as a mother than you were before.
you figure out how to shower, do the laundry, make the dinners,
and get the homework done.
some days that's pretty, and some days it's not.
but you still go on.
and you see more.
it makes you better.
it makes you more whole.
and the moms with 3 kids don't get it.
you're different.
not better than them.
just different.
because you see more.
we had a 5th baby, and it's name was plexus.
most people don't get to see something like that.
it's a lot of see.
and deep down i'm grateful to see it.
because i know that god brought this into my life for a greater purpose 
than anything i could have ever imagined.
but sometimes it's hard to see something that a lot of people have never seen.
it still makes me better.
not better than them.
just better than i was before.
and it still makes me more whole.
because i see more.
that looks different because i am different.
which i'm pretty sure is what god has wanted all along.