25 February 2008

Am I gonna learn this lesson?

I've been so busy lately. Crazy busy. Our house is on the market and we are fervently trying to sell the one we're in. My brothers and I are caring almost exclusively for our youngest brother, who's moved out of my father's house (haven't gone into much detail on that one). He's in high school and in need of A LOT of TLC and guidance. My own children have their needs right now, ranging from educational to behavioral.

My coping mechanism has always been to keep myself busy. It adds to the stress sometimes, but it also gives me the outlets I need to stay sane. For instance, I've got 2 performances coming up - one in Utah in just a few days and a bigger one here in town in April. I rehearse twice a week, for an hour each time. My Whimsy Wipes (see my Etsy store) have taken flight. A local baby boutique called Hey Baby recently placed an order, and a company from Singapore has made a wholesale inquiry now as well. I do children's and maternity photography. I exercise religiously 5 days a week - running and lifting weights.

Sometimes this all comes at a cost. I'd be lying if I said I am just so amazing that I never drop a ball. I may cook less or clean less (although my children's balanced nutrition never suffers, nor does my house EVER look like a sty). My kids may have to play more independently than usual. My husband may need to help more around the house. And he's great about it. I think he and I are usually on the same wavelength and he acts as an extension of me. Without even asking, I'll come home to a clean house. It's such a relief to me that he's so in tune, because I'd surely be feeling like a loser mom/wife otherwise. His support is key,and maybe that makes a huge difference in what I'm challenging here.

I realize that I feel much more in control when my housely priorities are unequivocally tops. It doesn't change all that I may have going on, but it helps me think more clearly and I also feel better about myself when I don't put off those responsibilities. But it happens. To many of us, I'm sure. And for the record,I have do have limitations to what I would put off for an opportunity to pursue my talents... someone in need, friend or family member... But I have this inner struggle going on over the general issue of a mother's role in the family.

I've read Sister Beck's talk ("Mothers Who Know") from our last bi-annual LDS Conference over and over. I've tried applying it to my life, and gradually I am understanding her counsel. But finding how her counsel fits into my life has been difficult, as it has been for many LDS women.

I've never blindly followed counsel. I've always made it a matter of prayer. I've found solace in quotes from our church leaders encouraging women to educate themselves, to use their talents for good, to remember to meet their own needs and to raise families in partnership with their spouse. But in the context of this particular talk, "Mothers who know do less" goes against that grain. It implies that our lives should be simple and that they should be focused on our families. I'm all about family and they are the most important thing to me. With that I have no misunderstanding. But I would not be happy if I didn't feel free to pursue my interests. That is what makes me a whole person. I find a lot of my value in being a mother, but not all of it.

I was raised to be involved. To do. It's so much a part of who I am. And it is the one thing, the greatest thing for which I credit my mother. That is bittersweet for me, because it is also the biggest reason why many people do not believe, or understand, that she physically and emotionally abused my siblings and I. They see 4 intelligent, talented and successful individuals and cannot comprehend how we could have come from a dysfunctional home. Or they feel we should just "get over it" because it did not have such a significant impact on our lives that we haven't been able to rise above or "turn out okay". But I digress.

I see women around me who have forgotten themselves. They've followed the counsel to put their families first to the law and they've lost a part of themselves. They "played the flute at one point" or they "used to" paint. They don't have time for a girls night out. They feel selfish if they spend time perfecting themselves in any way. They come last. I don't think that's a mother who knows. That's a sad individual.

So I am conflicted. Is there a difference between being a fulfilled mother and being a faithful mother? I don't mean to simplify this topic, but the black and white of it is what I am concerned with. I'd really love to start a dialogue over this, so feel free to comment regardless of your viewpoint or religion. I'm putting on my suit of armor right now!

Technorati tags: ,,,,,,
,,

39 comments:

Amy said...

I think at times the line can be blurred. But in simplifying our lives that doesn't necesarily mean to drop parts of our life, KWIM? That we need to simplify all aspects(spiritual, personal,family). To really focus on the most important at the time. Not that we forget ourselves or our own pursuits, but that we don't overwhelm ourselves. I'm not sure I'm making sense. I have a lot of thoughts but still under the influence of cough medicine. :) I'll write more later.

utmommy said...

