Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Bloom Where You're Planted"

I'm 31 years old, and this move will be the 25th time in my life that I've had to move. I moved 9 times during my childhood, between birth and graduation from high school. When I went off to college, I moved 8 times while there. After college and since marriage, I've moved 7 times, at least 7 times to different cities. I did move one time that I didn't count when I moved from one apartment to another in the same complex just after getting married.

I remember one time moving as a child. I was between 5th and 6th grade, approaching my 3rd move in 3 years. For that move, we actually moved back to the same school as we had been in 3 years before. I remember my mom telling me that when moving, it's best to "bloom where you're planted". In other words, make friends and live there as if you'll live there forever.

There's something to be said for that. It really does make living in a place much more enjoyable than when you don't bother doing that. I've moved so many times that I've clearly done it both ways--blooming where I've been planted or just biding my time until the next move. But when you bloom where you're planted, it sure makes moving oh so hard.

This is one of those times. When we left our last apartment in 2005 and moved into this house, our first home, we were planning on staying here for a at least 5 years. Our plans were changed slightly when we decided to rent out our house at the end of 2007 for 18 months while my husband finished school. Then our tenants decided to move out sooner than we had previously arranged and we moved back here. That was okay, because we've been planning on staying here even longer all along.

But plans change. Oh, how they always change! My life has not gone at all the way I planned it or necessarily even wanted it to go. Most of the time, that's all right. Most of the time, it's not so hard to adjust to the change, to bend with the wind as it blows, so to speak. But there are occasions where the change, especially a more sudden change, is really difficult, painful even.

When we moved here, I tried hard to "bloom where I've been planted". I've gotten involved in the ward. I've tried to attend every activity that I possibly can. I've tried keeping up with my visiting teaching. I've joined the ward choir. I've fulfilled my callings. I have served when being asked to serve. I have made some great friends and brushed lives with some absolutely awesome people. I'm very sad to be leaving this ward at this time. This would have been a good ward for my children to spend their childhood. I am so sad at the thought of leaving those behind with whom I've tried very hard to cultivate friendships.

The prospect of moving and starting over fresh is always enticing to me. I'm not saying this is a bad decision or something I don't want to do. But with moving always comes sadness. Today I'm feeling that sadness.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Era of Television

What did men do before there was television? It just seems to always be on whenever my husband is home, which leads me to wonder what did men do "to relax" after work or to pass the time when they were bored (they probably were too busy to ever be bored)? When the children go to bed, the TV goes on and stays on until we go to bed. The only time I have his undivided attention is while we're driving somewhere together and all the children are asleep in the back of the car, or they aren't with us. Which is why it's so important that we go on regular dates.

Although, have you noticed, that in practically every sit-down restaurant from here to Timbuktu, they have TV's playing sporting events? We've gone out to dinner for something special, like our anniversary, to a generally nice place, and my husband ends up spending the time watching some sporting event on the TV's there. Even though my husband means well, he can't stop himself from watching whatever is on that screen. It's so distracting!

I really wonder what life was like before television. What did men do before there was television? Read the newspaper? My husband doesn't really read stuff like that, so I can hardly imagine what that would be like. I guess that could be annoying in its own sphere, but as of right now, I'd be delighted to catch him reading anything!

This is not a gripe about husbands, just a thought about the all new ruler of the day--television. How did it come to be that the TV rules the activities of the day? I remember a time not too long ago in this house when we arranged our evening schedules based on the shows that were on. I've lost interest in that recently. I find I am much more constructive with my time when I leave the TV off. I am able to keep the house cleaner, read more, and spend more quality time with my family. I cook better meals and just have more time in general. I have a hard time getting my husband to see things that way though and realize that even he would get more accomplished if we left it off more than not. I think that there are good things about TV, but sometimes it's too easy to just turn the TV on and tune out everything else in life.

Is this something anybody else has experienced?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Women

I LOVE this movie. My SIL gave it to me for Christmas this past year and I had never seen it. A few weeks ago, I was looking for something to watch while my husband was at work one night and ran across it, still in the plastic. So I pulled it out, popped it in, and now it's one of my favorite movies. So well done. So many parts that leave me totally laughing or just nodding in agreement.

