My other blog

My other blog Mama Thrift

A snapshot of my life as a mother of young children

On Saturday the 24 July 2010, I was asked to present a talk for our ward Relief Society Womens Conference. I was to give a snapshot of my life as it is now as a mother of young children. I was asked to share my challenges, highpoints and to end with what I am grateful for. Upon the request of my husband, I am posting it on here for our future reference.

This is my family

Show photo and introduce family.

Earlier this year I asked an older friend of mine how she got past the Ground Hog Day feeling? You know like the movie where he wakes up to the live out the same day over and over again. That’s sorta how I felt. Overwhelmed that everyday was generally the same. I was overwhelmed that everyday was the same routine, same chores, same four walls, and little adult interaction, and unfortunately little money to play with! 

Well my friends answer to my question was “do you blog?” So I became a blogger. Basically I keep an online interactive journal of sorts. When I had my third child I let up on writing in my journal but since keeping my blog I’ve realised that my life is actually eventful and there is humour to be found in it. I’ve also realised that it’s in my challenges that I learn and grow or eventually laugh the most (in retrospect of course)

So what are my challenges?

Firstly, I’m tired all the time! I rarely get an uninterrupted night’s sleep as all 3 boys wake for various reasons. The older ones keep trying to get in our beds and Bunny still wakes. Sleep deprivation does funny things to people. I often think I’d like to have a secret bed where no one can find me. The other day we had Monkey and Moo Moo in our bed. I got so uncomfortable that I lay on the floor. Hubby decided he would rather be near me. It turns out so did the boys. So here we all are on the floor while a good bed lies empty.

Challenge 2.  Everyone wants Mummy’s attention at the same time. So it’s amazing what I can do with only one hand because there’s often a child in the other. Sometimes I don’t have any hands because all three are on me at once. Dinners are severely lacking on those days.

The kids don’t like Hubby and I having conversations. They literally tell us me to stop talking so they can be attended to. Lately Monkey says ‘Mama Stop doing things’ because he refuses to play on his own. Or if Moo Moo is sick he gets you to nurse him all day saying ‘Mummy I NEEED you”. And Bunny is down right dangerous, I’m sure he thinks he has the skills of a 3 year old.
The other day I just couldn’t please everyone, so I wrote numbers on pieces of paper and gave each child a ticket and told them to wait until I called their number out. It reminded me of the Woollies deli section. It was a bit of a novelty for the kids and worked ok.

Challenge 3. Last Sunday Bro Tang said in his Sacrament Talk – The work is never done, Mothers know this. My mum has a book titled “The Washing is never done”. It talks about how the washing will never be done unless you go around naked because you are always dirtying the clothes you are wearing. Well I agree, the work is never done. I’ll be cleaning one corner of the house while my boy tornados are destroying another.
Two things I listen for, if it’s quiet (then someone is surely unravelling the toilet paper etc) or if there is too much laughter, I have been mistaken to think oh they are getting on so well (e.g. when I found them putting Nappy Rash Cream all over each other when its lights out).

Challenge 4. I can get lonely sometimes as we are often homebound. Society has changed, fences are higher, and neighbours are different. We are all busy. My boys are social but sometimes I just don’t know where to go. Three active boys can be hard to watch at the park on your own or even at someone’s house. There are days when all day someone is asleep and the moment has passed to go out. Lately sickness has not helped. Someone is often infectious and we always seem to be in quarantine.

When I do go somewhere it can be a huge task leaving the house. It amazes me how long it takes to pack everyone up for the day, especially if I need to take lunch etc. But I can do it.

Challenge 5. There’s a thing I call Mother’s Guilt that is so destructive. The realisation of the weight of my role as a Mother can often be daunting. I can have anxious feelings where I doubt my abilities. I worry til I’m feeling sick in the head:
  • Was I too critical or expect too much?
  • How could I have prevented their sicknesses?
  • I shouldn’t shout.
  • I was too angry.
  • Do they feel loved enough?
  • I’m not a good enough example.
  • I’m stuffing up their formative years.
  • Are they having enough engaging activities to stimulate their minds and senses?
  • Are their diets good enough?
  • Do I focus on the gospel enough?  ETC ETC ETC

Challenge 6. I’ve lost a bit of myself and I don’t know where mummy stops and J starts. Mothers sacrifice and that’s important but I’m sure there is a balance I just gotta figure it out. Somehow I still think I want to be Priscilla Perfect but with a little more humility (inside joke for sisters who attended the Friday night session of the conference).

Challenge 7. Did I say I was tired? I have good children but they are really active boys and egg each other on like you wouldn’t believe. It’s like everyday is a sleepover party with their best friends. Some days I feel like I’ve run a marathon of sorts where I am pushing myself every step of the way and the last leg (or crazy hour dinner, bath and bed) is the hardest. I remember that earlier in the day I promised myself that at night I would do some creative activity. But I am so worn at night I plonk in front of the TV. AGAIN! Some nights I stay up late just so I can be on my own. Because Groundhog Day starts again tomorrow.

There are My Highpoints
My joys are the simple things but they fill my heart completely. They are not like the pleasures of the world. It’s the joy in my posterity.
1. The blessing of having young children is you get to live life all over again but you live it through your children. For example I love all the Firsts. You know first words, first steps, first bikes, first time in Primary, first time they go on a bus, the first time they see a special animal at the zoo.  Monkey is our most excitable and he says things like ‘I can’t believe it’ ‘I’ve never seen this before’.

2. I love to watch the brotherhood my sons share. Their bond is beautiful and gladdens my heart. It makes having back to back pregnancies and breastfeeding worth it because they are best friends.  For example over a year ago, at night I would often find Monkey and Moo Moo had pulled their bedding off and were curled up next to each other on the floor.

3. I love Family Home Evening. I especially get a kick out of Baby Bunny who will stand up the front and copy whoever is conducting or praying. The best is when he pulls strong poses when we sing Nephi’s Courage.

4. I love after Family Prayer we hold hands and say Families are Forever, Families are Forever and then we do several group hugs at the boys request to squeeze harder.

5. I love how the kids make us laugh. Moo Moo is particularly funny. We’ve been praying for a rental house in “xxxxxxx” suburb and every time we say “xxxxxx” suburb he laughs. Then Hubby said shall not be named and Moo Moo laughed “Shall not be named”.

6. I treasure how my boys love me unconditionally. Their smiles, hugs and kisses melt me. Oh and when they say they love you or thanks mum for a yummy dinner off their own accord it’s so special.

What am I Thankful For?

  1. Well the obvious of actually being blessed to have children and a husband too. Especially grateful Hubby is a hands on Daddy that teaches and plays.
  2. Thankful for second, third, fourth and so on chances through repentance.
  3. Thankful for the gospel and especially modern revelation. I read so much about parenting from the leaders to keep a proper perspective in a world that would warp truths about the family.
  4. Thankful for Mother’s intuition.
  5. Thankful for answers to prayers
  6. Thankful for a supportive extended family.
  7. Thankful for good primary leaders who love and teach my children.
  8. Thankful for good friends. I want more good friends.

Sisters we need each other. In the words of Sister Patricia Holland, wife or Elder Holland,
“The perspective I have gained is that no group of women has cornered the full market on concerns. There seem to be plenty challenges to go around.  – and I hasten to add, marvellous blessings to be found.”

I had an experience of when I was praying out loud as I drove the car. The answer came as I spoke my own words out loud. “I don’t want to regret another moment. I want to live in the day. I want to look back and think oh I had great times not just hard times. It’s my responsibility to get a better attitude and apply the old adage of finding joy in the journey.”