Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thinking out loud or "Where'd she go?"

Warning: this is a long post about thoughts I have been struggling with for a long time now. I'm sorry it's so disjunct. This post is more therapy for me than anything else.

About a year ago I went to a Relief Society meeting where a talk was given about feeling good about yourself. It was a great talk and I keep the handout on my fridge. One of the suggestions was to focus on things that you are good at. It made me ask myself what am I good at? At the time I was failing school, my house was a complete and utter disaster, my patience with my beautiful girls was short, I wasn't being a good friend and I wasn't happy. I've even lost the talents I used to have like playing my flute for example. I couldn't come up with anything. I got nothin. In fact I have struggled with this question ever since that day.
I didn't always have this problem. As a teenager I was a confident girl who was involved in a lot of different organizations and clubs.  I had dreams. I knew where I was going and had an idea about how I was going to get there. I was involved in my community, loved playing my flute, and sharing my talents with others. I didn't really care if I fit the standard mold. I knew who I was and I was completely happy with it.
Why is it that I was more self aware at that point in life when the normal person is usually trying to find themselves, then I am now? I now struggle to connect with people where before I wouldn't have thought twice before speaking to someone. I don't play my instrument anymore. I'm not involved in my community anymore. When did I start settling with the thought that I may never get to space and float weightless. My teenage self would never have given up on that.
When did I start to change? Where did that girl go?
While I was pregnant with my third, with these thoughts in mind, I tried to learn how to cross stitch. It was fun. But developing a new habit takes time. Extra time is not in abundance for me at the moment. So it is really, really, slow going.
Then I found out if I wanted to continue school with a teacher and a classroom to go to, I would need to start back right away or lose the progress I had made way back when. So I went back to school.
You might say well school is something you're good at, but I really struggle with it. In fact Miley Cyrus' song "The Climb" is my new favorite guilty pleasure. I love the words so much and I am able to relate especially when it comes to school. At times I know I can finish my degree, but after struggling so long with school there is this constant doubt that I have to keep pushing from my mind. It is frustrating how long it has taken me to get through school, but "it isn't about how fast I get there, or what's waiting on the other side, it's the climb." I just got to keep trying and not give up even when sometimes I lose the battle.
Then today while I was at the doctors with my two babies, Bug wanted me to read Whinnie the Pooh and Tigger Too. I have always had a soft spot for Tigger. He is so energetic and friendly and my Dad used to sing the song to me when I was little. I love my Dad. In the book Rabbit asks Tigger why he's always bouncing into people and Tigger reply's with "bouncin's what I do best!" He doesn't let Rabbit's criticism get him down he just keeps doing what he loves and does the best.
I may not be able to be as energetic as Tigger but I can bounce back from trials and do frequently.

"Our Greatest Glory Is Not in Never Falling, but In Rising Every Time We Fall." ~ Confucius

Maybe that's the thing I'm good at? I don't know.
Maybe I just miss that girl with unabashed dreams and goals. The girl who didn't have a doubt in her mind that she would achieve them someday. That girl that was so good about reading her scriptures and saying her prayers. That girl that had it all figured out.
But I shouldn't sell myself too short. I have achieved some of my biggest dreams. I am a wife and a mother. I sincerely believe that being a wife and having the gift of motherhood are the greatest opportunities in this world! And I love being a part of my husband and my girl's lives. I wouldn't trade this opportunity for a million paid trips to the space station. I have felt the greatest happiness by being with them. I am a better person because of them. I just want to be so much better for them. I just wish with all my heart that I could excel at something that is considered typical in the role of a mom. I often wonder if I ever will. I want to find some kind of footing in this role I have chosen. Is that so bad?
Getting back to the basics would help I'm sure. Oh and find some hobbies that don't involve school.
I think school is an expensive hobby. It's a good thing it's a goal and not a hobby, right?
I can do this. I just gotta hold my head up high, be humble, and someday maybe one of these struggles will be a strength to me (Ether 12: 27). Tomorrows a new day and I'm not alone. First and foremost my Heavenly Father and Savior are always with me, I have a fantastic team of cheerleaders that include my husband, my girls, my family and my friends. All is not lost, I may be a different girl with different interests and priorities than I once had, but that's ok. I just got to discover the person I am becoming.


Cynthia Mann said...

Wow, a husband, 3 kids, going to school, making an amazing Valentine's dinner for your fam... no wonder you have no time for yourself!!! I've always thought you are such a confident person, always very friendly, and a great mom. I think one of your strengths is being able to smile and laugh, that's what I think of when I think of you. Good luck with everything! (BTW, when Kaitlyn saw your wedding picture in the top corner she said, "Cinderella?" You look gorgeous!)

Brenda said...

Oh, She is still there. She just needs to know that her talents are being directed in a different direction for a while. And that she is very normal to feel this way, raising children is challenging,of little reward for the first several years, exausting, draining, and the most important thing she will ever do. She is doing an amazing job, even if she is not perfect (no one is).

The story is told that in ancient Rome a group of women were, with vanity, showing their jewels one to another. Among them was Cornelia, the mother of two boys. One of the women said to her, "And where are your jewels?" To which Cornelia responded, pointing to her sons, "These are my jewels." Under her tutelage and walking after the virtues of her life, they grew to become Gaius and Tiberius Gracchus--the Gracchi, as they were called--two of the most persuasive and effective reformers in Roman history.
E. T. Sullivan once wrote these interesting words:
"When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. He doesn't stir up his earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts. Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home and of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother's heart, and she puts it into the baby's mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies." And those babies, I should like to add, will become forces for good or ill, depending in large measure on how they are reared. The Lord, without equivocation, has declared, "I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth" (D&C 93:40).