So what's a movie that really speaks to you?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Why Sundays Are the Hardest

I loved Sundays when I was young. They were truly a break from the chaos of the rest of my week, a day of rest and peaceful thought and reflection. Even when I would be busy with callings in college or my singles ward, Sundays were the best days. I didn't do homework, housework, or watch T.V. on Sundays. I tried to invite the Spirit by listening to peaceful music and reading good books and magazines. I would go to church, listen to the speakers (even taking notes!), attend Sunday school and Relief Society, having read the material beforehand. The afternoons would be filled with a nap, visiting teaching, a dinner with friends and roommates, and then possibly a fireside in the evening. I would emerge from such a Sabbath feeling rejuvenated, energized, and ready to start a new week.

Fast forward to today, an example of a typical Sunday.
5:15 a.m. I hear a door slam shut and realize that I don't get to wake up at 5:30 and shower before the children get up as planned. When I go to check, I find that 3 out of my 4 children are already awake. I bring two of them into our room (one in the bed with Daddy and one in the bathroom with me and leave the other one to cry in her crib).

6:00 a.m. I am ready for the day and start preheating the oven for the cinnamon rolls. Then I clear the dishwasher out and prepare the pot roast, potatoes and carrots. The cinnamon rolls are done, so I gather the children to their seats in the kitchen.

6:45 a.m. I realize that I'm supposed to be at the church at 7 a.m. for ward choir practice, so I hurry the children along. They get down from the table, get dressed quickly, and then we are out the door. Only to realize that the garage door is not working, and the light is not turning on. I call on my husband for help, he groans and gets out of bed and opens the garage door by hand for me, then he goes to look at the breakers and I leave for church with all 4 kids in tow (he joins us there later).

7:25 a.m. We arrive at the church, and the children sit on the pew and are actually pretty well-behaved while I practice on the stand with the choir. After the choir practice, I sit down with the children and spend the next 15 minutes before church disciplining and quieting them, taking them out a few times even before church starts.

8:00 a.m. Church starts. I spend the next 1 hr and 10 minutes going in and out, in and out of the chapel with 1, 2, or even all of the children. Finally, my husband arrives about 20 minutes before the end of the meeting. We end up taking all the children out to a room and sit them down and lecture them about their horrible behavior. I try to go to Sunday school but just can't pay attention, same with Relief Society.

11 a.m. Church ends. We all go home to a roast in the oven. We make the final preparations and eat lunch. Put kids down for naps. I lay down, unable to stay awake. I doze on and off for the next couple hours while the younger children sleep and the older ones play Legos and my husband does his home teaching.

3 p.m. Husband leaves for work. Children are all awake from naps now. They spend the rest of the time running around and I try to engage them in quiet activities, so I can read or do something similar to what I used to do on Sundays, but to no avail. We end up turning on the preschool channel Noggin and they watch that. Usually I go to choir practice, which is at the director's house, from 3-4 after husband leaves for work, taking all the children with me, but I couldn't face it today.

5:30 p.m. We eat a small supper of cold cereal and fruit.

6:00 p.m. We get in pajamas and clean up the house. Then I put the baby to bed, after which, the older ones brush their teeth and then I read them books and they all go to bed (7:30).

Now you can see the drastic change in how my Sundays go. I sure do miss those old days when I could really enjoy my Sabbath Day. Now that the children are down to bed, I will probably take a bath, read something and enjoy a fraction of what I used to enjoy all day. I know the day will come in the future when I will get to have that calm of a peaceful Sabbath again, but right now, they are chaotic and leave me feeling completely drained and worn out and not ready to face another week!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I've Been Cursed

Well, that's about all there is to it, I must have been cursed. No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, my children have just decided that the day starts at 5 am. I've tried rewarding them for staying in bed until 6, punishing them if they don't stay in bed until 6. They even have a digital clock in their room so they can see the 6 and aren't supposed to get out of bed until that first number is a 6. We are going to putting up blackout curtains sometime soon, we have them. But, they aren't working for my daughter in the next room, who still wakes up at 5 am. So I doubt they'll do much good in the boys' room either. If I want to shower or anything without them running through the house playing and screaming (and waking up Daddy who needs to sleep late since he gets in so late--the hardest part is keeping them quiet enough to not disturb him), then I have to be up before them, and 4:30 is just too early. My children get regular naps and have always been on a pretty tight sleep schedule, but no matter what sleep training is suggested for their wake-up time, nothing works. And for some reason, they wake up all bright and eager and energetic to start the day, and I can't figure out what the heck they're so darn excited about!

