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Saturday, 17 March 2012

The thoughts that kept me up tonight

Having one of those night where I knew I wouldn't sleep until I'd gotten my thoughts on to paper (or the screen). Here they are, largely unedited.

I was lying in bed thinking about whether or not I measure up to the kind of wife and mother I planned to be when I was a teenager. I realise that I didn’t understand when I was 17, 18, what is truly important… or what adult, married, parenting life is like. I realise now that it’s not so important that your house is always immaculate and that you and the children can all be dressed and ready to go by 9 if need be. Your success as a wife and mother isn’t actually defined by whether dinner is ready to be served the moment your husband gets home from work. (If you are managing these things, what is your secret?) I’m realising that I need to redefine what wife and mother means to me.

Is it really so bad if some days, we stay at home in our pyjamas all day? Am I failing because I usually don’t get round to tidying the kitchen until it’s impossible to work in or someone is coming over (and sometimes not even then).  [Thanks for taking care of that wonderful husband!] Not that I don’t think the housekeeping bit is important, but there must be more to it than that. There is, and if I can’t manage both yet, I’d rather have a happy family than a perpetually clean and tidy house.

Also I don’t think it’s a matter of being the right person for the job when it comes to being a wife and mother. It’s really a matter of it being the right job to turn you in to the person you need to be. I wasn’t chosen for these experiences because I had the right qualifications. I was chosen to have these experiences to qualify for the greatest gifts. I’m not a mother blessed with children because I’m patient, wise and can suffer sleep deprivation without going slightly crazy. It is motherhood that is teaching me to be a little more patient and understanding, find wise solutions to tricky problems and stay calm when I’m almost burnt out.. I’m not saying I’m totally there yet, but I can pretty well guess that’s part of the point of this role and life in general.

I decided a while ago that I didn’t know what life was like until I was living it more for others (namely: Jonathan, Natalie and Hayley) than I was for myself.

And so, I hope to keep learning and coming closer to being the wife and mother that my wonderful husband and children truly deserve.  I’m grateful to know that I wasn’t sent here to be perfect, but to be moulded into something that will… one day far into eternity, be perfect. :D

So this is my role: to grow!

How do you define your role as a family member?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Something, but not everything

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.
Nice little mantra :)

I have recently decided that in the past I have spent way too much time worrying about the fact that I couldn't be everything for everyone. I think most people probably have this tendency to feel poorly about ourselves when we don't meet another persons expectations or the unrealistic expectations that we set for ourselves.

Let's face it: there are only 24 hours in a day. There's only so much you can do in that time. There's only so much you can do and still be a sane person. Or is that just me? You can try to do everything that everyone would like you to do if you want, but I find that, by and by, it drives me nuts!

Newsflash: People are actually pretty good when you truthfully say, "Sorry, I'd love to help, but I just don't have the time/resources/energy right now." I have also come to realise that if they do mind or continue to demand, there's probably an imbalance in that relationship. 

Here are a few things you should do:

Say yes - when you are able and especially where your help will really benefit someone else. The greatest 
fulfilment I have experienced in life has not been in doing things for myself. (Not saying that you never should by the way.) The greatest fulfilment I have experienced has been in doing something for someone else. Whether that be my husband, children, other family or friends. It makes me happy to see a smile... especially on the face of someone I care for, and more especially when I put that smile there.

Say no - when you can't. Whether that be due to lack of time, lack of resources, or just because you don't have the headspace to do what someone is asking of you. Try not to incriminate yourself for it, but remember that by not burning yourself out you're going to be more useful later.

Prioritise - identify those things/people in your life that are of most worth to you and that deserve your greatest attention. If those people are happy and those things taken care of first, the rest will fall in around that or fall away if they really didn't matter in the first place. Remember as David O. McKay said, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home." 

Take a break - because you deserve it. Picture yourself as a bucket full of water. As you go about doing things for others you tip a little of that water out for them. Fill yourself up before you run empty. Enough said.

So, to summarise... trying to be everything for everyone and never giving yourself a break will drive you insane. If it's possible to take a step back from the people who are driving you nuts - do it! For your sanity and for their protection :P

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Decisions, decisions

December 31, 2008... Jonathan and I are walking through Botanic Park, when he stops to 'tie his shoelaces'. I (correctly) surmise that this is a pretence to get on one knee and do the scariest thing he had done to date: ask me to marry him. The thought crosses my mind that I should keep walking and make him a) chase me, and/or b) find another opportunity where he may have to be more obvious about his intentions :P  Instead I sympathise with the guts it took to get this far in the first place and I stand... trying not to look to expectant and failing epically.

The rest is history as they say, but it led to an interesting conversation on the way to church today: how great is the impact of one decision on the experiences you will have for the rest of your life?

Lets say I had kept walking... Jonathan would have had to come up with a new scenario for proposing... he supposes that he might have waited until Valentines day one and a half months later (although if I know Jonathan he wouldn't have been able to wait that long). Nevertheless it certainly would have been later which would likely mean that our wedding date would have been later than May 16... if that was the case, we'd have missed the chance to apply to the first house we lived in and lived somewhere else. Our daughters would have arrived later (possibly Hayley wouldn't even be here yet!) and I would have been working longer at my last workplace. These are just a few of the examples of things that would have been different for us if I had made that seemingly simple decision. Boy am I glad I played fair that day!

I hope that the choices I make every day will be ones that bless those around me and lead me to greater happiness. I pray that I'll always have the courage to choose what is right, even when it's not easy.

What are some of the big impact decisions in your life?