Several years from now, you will receive great rewards for dedicating so much time to raising your beautiful family. But, go ahead and find some fun hobbies along the way, that make you happy.
Love You!

Britt-Marie said...

Thanks for sharing that Brookeh. I've felt that way a lot lately too. :) I agree getting back to basics and simplifying is a good a good place to start.

Becca said...

Probably one of those difficult things about motherhood is that is all consuming! It is a 24/7 job! It fills our days, nights, thoughts and prayers! One thing I try to remember is that this time will pass. They need me all the time right now, but there will come a time when they will all be in school and I'll be able to read my scriptures in silence. The thought kind of makes me teary but it is true. Nephi said it, "and it pass".
I also know that it is so important to fill your bucket. You have to do something for you. The trick is, like you said, to figure out what that is. Also, getting to know yourself is an important part too. You have done something already that is big and that is writing about it. Journal writing/ blog writing or just writing is so helpful.
You of all people should never say you aren't a good friend. Just knowing you are my friend and you send me birthday cards is huge to me.
You are a great mom and a great friend. Keep on bouncin'! Love you dear!

Allison said...

I think we all have times like this in our life. Where we aren't quite where we thought we were going to be years ago. We know we have something good, but it isn't was we were expecting so we feel as if we have or had failed. I have experienced this myself many times. I did something a few months back where I decided to focus on myself and figure out where my talents were. The scriptural meaning of the number 40 is sanctification. So I took 40 days and everyone of those days I found a talent I possess. I also asked others for help. I also tried to go back to the basics of scripture study, prayer, and fasting. It helped me learn to see my worth again and helped me remember that even though what I wanted isn't what I have. I still have something. Good Luck! Know that you are loved and that even though you really don't see it you have amazing amounts of talents. Being a mother is just one of them.

Hillary Richards said...

Brookeh~ I love you! I know that I only see you and your life from a distance but I know the "old you" pretty well and let me say that I still see a LOT of her in you.

You are task and goal oriented. You just need some goals that you will enjoy & achieve sooner than later. You've got the long term (family goal) down and your a fabulous wife and mother.

You have always been an amazing person who puts a lot of pressure on herself but it's OK to change things up and be happy.

I know how wonderful you are and I wish I was more like you, in EVERY way. I miss you, I can't even think about you without a big smile coming to my face. That's what you do for me!

Lesley said...

It is always interesting to me to hear how other people view themselves and how hard they can be on themselves. I think you are very talented! Even if you don't think these are talents, I do! You are very warm hearted and get along with almost everyone. Seems like everyone you know likes you and likes to be around you. You are a good listener. Your smile is contagious! You have a strong testimony of the gospel and are always willing to share it. My list could go on and on but I will stop now and just say I love you. And you have many qualities that I admire and I think you are doing a great job!

Lexie said...

Even though my heart goes out to you, I love this post! It's probably a selfish love because about a year or so ago (as a new mom of 3, similar to you), I felt the same way and sat down at my computer and wrote an essay about how I felt like there was nothing I was "great" at. I was talking with a friend today about that very thing - it's hard to feel "great" at doing laundry, cooking (if you're me and your kids say dinner doesn't smell good, etc), or keeping house with 3 whirling dirvishes going through it all day.

I still wonder about it all sometimes, but as I put my thoughts down, I wrote about how I loved school and singing, but I chose instead of pursuing those further to be a mom (which often I stink at). I wrote, "It is more important what I choose than how perfectly I can do it. If I choose the Lord and His plan for me then every time I win, even if the fire alarm goes off while I am cooking dinner."

You are doing such an incredible job as a wife and mother. Even though it's hard to feel perfect in these things, it is because the stakes are so high and you are doing such BIG things. I am so impressed that you can do school at the same time because just being a mommy is such a big and sometimes consuming job - I am so proud of you!
Tonight I was reading about how the Apostle Paul asked to be healed and the Lord basically said no, and Paul was fine with that becuase he knew that he grew from his weaknesses. I think that is how I feel with my stage in life right now. The things I want most are weaknesses for me, but by turning to the Lord and continuing to try, those things can become my strengths (I have to believe that!)Look at the patience, multi-tasking, and teaching that you show every day in your home - wowzers, you are awesome!

I don't have lots of answers, but I know that as you look back years from now and see what these beautiful girls and your Michaelangelo have become because of you, these worries will seem minimal, but until then, give me a call and we can laugh at how we're trying to make our weaknesses our strengths.
I love you so much - keep fighting the good fight and know that I know that you are so talented and amazing! (sorry for the long comment!)

jenica said...

i know that this is really, REALLY late in coming. but know this, we all struggle with this. ESP when our kidlets are little because it's a constant flow of yucky and overwhelming moments with tiny bursts of joy that act as a tiny breath to push us through. it's overwhelming! but your talents are dying, they're just in a winter state for right now while you nourish the ones that can't nourish themselves. i always wanted to punch people in the face that would tell me, "just hang in there, it'll get easier" because when you're in the trenches of young motherhood, there's no end in sight. but here i am, holding your hand, assuring you that there is something good coming. you are so loved.



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