My children are not bad sleepers, when I've asked online groups for advice on this or mentioned it to friends, they always assume that I'm doing something wrong for my children to be doing this. But I have spent HOURS reading sleep books and sleep advice articles, and so much energy trying things to teach them to stay in their beds. Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing if I didn't have to be so careful about not waking my husband, but he doesn't get in most nights until 3 am now.  He says he doesn't mind, but I want him to get some sleep.

If I'd realized that I would be up before 5 am for the next 20 years, I probably wouldn't have ever done it. And the thing is that I'm really more a morning person, I'd rather get up early than stay up late, but there are early hours that are just too early, even for a morning person. Collectively, over time, if you continually have such early hours, it begins to take its toll and now I'm grouchy as a grizzly bear when I get up. I'd give anything for the days when I got up on my own accord, now I only get up because my built-in alarm clocks are awake. Since my husband can't get up because of his job, I have no choice but to get up with the little boogers.

It's my curse.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sleep Issues Disaster Area

I'm member of an online group for LDS women, and on that group, there was a link to an article posted about motherhood, mostly about the lack of a good night's sleep in motherhood. I read the link and laughed because my children wake up sometimes at night, and I finally didn't feel alone. I walk around in a blur day in and day out because I get up almost always at least once a night. If it's not for my children, it's because my husband climbs into bed around 3 am at least three times a week because of his job, and that also wakes me up.

I posted a comment about this article. I said that I felt better because I felt like someone could relate to me. I mentioned how the last time I complained about my lack of sleep to a certain friend, she simply said, "my kids always sleep all night long" and when she said that it seemed so "my kids are better than yours"-ish. Anyway, I wrote that and was immediately blasted by about four women saying their children ALWAYS sleep all night, every night (even young ages, under five), barring illnesses.

Not one of your children has ever suffered a nightmare? A night terror? An early-morning trip to the toilet (for the potty training child)? The need for a drink a couple hours after they've gone to bed (which technically doesn't interrupt my sleeping hours, but it is them out of bed once during their night)? Wet the bed? Not ONCE?

I really don't buy that. Even the best sleep-trained children have an occasional nightmare. Every night, ten to twelve hours, never waking from a non-sick reason, NOT ONCE!!!! Unbelievable.

Actually, it's probably more that these parents are heavy sleepers and I'm just not, so when my children get up just to use the toilet, I wake up because I hear them or the light on in the hallway wakes me up. I do want my children to know I'm available to them, even at night, if they need me.

So I guess it boils down to this--are you willing to deal with your children needing you at night, or do you prefer to let them handle their nighttime crises on their own so you can get a good night's rest?

How Blessed I Am!

In this day and age, it seems harder for a mom to stay home and raise her kids. Raising one is hard enough on the pocketbook, but four is even harder. It has only been with a little help from above that I've been able to continue to stay home and raise our children. It is definitely a blessing of tithing and a desire to be obedient.

It seems that the ability to stay home and raise children is possible only through sacrifice. I definitely believe that. My husband mentioned in one of his classes that his wife stays home and how important we both feel it is that I am home with the kids. His instructor asked if we made any sacrifices, specifically, if I had made sacrifices. My husband said yes, that we have given up quite a few things. That using generic brands instead of name brands really doesn't make much of a difference. We don't vacation in the tropics, we try not to go out and eat more than a few times a month, and all of these are considered sacrifices in these modern times.

