The kind of mother I want to be

I was talking to an old friend last night, a woman I desperately needed to catch up with. She's got 3 great kids, and we were laughing about all of the crazy stuff that goes on when you are a mom. She started to get serious, though, about how she hoped that her mistakes wouldn't screw up her kids too much. I assured her that everybody makes mistakes, and that we all yell at our kids, spank them more than we should, lose it over insignificant things, etc. Then she said something that made me think. She said, "Just because we are all doing it doesn't mean it's right. It's so much easier to whine and complain with each other about what bad mothers we are than try to actually be the mothers that we want to be." I thought about what she said all night, and thought about this blog. It's true that I'm a lot better at complaining about being a mother and the hardships that come with it, than focusing on the positive and trying to realize what kind of mother I want to be. The problem, of course, is that once I start trying to figure out what kind of mother I want to be, Mormon Woman Stress Syndrom kicks in, and the stress of realizing exactly how big a failure I am becomes overwhelming, and something that started out as a positive exercise ends in tears about how I suck as a mother because I can't scrapbook. So I think I'm going to start out easy. I'm just going to focus on small things, one thing at a time, to become a better mother. I'm going to try to cut my kid some more slack when he's tired and hungry. I'm going to try and keep things in better persepective, and know that Pringles ground up into a fine powder onto my newly clean floor is not the end of the world, and just hope that the child had a great time seeing exactly how small he could pound those potato chips. I will try to think of the positive things I remember about my own mother, the things I liked, the things I wished she had done, and try to duplicate those things for my own family. And I'll be sure to take some time every day to appreciate the perfection that is my son, and to aim to just get to know him better while he still has patience for his mother. I think we can do it. I really think we can be the kind of mothers we want to be without getting overwhelmed at our own mistakes. The Savior can help with that, too. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a beach date with my son.


Anonymous Mark said...

I had the same feelings when our first was born - I wanted to be the best dad possible, and I gave my level best effort. Now, with a few years of experience, I could write a fairly thick book on what NOT to do as a parent. I worry about what my offspring might be telling their therapists about me 20 years from now!

Much of the problem can be attributed to our fallen nature. I remember giving a lesson in church once about patience and forbearance. Five minutes after we said amen to the closing prayer, I was yelling at my kids for not getting into the car quickly enough. Pretty embarassing, huh?

One of the blessings of the church for me is the consistent encouragement to be a good father. I think it's great that the gospel helps us to be the kind of parents we want to be.

7/07/2005 10:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

. . .how I suck as a mother because I can't scrapbook.

Priceless! I wonder if there is a male equivalent?

7/07/2005 10:49:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

It may be impossible to be a perfect mother, but it doesn't stop me from trying.
THere are times in my life where all the trying in the world doesn't seem to get me anywhere. But, I keep trying.
Right now, I'm not pregnant. I'm don't have post-partum depression. I don't have any other horrible crises to deal with.
It's kind of nice, you know? So really I am doing lots of the things that I want to do as a mother.
But I think if I didn't get up every morning and keep trying, even when it felt like I was going backwards (which it feels like when a new challenge comes along like a pregnancy and suddenly you have less energy or patience) that I have built up endurance and knowledge and wisdom.
I am a better mother now than I was 7 years ago.
I think there is a payoff in continually trying even when things seem impossible. I think that you do get better at things if you take the time to research, make goals, try things out, look for creative solutions, get good advice, take an objective look, pray for guidance, etc.
This is why, even though it is a difficult job, I can find job satisfaction. Because I work hard and work smart in order to solve the problems and be better at my job. I am more confident, and I enjoy it more than ever.

7/08/2005 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

Wiz, I so suck at scrapbooking. A few years ago I finally gave all the (LITERALLY) boxes of papers and stuff I'd been saving lo these many years to each of my grown children. The girls got hope chests, we have my stepson's my husband's old army chest, with the boxes. And I told them to make their own baby book. They pretty much said they'll just throw most of it away when I'm gone. My darling Jessie laughed and laughed, she is 26 now and said, "Mom, you saved my every paper and project from kindergarten on?" ..."pretty much." I saved little notes from 20 years ago.

But what I really wanted to say is something I just read at Paste and Pearl, "if I were to give 100%, I'd implode, but because if I don't..I forgot, let me check what that profound thing was..." I have to endure harsh self judgement and maybe the judgement of others..."

You guys, we are so in a rock and a hard place. I really really hope Jesus is as great as they say He is or I...well, I will be happy down in the terrestrial kingdom anyway, I think. Never mind. It's after midnight. My son would be 33 today. Not doing so hot.

7/09/2005 02:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

That's rough, Ann. If it's any comfort, I think the greatness Jesus will turn out to be beyond our imagining.

7/09/2005 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

"I am a better mother now than I was 7 years ago."

Me too. That's why my oldest is totally screwed.

Mark - the male equivalent of scrapbooking - hmmm....possibly ward basketball? It's just as competitive.....

Annegb- see you in the terrestrial kingdom, baby. But hang in there. Somehow I have a feeling we're all doing way better than we know.

7/09/2005 11:51:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home