I think it's so hard to find a balance. I agree that it's important not to neglect ourselves. Moms need a "time-out", a break. And I don't think that's a bad thing. As long as we continue to do what we are commanded to by praying, reading the scriptures, etc. I think it is healthy to do something for ourselves and in many cases can help us become better mothers.

Lei said...

I guess when I hear so much focus on the homemaking aspect I feel like I'm being told to get rid of everything else.

Lara said...

Oh my gosh, Lei. I could have written this post and just substituted my own stuff for yours. My husband and I sat down and had a conversation about it last night. He feels I'm doing too much performing and teaching and photography, while I feel that I'm a better mother if I AM doing that stuff. That I would be too overwhelmed and unhappy if I didn't have that outlet in my life. I think he understands, and he's great about helping me out around the house, but the one thing you said that really jumped out at me was that you are happier when your housely duties come first. And I think that's how it is for me too. I feel like I've been neglecting that lately, out of mere exhaustion more than anything, and I need to figure out how to get that part back on track. One of my big performance things is over now so I have a bit more time that I should be devoting to the home.

My mission president wrote a great article in this month's Ensign on balance. He even said we do better when we do have other things in our lives...it's just discovering the right balance. But I don't think I could be the mom who only does mom things. I would go crazy and feel unbalanced. It isn't who I am.

My goal this year is to simplify...but I'm finding that simplification just means streamlining things for me. I'm not really giving anything up (I mean, I WISH I could give up things like laundry and dishes...but alas, who can?) but I am finding ways to make the things I have to do go more smoothly and take less time.

Anyway, sorry for the novel, but thanks for articulating what I've been feeling. It's nice to know someone else feels the exact same way and struggles with the "blurry line." Good luck figuring out what needs to happen for you, and good luck with your performances! Where in Utah?

Lei said...

I don't know about you Lara, but I get a lot of comments like "I don't know how you do it all". I always wonder if that is said with respect or with speculation. It is definitely one reason why I question myself.

Lei said...

One thing I've recently done Lara is cap my time. I say to myself, okay I have 30 minutes to practice today... and my needs beyond that are in the Lord's hands. Like in preparing for this recital. It's not like it was in college. I don't practice 3 hours a day anymore. Kwim?

An Ordinary Mom said...

I, too, have reread Sister Beck's talk over and over again to try and figure out how it best applies to my own life. That is why I am so grateful that we are all entitled to our own personal revelation.

As far as "mothers who knew do less," I think we all have to figure out what our own definition of "less" is ... including housework, lol! All of us women have been blessed with different talents in our life and I know for a fact that having a lot of energy and motivation to get things done is one of them. So if doing a lot keeps you happy and relatively stress free, then that is what works for you and your family. I know I alternate between those two modes, and it all depends on what season I am in in my life. Am I pregnant? Do I have an energetic toddler running around? What are my church and other responsibilities at the time? You get the point.

I also think that even though we all have very similar end goals and desires in this life, the way we will get to that point is different for everyone. And just because one mother does this, this and that doesn't mean every other mother has to be the same way. Too often we end up competing with each other and then beating ourselves up instead of learning from each other and being happy to celebrate our differences.

It also becomes too easy to judge others because they do something ... or because they don't do something. I know at times I judge myself as being lazy when in reality that is all I can give at the time.

It is all about balance and priorities.

And we all have to take REGULAR time for ourselves. Whether that be a girls night out, reading a book, painting, performing, relaxing in the tub, that doesn't matter. The point is to fill your own bucket so you have something to give your family.

And as far as people saying to you, "I don't know how you do it all?" I personally think it is a sense of awe and respect. You obviously have been blessed with the talent to get a lot done and to stay motivated and balanced in life. Good for you! I for one sometimes wonder how other women can do so much, but then again, I know there are different things I am doing in my life that they might not be doing.

Sorry for being so long winded :P!

Cocoa said...

"Mothers who know do less" is the part I'm trying to figure out as well. I have to remember that there is a season for everything and sometimes I have to yield my own selfish desires to what it is the Lord wants for me to do at the time.