But I think that the instructor was really asking if there are any personal sacrifices that I make, being the wife who stays home. I don't think my husband realizes some of the things I've given up to do this. In a way, though, it doesn't necessarily feel like a sacrifice because this, being a stay-at-home mom, was always my ideal future life when I was growing up. In the world's eyes, yes, I have given up a career (teaching school) that I would have been quite successful at. I probably would have already earned a master's degree by now, maybe traveled the world some, and certainly, I would be more involved with expanding my own talents and mind if I weren't so busy taking care of my little children and holding down the fort, so to speak. But I think that being a mom is so big a part of who I am that all that doesn't matter all that much. Yes, I need to have other interests, and I do, but it's okay to put them aside a little bit to focus on being the best mom I can be. In fact, some of my talents are quite useful to being a mom--like cooking and keeping the house clean (yes, I'm talented in being organized, boring gift, but it's true!).

There have been a few schools of thought that I've come into contact with. Some women I know comment about the importance they feel in "contributing" to their household by providing help with the finances. I definitely feel like I "contribute." Who else could do what I'm doing for my kids?

For me, honestly, it's a little hard to not want to "keep up with the Joneses", but when I really examine it with an eternal perspective, I realize that it really isn't important at all. What's more important is sharing what we do have, our time, talents, and means, with others who are in need. We have been blessed with a home that fits our needs. We now have cars that can get ALL of us from place to place. Our kids seem to be happy and well adjusted.

The point I'm trying to make is that none of this is our doing. I feel that "God is at the helm". I'm grateful to have what I do at this point in my life. I feel very blessed to be able to continue to stay at home with my children. I feel it is so important for me to be here. In fact, we had a recent conversation, my husband and I, about the possibility of him finding some sort of second job to help with finances if the need arises. So far, we've been very blessed and haven't needed that. I am grateful, too, that I married a man who feels the same as I do, and understands the importance of mother being at home.

Friday, May 1, 2009

"It is better to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent."

Or so the saying goes. Not sure who said that, my mind wants me to think it was President Benson, but I'm not about to go digging in my monstrous file full of that sort of thing to try and find it.

Recently, a friend posted something about her feelings on sex education on her blog. She referred to another blog post about object lessons in Young Women's to try and teach the law of chastity. I went ahead and clicked on her link and read the post and the subsequent comments on it.

There was one thing that really bothered me. Some of the people commenting talked about how the object lessons never really included the doctrine of repentance. The visuals they gave were very strong on how sin can cause you to become unworthy, but there was nothing taught, or no object lessons given, to be more accurate, on repentance. The thing that really bothered me is that some of these women seemed to blame the well-intentioned Young Women's leaders for their problems.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but ideally, we teach youth not to sin, to stay away from sin, and to not look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, right? Because the goal is to not sin in the first place. As the title says, it is better to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent.

I have been in many Relief Society lessons where sisters start inputting that the Young Women's program is so faulty as to lead to failed marriages and other problems they have as adults. Why don't they just come right out and blame the Church for teaching false doctrines or for not telling them the whole story? Like they say that in Young Women's, they only teach about getting to marriage, but say nothing of life after that temple sealing, and how hard it can be. Why should they? By the time the young women most likely are married, they are not in Young Women's anymore, and they need to learn about marriage from other sources. I learned a lot about marriage and all the good and bad from my LDS Marriage and Families class at BYU. True, it was before I got married, before marriage was even on my radar, but taking a class like that was quite valuable. Hand in hand with the many, many lessons on chastity (is it any wonder that they've now added "virtue" as a value?), that class and my experience in Young Women's served to only strengthen my testimony of the law of chastity.

Having also served in Young Women's, it makes me sad when women seem to blame some of their life's trials on a former young women's leader who only had the best intentions at heart. She wanted to teach the law of chastity, and in the law of chastity, there is no sex before or outside of marriage, period. It is the doctrine of repentance that allows for mistakes to be made and rectified, which probably wasn't part of the lesson.

I just really don't like it when the Young Women's program is denigrated by people who made bad life choices. It really bothers me because the program is not bad.  If the teachings are followed, life will be easier for the girl following those teachings. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails