Motherhood and living in the moment

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

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"Every part of raising children is humbling. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the Remember-When-Mom-Did Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language – mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, What did you get wrong? (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald’s drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?....  
...But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."
~Anna Quindlen on motherhood
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Motherhood... it's tiring, emotionally draining and a thankless job... and I would go so far as to say that it truly is one of the hardest jobs on the earth.  

There are moments in the course of my day when I am in the thick of things --I feel that I am running on auto-pilot, i.e. running from one baby to the other trying to soothe crying tears, changing diapers, keeping feeding schedules, racing across town to pick up Noah from school only to have to sit in the car pool line forever, trying to get dinner made amidst the chaos of three tired and needy kiddos, bribing Noah to get his homework done....yada...yada...yada...all you moms out there reading this know the routine all too well.  

And yet, it is in these moments where I feel the most stretched emotionally, spiritually, physically.  Where I completely humbled by this calling.  Where I realize more than ever I cannot do this job alone.   I'm so thankful to have my dear husband who is a constant source of strength for me. He listens to me and freely offers counsel and advice when I need it.  I also need help from above. Comforting reminders that come as answers to my prayers that it's all going to be okay and I can do this sacred calling.

I feel a deep sense of indebtedness to the Lord and I am reminded of this when I kneel in prayer in my weak moments.  I think this is because motherhood did not come easy for me. Infertility caused me to have to wait a bit longer for the blessing of motherhood to come my way.

The wait was grueling---the failed adoptions were immensely painful for both me and Jody---but I feel in my heart it has all worked out the way it was supposed to.  The long wait we had for these beautiful spirits to finally make it to our home puts the trying times now as a mother in perspective.  



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It's a juggling act most days.   Literally.

There are days that I lose my cool...I'll freely admit it.  Where if I have to listen to Noah throw one more temper tantrum because baby boy has touched his fire truck---I literally feel like throwing the darn thing through the window!!

Days when my hands and arms ache so badly from my RA (rheumatoid arthritis) that I just want to cry.  Moments when my body is aching so much that it is literally painful to just pick up the babies.

Yes, there are even those really bad days like I had recently when I heard baby boy belly laughing in his room during his nap time and to my shock and horror when I walked in --- I discovered he had pulled his poopey diaper off and launched it across the room.  The stench was awful...so much that when Noah walked in he did the full-gag and almost threw up.  Lots of drama folks.  It took me an hour to get the room cleaned (and sterilized) and scrub all of it off of baby boy.  Not the most pleasant mommy moment at all.  Oh man, it's in moments like that as a mom that I just want to lock myself in my bedroom and escape the noise and chaos for a few hours....

But I can't....I know I have to push forward even in the frustrating and hard times because I love these beautiful kiddos more than anything and I know they rely on my for everything.  I also take comfort in the fact that Heavenly Father has entrusted them to me and Jody to care for and love.

I often reflect on Anna Quindlen's writings about her own journey as a mother -- particularly when I'm having those hard days... how she describes that as frustrating and hard as it was at times, the good times far outweighed the trying times.  How she wishes she would have "lived in the moment" more....worried less about getting things done and treasure the time she had with her kids more. I think this is a powerful reminder for any mother that is in the trenches---what will our children remember more when they are older??...the elaborate dinner mom made or the time mom put down what she was working on and played and laughed in the backyard with them?  

And so it is---amidst the chaos that is now my life--- a 40-ish mother of three small children (we're still praying we'll be able to adopt baby boy)....I am trying to take Anna's advice to heart and be more cognizant of the "day-to-day" moments I have to engage with my children.  To not focus so much on the frustrating things that go wrong during my day.  But instead, to take note of all the simple and precious moments I get to experience with them as their mom. To do what I love to do....capture as much as I can through the lens of my camera and include them here as I write all about our special times together.

So one day, we can hopefully all look through these family blog books I print each year with fondness and get a kick out of reading about all their childhood stories .... the everyday moments we shared together as a family while they were so young.

And speaking of everyday moments I hope to always remember....I had one of those recently with Noah and baby boy. We were having a lazy Saturday at the house. The kids had all been sick with the flu, so Jody and I decided to just stay home and let everyone continue to mend.

Jody and Taylor were taking a nap after having fallen asleep watching Winnie the Pooh.


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The boys were getting stir crazy being stuck in the house, so I suggested that the three of us head outside to the backyard to hang out.  Noah loves being outdoors and baby boy especially loves to tag along anywhere Noah is playing.

I decided to bring my camera along and I just plopped down in the middle of the yard while they took off.  I had so much fun watching and listening to their giggles, laughter and watching them explore together.
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So thankful for this time I was able to spend with my boys and for the invaluable lessons I am learning each and every day as a mother.

xo,
jennifer


P.S. Today is my sweet Daddy's birthday....We love you so much Dad and hope you have a wonderful birthday!! Wish I lived closer and could give you a great big birthday hug.  :-)

6 comments:

  1. Such a sweet and poignant post. Those trying days are the ones we look back on now many years later and truly laugh about!!! Precious pictures.

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    1. Thanks my friend...hoping all is going well for your daughter in Texas and that they're treating her right there in Waco! :-)

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  2. Jennifer...I so enjoy reading your blog. It always brings me back to the present and I find myself reevaluating my priorities. I'm very thankful for that! What is the name of the book you mention about motherhood? I've seen where you have quoted from it before I would love to read it. Need to read it. Thanks!!'
    Luanne

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    1. Thank you so much, Luanne...I think we all have so much to learn from each other and the personal journeys we experience here in mortality. :-) I love Anna's books and how down to earth and honest she is about her life...here is a link to her non-fiction books:

      http://www.annaquindlen.com/non-fiction.html

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  3. Well said, Jennifer! Oh, that hits so close to home for me, as I'm sure it does for all moms. Yesterday was "one of those days" for me. I did lock myself in my room at the end of the day; my husband told me to, and he finished off bedtime with the kids while I exhaustedly fell asleep fully dressed at 7:45. Bless him. We are both lucky that we have husbands that help, and, as you said, so blessed to know that this is a sacred calling from our Father in Heaven, that He has entrusted us with, and that He helps us. Your story is beautiful. And so is your family. I really hope and pray that you will be able to adopt your baby boy!! He is so precious. Your pictures are darling!!

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  4. P.S. I just saw your email address. Are y'all originally from Virginia? I am!

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