Thursday, May 26, 2011

Deliberate Motherhood

I’ve been reflecting a lot about the basis of this blog which is “Motherhood requires selflessness, but you still have to know who that self is.” That really means a lot to me. I find myself struggling the most in those moments when I feel lost behind the piles of laundry, the stack of dishes in my sink, and the constant demands for my attention and time. Having a daily activity with my girls has helped tremendously. It has eliminated a LOT of the guilt I used to feel when I’d desire to do something for myself but wonder if I should instead do more for my kids. But there are still times when I lose sight of who I am besides “mom.” I updated my blogger account the other day and stopped at the part where I have to list my hobbies and interests. I sat there for a minute thinking of all the things I wish I had time to do like learn the piano, learn tennis, train for a triathlon, take classes on photography, or write more. So why don’t I do those things? I know I can’t do them all at once, but I ought to start somewhere. As I reflected on these things, I also realized that way up there on my list of things I’d like to be good at is motherhood. I really am dedicated to my role as a mom and want to be good at it—really good at it. I know that making time for myself will help me be a better mom.

Here’s my point: I am still a person. I need to protect that identity and take care of it. I don’t want to just survive motherhood, I want to thrive in it. And that was the focus of a retreat I attended this past weekend put on by an organization called The Power of Moms. I can’t remember the last time I felt this inspired and excited about both motherhood and myself. Here’s a list of a few of the things they touched upon at the retreat:

*Taking care of the person inside the mom

*Being enough

*Thought replacement therapy

*Pursuing and Becoming

*Margins and Balance

*Goals, Progress, and Serendipity

*Family Systems that Work (Discipline, Family Economy, and Traditions)

*Finding more Joy in Motherhood

The entire day was PACKED with incredible tools, information, shared experiences, and answers to all these questions I didn’t even know I had. This organization was started by Saren and April--two moms who were looking for a way to empower themselves and their families and help other moms around the world do the same. Also speaking at the retreat were Saren’s parents, the Eyre’s who are authors of several best-selling books on parenting. Their latest book is The Entitlement Trap and it was fascinating to hear what family systems they used with their nine children. I was surrounded by over 100 women from Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Canada, and even Japan. We all brought something different to the discussions and I came home with literally fifteen pages of notes.

In addition to the topics above, they also provided training on their program called “Mind Organization for Moms” which helps you get your life organized so you can chip away at that never-ending to-do list. Their website is filled with inspiring and positive (and real) articles written by moms from all over. Can you tell how much I love this? So if any of you out there are feeling like you are only surviving when you want and need to be thriving, check out the ideas and tools on the Power of Moms website.

The biggest piece of wisdom I took away from this retreat is so simple, but profound for me. It is the knowledge that I CAN DO THIS. On my first day back home from the retreat, we all woke up sick. I reminded myself over and over to be patient and positive, despite my sinus headache and agitation. I watched as my girls’ attitude started to reflect my own and soon they were helping me clean up after breakfast and saying “please” and “thank you.” I almost cried as I thought to myself, “This works! I really can do this!” And then I thought, “Oh no. This is too easy. Something is going to happen.” Sure enough, after naps I heard my 3 year old call downstairs to me, “Mom! Come look at Charlotte!” My two year old had “painted” half of her body with the contents of her diaper. I won’t go into any further detail, but it was the grossest thing I’ve witnessed as a mother yet.

So I took a few pictures until I couldn’t stand the smell anymore and I smiled to myself as I bathed her again and again. I CAN DO THIS.

(YOU can do this, too).

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  1. thank you janelle! it's so helpful just to remember that there are thousands of other moms out there just like me who are trying to thrive as mothers. thanks for being such a great example to me of how moms should be! xoxo. you know i love you:)

  2. So glad it was so awesome!! You are incredible Janelle and such an example to me and so many moms out there! Thanks for being so great with words!!

  3. Great post. I can't believe the sickness and poop episodes happened right when you got home though--what are the chances?

    As for your desire to write more, let me know if you ever want to contribute to Latter Day Woman Magazine. ( You would be awesome at our relections section--or anything else!