I gave piano lessons for years - still want to- but I knew after my sixth child that I could not focus on what really needed to be done with my children if I kept using my afternoons to teach. It was extremely hard for me because I know I have this talent for teaching and felt like I was letting it go to waste. When I seriously took a good look at the situation with much prayer and fasting I knew that giving it up was something I needed to do. I miss it terribly but I am also content just teaching my own children for now until they get a little older and I can start teaching others again.

There are so many other interests I have other than motherhood. I find that allotting time to each one helps a great deal. Involving my children when they show interest in the same things also has been a wonderful boon (and a good excuse to keep doing what I like!). I also try and follow the 80/20 rule. Usually we can get 80% satisfaction from just 20% of what we are doing. Find those things that constitute the 20%, do them, and you'll already be 80% satisfied. Then the rest can be filled in with other interests. Does that make any sense?

You asked if there was a difference between being a fulfilled mother and being a faithful mother. I say there is not! I am more faithful as a mother when I am also fulfilled and vice versa.

There are so many good things we can do as women - too many at times. I think, at least in my own life, that all those wonderful things are just another way Satan is trying to tempt me away from what my duties are at this time in my life. I get caught up in all the good and forget to just worry about the best as stated in Elder Oaks's talk. When that happens I end up running faster than I have strength for and inevitably I crash.

Good luck on your quest to find the right balance for you, Lei. Don't you just love these stretching moments? :D

Lei said...

Lucy - I love your response. SO well articualted. I appreciate your thoughts and they help me to se emore clearlyalready what these words might mean FOR ME and me only.

Cocoa - I stopped teaching after I had my 4th. Music is still a part of my life, but no longer 3 nights a week and Saturdays. LOL! That sucked. (pardon the francais)

Jen said...

Lei-

It's good to hear from you. Like you, I struggle with the idea of balance. Right now is a time and season of my life where my DH has so much on his plate that I have cleared my plate to pick up the slack. I feel bored a lot of the time. I am focusing on my children. I know that it is important for them to have a parent who is very stable and consistent in light of daddy's hectic schedule, and its me by default right now.

I have had so many times in my life that I have been where you are at right now. Running from one thing to the next, everything being successful at once, and not sure where to direct my focus because everything is important and everything is going well. It's hard.

Elder Faust commented in a talk that you don't have to sing every verse of your life's song at once. I'm trying to figure out what my verse is right now. I know part of it is being the rock for my children while daddy chips away at his PhD. I know that when DH is done with school, there will be a season where I can really work toward accentuating my talents. Right now I'm using the balance of my time to do things that are boring, yet necessary. Things like tightening our budget, perfecting a debt snowball, and financial and investment planning for our future. Even though right now it seems very mundane to me, and most days I don't leave the house, I know that this is an important season for me and my children. I'm keeping a small spoon in each pot of my interests so I don't lose out on the talents I've developed but don't have time to pursue right now--and there will be a time and a season for them. Needless to say, this isn't my favorite verse of the song. I love being with my children, but I'm not used to being the lone adult so much of the time. But there will be plenty of other verses that are spectacularly beautiful and looking back on this special time with my children I know I will see the value of this verse in bringing meaning to the whole song.

Fulfillment...I think fulfillment comes through hard work, ie through faithfulness and self discipline. I know I do not want to be one of those women who "retires" with her husband and realizes she has no interests of her own and becomes absorbed in managing the lives of her adult children. So you do have to keep something of a spoon in the "self" pot, but sometimes the discipline to not dive right on into that pot all at once, at the wrong time keeps us disciplined enough to succeed later.

Hang in there. There will be a slower, more relaxing, more sane verse someday.

Blessings,
Jen

Lei said...

Eloquently stated, Jen. I appreciate that reminder from Faust's talk. Reminds me of "you can have it all,just not at once". And there is a time and a season for everything. There have been other times in my life where these things I am currently involved in did not see much success,or I did not feel driven to do them.

Melzie said...

You know, I think when I got a divorce, that above everything else helped me to learn who "I" was, and where I'd gone from that person. My mother helped some-- by forcing the issue, and the cold, horrible "slap" of truth by a friend who said she didn't even recognize me anymore when she came to visit our family prior to teh divorce.

Now, I make time for me. I have to. I've found that all in all, I am much happier for that, and because of this- so is my home. I think my biggest issue, in fact I KNOW it is, with my ward here, is how so many women are how I was. They do all enrichment activities during the day while the husbands are at work, so not to take away from them. And when they approached me to show how to do something-- all that was said is, "we'll have to wait for summer so you can."

I went to a bridal shower and in it we had to give the bride advice. Everyone's was silly- or fun. Mine was smiled at, but I meant it so seriously (and told her so in the card/gift she received,) but it was simply: Do not lose who you are, make sure you continue to grow, to explore, to learn, as a single woman, as a married woman and later as a mother.

All 3 NEED to exist, I think, to make a completely rounded, and healthy person.

Melzie said...

Lei: Never, ever, ever question yourself!! You know who you arfe, what you do, and how it works for you. No one else on this earth has any idea on what is best for you, no one.

Self-doubt, worse than mother's guilt for sure!

As for doing "less." I shall not go on and on over what I do- but I will say, I make sacrifices for my family- and in return they make sacrifices for me. Less is not always better, and it goes back to you/me knowing what's best for you/me. :)

Lei said...

Mel - thanks so much for the advice and support/encouragement. I really appreciate your words.

:)

Rachelle said...

Your post hit me hard and is making me think. As a working mom, I am away from my family so much as it is, but it's not really "me" time. I feel guilty for being away so much in the day that I put aside all my interests when I am home for their sakes. The only me thing I even do anymore is read for 15 minutes each night and check stuff on the computer. I've lost the rest of "me" for mothering, but yet I feel like I have to because I work. I'm not sure what the right answer is, especially for me. I don't do GNO, I don't pursue hobbies or other interests right now, I don't go to a gym to work out (although I'd like to) because that is more time from my kids. I keep telling myself there will be a season for that later, but maybe I am wrong in my thinking. I don't know, but you sure gave me something to think about!

Misty said...

I am going to come back a little later to read more and give you a comment full..... ya know, once I don't have screaming kids running a muck!

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Ok, I finally read the talk from beginning to end so I could comment. I've heard quite a bit of concern from women in the blogosphere wondering if they can do what this talk talks about but they always seem to focus on just one part of the talk. Just reading the headers alone I don't think she is saying don't do anything but stay home, have babies, and keep the house clean. She talks about being a leader, a teacher, and being strong. I think when we are showing our children the wonderful things there are to do in life like music, art, teaching, education, etc we are being good moms. I think we only need to worry about "doing less" when we find that we have become too busy to feel connected to our families. Sometimes we might not feel too busy or notice the disconnect but others in the family might, and we need to be open and willing to understand and meet their needs as well as our own. It's all about priorities. I've been putting a lot of things off until I could make them work with the priorities I've set with my husband. Now I'm starting to finally realize some of those things I've put on hold. I didn't give them up, I just let them wait while I finished more important work.

Listen to your heart and be willing to change if needed, and be willing to accept that maybe you are doing alright just as you are.

Michelle said...

Lei, you've brought up a wonderfully complicated topic, one I'm still trying to figure out.

I love being a mom and know its one of the divinest callings. But I'm realizing that I've lost a part of me, the just-Michelle part. My life has been solely revolved around being wife and mother. Both of which I love, so don't get me wrong, but something is missing.

I think we do get caught up in that and think that's all there is. But there is more! I do not want to be soley defined by being a wife/mother, but as a Michelle the person. It hasn't been easy taking a step back and finding the lost me, but I'm working on it.

I want to be a fulfilled and faithful person in everything I do and hopefully in time, I will find that balance.

Lei said...

Rachelle - I hope you can find the balance (in your favor), too. I can't imagine how much more complicated it is for you.

Ice Cream - I feel like I understand the other areas she mentions pretty well - nurturing, honoring my covenants, leading, teaching, being strong. But "doing less" has got me wondering about how to achieve a healthy balance that includes you in there somewhere. I know I am reading between the lines, but as I have pondered this talk, that is what my thoughts have revolved around. So obviously it is someting I need to focus on and better understand. And I want you all to help me do that. Lol.

