Choices

 

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Every day we are all faced with multiple choices. These choices may be small, but they do have the potential to have a large impact upon our lives. Some choices may not be that important, while others are monumental.

I thought once I had made the choice to be a stay-at-home mother, the decision to be with my kids was over. I was dead wrong.

Every day, I have the choice to be “at home” or to be “at home with my kids”. When just “at home,” I meet the basic needs of my kids while my cranium is somewhere else. When I am “at home with my kids” we visit the moon, have picnics on the family room floor, and read books until we all fall asleep in bed. Small choices. Big outcomes.

My choice to “really be here” is a hard choice to make each day. A lot of times I find that while my body is here, my brain is somewhere else. But, the choice to really be here has a permanent effect upon my growing kids.

The challenge of “really being here” while simultaneously leading a somewhat productive life is an every day challenge. I wish my laundry would magically fold itself and all of my dishes would permanently stay clean so I could have more time and energy for my kids.

By mothering, and mothering well, we as women can still find satisfaction, confidence, and fulfillment in our lives. Elaine Heffner said, “The self-esteem that has been found in new pursuits can also be found in mothering.”

In addition, Marjorie Hinckley once said we will never feel fulfilled as women until we give all we have. Regardless of our various seasons in life, if we do not give it our all, we will feel empty and unfulfilled.

All too often, I take these moments of feeling unaccomplished, and I reach for something new to fill the empty gap. Because the new something is not approached in a healthy manner, it all too quickly starts to rule my life. My kids start to “get in the way” of my success and the little messes make me mad.

Then I try to simplify. I start to “give things up” again, which hurts and makes me sad. Finally, balance is once again restored. I am happy at home. I am in love with my kids. Then I get off track for a couple of days and I start another hobby or project. The cycle continues.

When my life is simplified, things run more smoothly. Dinner is not so stressful, clothes get folded, and those sticky monsters that hide on our kitchen floor are frequently removed with the mop. Why is simplification so hard to maintain?

Marjorie Hinckley also said the following:

 “We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are.” 

That quote hit home. I love the statement, “We have to learn to be content with what we are.” Does that shake anyone’s world with mine?

I want the maturity Hinckley refers to. Sometimes it is hard to find contentment when I feel as if I live in sweatpants and my main form of entertainment is Bob the Builder, but that is who I am and it is where I am at. While my social schedule does not resemble what it once was and my hips have expanded, I love it. I want the maturity to understand that simplifying my life does not make me any less of a person.

I love my life. I love that there are days in which I don’t get anything done. I love pancake nights, finger-painting my little boys’ faces, and kissing the dirt off of their cheeks. I love pajama days and walks to the park. The preconceived notion that my life needs anything more than that is a farce.

QUESTION:  Are you frustrated with choices you have made vs. what the world has to offer?

CHALLENGE: Learn to be content with who you are.

 

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Comments

  1. Melanie Vilburn says

    Submitted on 6-14-2010 at 04:32am
    Angie,

    I printed out a number of paragraphs from your article this week for our English Parenting Discussion Group. The ladies loved it! I even gave it out to a number of ladies at our church here. Way to encourage being MORE than just home! Awesome!

    You remind me of my gutsy, way-fun-to-be-with sister-in-law in New York who grew up in a home where messes were fine. The parents just did a super job teaching follow through. That’s definitely the way to go!

  2. Kristine says

    Submitted on 6-7-2010 at 05:28am
    Such a terrific reminder. We really fill our children’s love buckets when WE are the ones to suggest a trip to the moon instead of them begging us to come join them. And we feel a sense of deep satisfaction when we have truly been “at home with the kids.”

    I have woken up countless times and told myself that today I am going to be the perfect mom. Speak kindly. Make inviting meals. Spend quality time with the kids. Have the house totally picked up when husband comes home. etc. I usually set myself up for failure when I do that (most days). I feel bad because I’ve tried to clean all day and the house is still messy at the end of the day. Today I think I’ll just plan to be at home with my kids and keep it simple. (I’m hoping this will get easier and easier as I totally implement Mind Organization for Moms.)

    Great article. I needed that today!

  3. says

    Submitted on 6-7-2010 at 02:32am
    I love the encouragement we’re giving each other to simplify our lives. I am not in a spot right now where I can have my children in a ton of extracurriculars. I rarely leave home, if I can help it, because my two-year-old does much better without the temptation of escape, and I breathe better when I’m not worried about him running off somewhere (we need to buy a leash!). Sometimes I wonder if our lives are TOO simple, but then I realize that we are having some amazing experiences at home that absolutely “count.” Friday afternoon, we sat on the front lawn to eat homemade zucchini bread and play with our neighbors’ three kittens. I looked at how happy my children were and thought, “Are they missing out on essential childhood experiences?” Sometimes I overcomplicate things in my mind, but when it comes down to it, these little experiences of happy times together are what matter. Now if I can just remember that every day! Thanks for your great article.

  4. Laurie Brooks says

    Submitted on 6-6-2010 at 11:35pm
    Angie, I am also a mom to three young boys, and this is exactly what I am grappling with this month. Thank you for this article! Agree!!

  5. Amy says

    Submitted on 6-6-2010 at 08:03pm
    Thank you for this wonderful article. I would love to be more mature, and be more content. Great advice!

  6. says

    Submitted on 6-6-2010 at 06:07am
    I think I could just cut and paste Tiffany’s comment and add my name to it as I felt the same way she did when reading this. I also LOVE the Elaine Heffner quote you used, it is one of my favourite quotes and I have often reminded myself of it when I’ve started to question my ‘successes’. Your article was a great reminder that no amount of ‘worldy’ success can compensate for failure in the home!! Thank you!!

  7. says

    Submitted on 6-5-2010 at 03:52pm
    Wow. That article really touched me. And yes, the phrase, “We have to learn to be content with what we are” really does hit home to me too. You are so right, there is a definite difference between ‘being home’ and ‘being home with the kids.’ Thank you.

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