Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day Slideshow 2015

I heard this song a year and a half ago and knew it was for Mom. It's message is the perfect way to describe this incredible mother of mine. She is strong, kind, good, faithful, and so loving. We couldn't love you more, Mom.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mother of Four...

Being a mother of four a lot. Something about four kids makes me feel a little like I've been hit between the eyes. Every day. All the time.

Have you heard the Jim Gaffigan sketch about having four kids? "Do you want to know what it's like to have a fourth? Just imagine you're drowning...and then someone hands you a baby."

Jim's right. She's super cute but with the entry of Little Kate into our family, I've sort of lost what little control over the house and kids I might have ever had. Now we're just surviving.

Funny enough, there has been research published stating that mothers of three children are the most stressed out. The research says that once you hit four children you just give up and give in to the chaos. Most mothers of four embrace the chaos and just hold on for the ride.

I don't think I fit the study. I definitely feel like four is more stressful than three. Perhaps it's the age of my four kiddos. At this point, no one can tie their own shoes or get their own drink (without spilling) or get dressed (in matching clothes, anyway). No one notices the messes around them, let alone cares to clean them up. And no one can help with the baby, other than to tell me she's crying or occasionally hold her under supervision.

Lest this sound like a whine-fest I have to say, my prayers every night are filled with gratitude to Heavenly Father for giving me four beautiful, amazing, interesting, sweet, delightful, and eternal Spirits to love. I realize that each one of my little ones is a miracle and a gift. I wouldn't trade them. I wouldn't un-do any of it.

However, I've had to seriously re-define my version of success and remind myself, over and over and over again, what matters most.

On Saturday I dropped by my parents house and talked to my dad for a few minutes. I asked him what he'd been up to that day. He had mowed the lawn, edged the yard, fixed the sprinklers, attended two baseball games, made church phone calls, and caught the end of the BYU Rugby championship--all by 5:30 PM. Then he asked me what I'd been up to all day.

 My response, "Well, I got dressed. I got all the kids dressed. I fed everyone. I exercised for 18 minutes. I fed the baby and fed the baby and fed the baby. And I kept everyone from killing each other all. day. long. And I scrubbed the sand box and water table.

Yep. That was it.

I laugh to myself when I think about my calendar during graduate school. It was literally filled completely from 8 AM to 11 PM in half hour increments. There were classes, meetings, study sessions, practice sessions, lessons, performances etc. Lots of "important" stuff. I felt so useful and accomplished. I would fall into bed every night exhausted but satisfied.

Things are so different now. I sometimes feel discouraged wondering what I even accomplished all day. Dishes? Laundry? Sometimes not even that. My dad told me about a super-star BYU volleyball player who got married and had twins. She said in an interview, "I had to simplify my goals. For one year I decided if I read scriptures, attended the temple, and cared for my twins, that was success."

Even that sounds a bit out of my reach.

I'm learning patience and faith in new ways. Learning to view the day as successful if I gave to my children. Dressing them, feeding them, reading to them, laughing with them, listening to them, pushing them on the swings, bathing them, and loving them are the new rules for success. I'm trying not to look for ways to get things done in spite of them but to find joy in the work of motherhood with them. It's tough to feel successful when this work is so unmeasurable but I'm trying.

I rather abhor selfies but I think this one tells the truth. I don't look great or even good, mostly just tired. But, it's me and Kate spending a little quality time together. And in that moment I felt peaceful and joyful. So, here's to more "success" in doing less.