Michelle - on the flip side there is finding fulfillment in motherhood first. Sounds like that is what you have done and need to look outside motherhood for ways to further enrich your life! I wish you luck! Nobody wants to be one dimensional, kwim?

Misty said...

I like every thing that I have read through on these comments.

My opinion (only) is that, as a woman, I have defined myself as a wife and a mother. I feel as it is my job (first) to take care of my children, husband, and home. Now that being said - - I fit what ever else on my plate that I can. I get out by myself, I sit down and take it "easy" in the evenings, I often enjoy girls night out. I do for myself, while making sure that I have done for my family first.

Over the years I had a lot of talents that defined me as a person BEFORE I joined the church. I've let them slip away.... mainly writing music, playing guitar, and performing. I'm slowly trying to implement those things back in my life, in a new light.

As for your childhood..... I feel the sting of your emotion as well. I, too, was that kid that no one could imagine being abused. My "parents" were church going educators. It was all in my head, right? There is ALWAYS going to be that person out there that lessons the importance or validity of your journey - - and I, myself, am still finding a way to turn from that judgment and find a way to continue fighting the good fight.... whether that other person gets it or not.

You are truly an amazing woman.

Kelwhy said...

Yes - exactly! Now, I have no clue who sister beck or the LDS or whatever it is... but, I actually just posted on this same subject recently - the quandary of a working mom...

(http://kelwhy.blogspot.com/2008/02/quandary-of-working-mom.html)

not nearly as eloquent as you - but some of the same issues. I want to have a full life, and I think it's important for my kids and family that I do have a full life.

Anyway, i'm not going to go on and on here - but it is so good to see other moms going thru the same issues.
Thank you!

SweetPea said...

Lei, I could have written almost the same exact post. I thrive on being busy, involved, and honestly, having a lot going on. Performances, teaching, comunity projects and organizations, buiding a house, sports...the list goes on and on. BUT...my house is always clean, and I feel like my kids' needs are being met. Like you said though, no one can juggle it all, and there are sometimes when some things just have to give. I also have a great husband who completely supports me, and without him I would never be able to do what I do.
That talk really hit me like a ton of bricks, and I approached it much like you did.
I have come to terms though, that "simple" means something different to everyone, and circumstances vary from family to family.
For me, if my home and and my children are happy and cared for, with all the love and attention they need, then I feel like I am able to add things for me. I also believe that children benefit from seeing parents handle many things--it's a skill to be sure. I am happy that my daughters will see that life as they know it will not cease when they become mothers--that motherhood is an extension of yourself, not a replacement of who you once were. They will see that I am a person with interests and talents, and that I can be a good mom and be fulfilled too.
I take it to mean that if you are so busy and involved with other projects that your home and family begin to suffer, then you need to cut back. I would give up any project if I felt like I was lacking in those areas--because, family is my highest priority. The lesson in this for me, is being wise enough to know when something has to give, and the courage to let it go.

Leilani said...

Misty - thank you. I know what you mean about how the gospel sheds new light on the purpose of our talents. I try to do what the Lord wants for me to do with my talents... not use them for glory but for the benefit of others.

I am a mother first. I say that all the time, to a lot of people.

And as for the abusive childhood which we have in common, I am always here if you want to vent about that some more. :)

Kelwhy - I'm anxious to read your post! LDS stands for Latter-day Saints (the Mormons). We refer to each other as sisters in our church. So this Sister Beck was a speaker at a recent conference we held. If you want to know more, just ask!

Sweetpea - It's tricky, but I'm beginning to see that when I do things in their proper order, I am blessed. The more I think about it, the more I equate it with being like a very eager student... the one who works extra hard and is extrememly devoted. That student doesn't want to just do enough, she wants to go beyond. And I think the Lord blesses those of us who operate this way; I feel like I have been blessed, anyway.

Mattsmom said...

WOW. So much of what has been said has hit home for me. When my first child was born I felt as if I had "died". It was a bittersweet occasion for me. On one hand the real me...the one who loved to go go and go some more was no longer. I could no longer be the one who took classes and had a full time career. On the other hand something beautiful was born...a new mother. I treasured my son like no other...but it was still hard.

