Monday, January 17, 2011

Even if the home *looks* perfect…(final)

june 007

From the beginning:

During the summer I wasn’t feeling so hot about myself. I was stressed about putting our house up for sale, and then maintaining it to be “showing ready” at all times with three boys at home on summer vacation. I was uncertain about our future—my husband kept talking about moving out of state for a promotion. And to top it off, I was gaining all the weight back that I lost for my cruise :{

At least my house was perfectly clean. {the photo above}

I was in need of some personal therapy. So I began a self-improvement and re-adjustment period to help me get back on track to feel and be better at my role as a mother and as a wife. I bought a stack of books, and also turned to some ladies whom I am close to that I saw as examples of success in those areas.

For this last installment of this series, I turned to my friend KH. It is no joke when I call her “Super Mom”. (Although she would adamantly deny such a title). But really she is. This woman has pretty much been through almost any trial imaginable for a mother. She knows the pain of losing an infant, she knows the faith necessary when holding a cancer-ridden one year old, she knows the loneliness with a husband serving over-seas, she knows the struggles of being a full-time mother of five children WHILE earning a double degree. She understands the pressure of being the spiritual leader in her home. She is amazing. She carries it all with the most humble, loving and cheerful countenance. I adore her. You will too.

Here is what she shared with me:

Five things as a mother that promote peace, harmony, etc.

1.  Take time for me.  This seems really selfish and I had a hard time with this when my older kids were younger.  In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I hired a sitter before L**** was born.  My family helped out a little, but mostly, I just didn't go anywhere or do anything.  This resulted in extremely low self esteem and I found myself easily overwhelmed and frustrated at the monotony of my life.  At least once a week, I do something by myself (go grocery shopping, to a movie, a bubble bath, a LONG drive, etc.).  This really helps me to gain perspective and I realize that, while being alone is fabulous, it is not something I would want every day for the rest of my life. 

2.  The menu board:)  Feeding our families takes up so much of our days that this helps eliminate some of the mealtime stress, making me a happier person.  When mommy is happy, everyone is happy.  I also ask my kids for their input on what they would like to have which gives them an opportunity to make choices and have a say in family affairs.  I could not do this as easily at 5 p.m. when I'm trying to start dinner.

3.  One on one dates with the kids.  It amazes me how much my kids love spending time with me, especially since I clearly remember hating my mother by the time I was 10.  During the school year, I try to have one date a month with each kid.  Sometimes our dates are fun things they choose, and sometimes it's just running an errand alone with me.  During the summer, since we have a little more time together, each of my kids gets four dates.  L**** still remembers dates we went on almost a year ago!  "Dating" my kids helps me to see who they really are.  Untainted by sibling rivalry and an utter disdain for daily responsibility, I get to see their little personalities, their likes, dislikes, hopes, and dreams.  It's awesome!

4.  Ask specific questions.  Often we say, "How was your day?", "Did you have fun in Primary?", "What was your lesson about?"  This type of questioning either involves short answers or too much memory.  Things like "Who did you sit with at lunch today and what did you guys talk about?" "Did you color in your class today?  What did you color?"  This has really helped as my kids have gotten older because 1.  They are used to me being all up in their business 2.  They are comfortable answering questions and offering up information and 3.  THEY KNOW I WILL LISTEN!

5.  Be myself.  I felt like my mom was this all-powerful, all-knowing, supreme being that lacked human tendencies.  I saw glimpses of the real her when she would get together with her brother and sisters, but the rest of the time she was pretty stale.  I want my kids to know ME!  They know I love to talk, I'm pretty funny, I love to dance and sing, I'm a dork, I like things to be clean, I LOVE food, I love to learn, etc., etc., etc.!  The more they know about me, the more comfortable they are with me.  They also know I make mistakes and I often point out that I'm not perfect, that I've never been a mom before, but that I'm still the boss:)

So, that wasn't really brief, but the good news is that these same five things are also the things that make my relationship with my husband better.  We tend to have more issues when we haven't been on a date, when I haven't taken time for myself, when I'm not acting like myself, when I haven't planned ahead, or when I'm asking generic, obligatory questions about his day just to check that box. 

Thanks for asking as this has been therapeutic to think about these things and I have silently resolved to do better.  Hope this helps and remember that you're good enough, you're smart enough, and gosh darn it, people love you:)


Thanks, KH (big hugs!)

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The Wade Family said...

Thanks for posting! I think we can all definitely relate! I appreciate the tips!

Ok- here's a question.....
I try really hard to take time for myself. I really do. Typically, I am a morning person. I LOVE getting up early, getting to the gym, reading, whatever. However, I currently have a nursing 6 month old who doesn't always sleep through the night and my 4 yr old daughter is always up at daybreak. So because I go non-stop with them from the early morning, to spend time with myself I end up staying up late. You know - blogging, creating handouts for my RS lesson. Actually reading the RS lesson, having a conversation with my husband, etc. Staying up late obviously makes me tired in the mornings, then I go all day, stay up late again to get a few things done. etc.... its an endless cycle.

I'm not sure how to combat that. Like today- I'm SO grumpy! I'm exhausted, the baby got up a lot (he's teething), my daughter was up at 5:30, I didn't get to go to the gym, I'm feeling frumpy.... Gosh, I hope you know what I'm talking about. HELP!!!

(I'm really tired, so I hope all of that read ok. haha. )

sarahellenwade @ gmail

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"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. "

-Margaret D. Nadauld