It took me awhile but I slowly learned who the new me was and I filled the void with improving upon my talents as well as creating new ones.

By the time my daughter came I was okay with being "Just a mom" as some would put it.

I don't think that sister Beck's talk meant that we should give up who we are to be "moms". I think she meant that we need to evaluate ourselves and where we spend our time, then take appropriate action to make us "moms who know". I think if we were to give up on our talents and interests we would lose what makes us individual.

To use an analogy for life...I think that sister Beck meant that if we are asked to teach a Relief Society lesson we should study the lesson well, prepare ourselves for presenting it, and present it to the best of our ability. But we don't really need to provide the fabulous center piece and individually hand-frosted and wrapped cookies with a little note for every sister in the ward.
So it is with our lives. If we feel like we are killing ourselves to be "supermom" it is okay to do less.

That definitely doesn't mean that we should give up what makes us "us" to be moms.

Lei said...

Mattsmom -ah yes, after my first I thought I'd never look or feel normal (read: myself) again! Thanks for stopping by!

Melzie said...

I think I am feeling that dreaded guilt.

Rachelle: I think as working moms we need to stick together. I also think, that for you it's different, your little ones are sooo little, mine is almost 10- such a difference in toting him around to wrestling & me going to take a class at the same time, than you going to do the same and needing to pack diaper bags, etc. Ya know? When N was a baby- I did next to nothing (we'll ignore the relationship issues) because I just would not steal time away.

But now, he's older, he's on his way, and I am supervising him. Basically- we've had the time that meant the most, and slowly he's spreading those wings and going on. He's my one and only (anothe rpoint to make, hueg point) so I don't need to wory about 3 more running around me.

I guess I am pretty lucky in this respect- gosh, another reason to be thankful for non-reproductive genes, ha ha!! I have that balance, and it's fab!

On to the abuse factor. Ever read SECRET? I leant mine out, and never got it back-- need to. It's amazing how many people I find in the church who have been down the roads I've traveled. I don't talk about it hardly ever... but, I do know that it played a HUGE part in my "past self" when I was trying to figure out what/who I was... if that even makes sense...

Lei said...

Mel - Thanks for the book recommendation. Yeah, I think we are conditioned not to talk about issues like abuse in the church... it's rarely addressed, church leaders are not equipped/trained to deal with it,etc. Also,a lot of members think it's something you move on from; it's a simple matter of forgiveness/turning the other cheek. It is SO NOT. Thta is a permananent part of me, you, Mosty and any other person who's been abused. That thinking places the responsibility for resolution squarely on the victim's choulders.

Lei said...

Thta=that
Mosty=Misty

And I need to go to bed! Lol.

Lei said...

missed one... choulders=shoulders

Night!

Lara said...

Lei...thanks again for posting this discussion.

just read through all the comments and I love everyone's insights. It really is all about finding the balance that feels right for you, and knowing that your children and husband and home come first. After that all other activities will fall into place.

It makes me think of the way my students will cancel or even quit when I know I can't handle them that day. I feel like it is a tender mercy. On the flip side, I always have just the right amount of students in my studio...just what I can handle, and it does change from month to month. Yet another tender mercy.

I love what you said about capping your time. For sure there is no way I can practice 3 hours a day like I once did, I'm lucky if I get ten minutes in sometimes! But I feel the Lord blesses me in my endeavors anyway. I think He wants me to share my talents, and it blesses my life, my children's lives as well as others' lives in the process.

As far as doing less, I think there are many unnecessary things I do that can be cut before some of the other stuff. Goes back to Elder Oaks' talk on Good, Better, and Best. That one actually stood out to me that conference more than Sister Beck's talk did, but is in a similar vein.

And, it's obvious that most of us women deal with this. Makes me feel better, and I know that I can always have some really good advice and sympathetic ears. :)

Lei said...

I'm going to go back and read Elder Oaks' talk, Lara!

Nettie said...

I haven't read the other 30+(wow!) comments, so I am probably repeating, but I just wanted to say that I think you are a perfect example of how to balance all of this. Yes, our children need quantity time, as well as quality time. But, they also need the example of a mother who strives to be the best she can be at all she does. You do such a great job of that!

Lei said...

Oh nettie - you are so sweet.

And I made about half the comments. Lol.

Happy face said...

One thing I'd like to reinforce that others already said is that you can have it all, just not all at the same time.

When I was working and single, I couldn't be a mom. When we were in serious financial binds, I couldn't come and go and was stuck at home for the first time in my life. Now that my kids are a little older (11 and 8), I can leave them home alone on occasion.

Now I've made another choice: I homeschool. That makes certain things less available to me right now, but that will change too. We make choices all the time about what activities we'll have the kids participate in and what we as parents will do. Are there things I don't do that I used to do? Absolutely. Do I miss them? The ones that I do, I'm adding back in as I can. And when it gets to be too much, I reassess it all. Sometimes I back off for a little while and then take it back on.

Someday my children will not live at home, and then my third life will begin. Who knows what will happen then, and sometimes I take time to think about it and its possibilities.

So can you be a faithful and fulfilled mom? I think so, but you have to be ready to change as needed and sometimes to give up things for a season and then pick them back up if they are still important. Or figure out if they are important enough to maintain in some form throughout.

BTW, for the abuse, I highly recommend Carol Tuttle's book, Remembering Wholeness. It makes a huge difference in all areas.

Lei said...

Happy face - Thank you for your insight and especially the book recommendation!

Megan said...

I am one of those mothers who have forgotten who I am and what I'm capable of. I do feel guilty if I take a few hours out of the week for "me" time. I can see that I would be a better mom if I did take time out to do the things that make me happy, instead of always trying to make my family happy.

So I applaud you for being willing to find yourself in other things outside of your family. You are amazing that you have so much on your plate and you're able to excel in som many ways. Thank you for your example. It has motivated me to do something for "me" this week!

Lei said...

Megan - well, I applaud you for making a positive change! Good luck, it's tough sometimes but well worth it.

Lucy said...

Hey Lei, looks like most of what I think has already been said but something struck me when Sister Beck spoke. I think she had power in her words and at the very least, I hope it forced us women to really look at how we spend our time and how we mother.

There is no magic formula for the best way to spend our time. I think like most things within a family unit, the details are best left to those within it. For me, I knew that I waste a lot of time. I don't have a need to go, go, go. In fact, my biggest obstacle is wasting time. The things that are available for me to do, right now, while I stay home with my children, are not the things that give me pleasure. I do all the "take time for yourself" things that you read about in books. I take the baths, and I meet with friends, and I write on my blog, but I think if I were honest about it, and just doing something for ME, I'd work outside the home. But, after much prayer and tears, I know that I shouldn't. that's not what my family needs. And I think that answer was a valid one.

So, I make do. Somedays I absolutely hate what I do, and other times, I look at my children and gasp at how fast time goes. Sister Beck's talk taught me that I need to have faith that my sacrifice will ultimately bring me joy.

Oh, I could write a book. It's hard to leave a comment. I admire women like you who do so much and share with many, and I can understand how any comment about "how do you do it" may seem like a backhanded compliment. My question isn't how, because if I got to work, I could get a lot of stuff done to, but rather "how do you stay motivated to do it".

I think you are incredibly introspective, and have no doubt that you've consciously decided how to spend your time. I feel strongly that you ARE a woman who knows.

Lei said...

Lucy - I think you should (write a book). That was powerful and moving, just the way you said it! And thank you for the compliment. How do I stay motivated? I've always had an insatiable desire to succeed. I guess I'man overachiever. A lot of it is the result of having a demanding mother. But it is also in my nature to want to experience all that I can. One intimate detail - my patriarchal blessing counsels me to put 100% into everything I do. I try to live by that. I also try to be selfless in how I choose to spend my time on my talents - allow it to benefit others. So I've found a lot of joy in giving or by sharing them; it's a way of service (i.e., my recital in April is free - I won't get paid for that performance). I believe that's why we are blessed with talents, to give with them, to share them. They bring fulfillment, but that's not their primary objective.