Being a Mother

I have been thinking a lot about being a mother lately. Having a week away from my children was so nice in a way to let go of the constant go-go-go. But I missed them SO much. It gave me a lot of time to think. And as a stay-at-home mother, my mind was on the kind of mother I want to be and the kind of mother I actually am. And then at church yesterday, I had a complete meltdown. I have been doing Sundays by myself for 6 1/2 years. Jared leaves first thing in the morning and gets home around dinner time. I sit by myself with the kids and if one has to go out, we all go out because it is just me. Cole is really going through a tough time and struggles with sacrament meeting. Yesterday it was literally one minute after sitting down and he starting screaming and hitting me. So I grabbed my bag, took the kids out in the hall until the sacrament and went home in tears that pretty much didn't stop all afternoon. I had been holding things together for so long and just could not do it anymore. I felt like a failure. My older kids don't know how to be reverent because I cannot teach them while I am trying to keep Cole from pulling Elise's hair or crawling under the bench or yelling or coloring on the wall. I feel like I know what I want them to learn, but I have no clue how to even begin teaching them. Even though the "reverence-teaching" will have to come later, I have to remember that my kids know we go to church. They know we say our prayers at night and that we read scriptures. They know I love the Lord and hopefully know that I try and fail and try again. I wish I could see into the future just to know that they will learn something good. :)

I have always wanted to be a mother. As a young girl, I recognized and understood the joy that comes from serving, sacrificing and loving another. I wanted nothing more than to have a family and I had many visions of the kind of mother I would become. I imagined hours on end of playing, creating artwork and crafts together, reading stories, making bunnies out of their sandwich with carrots and olives, running through the sprinklers, making messes in the kitchen. And today I cringe inside as I watch Elise spill flour all over the floor or I read stories with the list of to-do's at the back of my mind or I barely find time to address the necessities of keeping them clothed, fed and alive. How will I ever fit in time for the kind of mother I thought I would be? I recognize that my view of motherhood was immature and did not include the demands of day-to-day life, but I become so disappointed in myself when I am so far from what I had hoped to be. There is a disconnect and I am not quite sure how to bridge that gap.

I am also beginning to recognize the different kind of "hard" that comes with parenting an older child. I feel helpless and so incompetent in teaching a child how to survive this world. Parenting a newborn (and in Cole's case a toddler) is hard in a physically exhausting way. There is not enough sleep and my tired body just wants to sit down for one minute. But then with Grey, I am trying to teach him why we need to make good choices when no one else around him does and how to treat others with love and respect. It is exhausting in such a different way than with a baby. And I am only at the beginning of his childhood. I constantly find myself second guessing myself and recognizing mistakes that I have already made in raising him and not knowing how to fix it.

I don't want to come across as complaining because even with--no because--of the difficulties, there is no other life I would choose than the one I have today. I know that there is no growth or learning without struggles. My children have taught me how to be selfless and how to sacrifice. They have taught me how to prioritize the things that really matter. They teach me every day how to be teachable and willing to learn. I have understood as closely as my finite mind is able what a true Christ-like love is. I love them even when they hurt me and I will love them forever no matter what they are or who they become. And when I watch them learn something new or tuck them in at night, I feel an indescribable joy that cannot be matched anywhere else in this world. The difficulties and the kind of mother I am have surprised me, but the joy and love has surprised me in an entirely different way. For that I will be forever grateful. There is no place I would rather be than with my family. They complete my soul in a way that I never imagined. It is like our little family has become a puzzle and just isn't complete without every single one of their unique personalities.

I am working on being okay with myself as a mother through times of very imperfect mothering. We are so hard on ourselves as mothers and get caught up in the things we don't do or the things we wish we did better. I think it is beneficial to re-evaluate every so often to find places for improvement. But we should be focusing on the things we do--not even do well, but do at all. Even if it is not up to our imaginative expectations or pinterest expectations. Now to figure out how to handle Sundays....


Prima Ballerina

Elise is three. I thought it was lame to put a three-year-old in dance until I had Elise. She begged to start dance since she could talk. I made her wait until she was three and I was still worried that she would be too young. But she has surprised me completely! Thank goodness, because the dance recital got to be pretty expensive. The recital was extra special because her favorite cousin, Addie, goes to the same dance studio and they got to dance the same night. They had aunts, cousins and their grandma come to watch them dance. Elise was cracking me up. She was acting all aloof and pretty much thought everyone there came to see just her. She showed me her flowers and yelled, "This is just like a wedding!" She also loves weddings.


Ten Years Later

It is hard to believe ten years have passed. Unfortunately Jared had to be out of town for work, so we got to text. I can't complain because we had Mexico! I am so grateful for Jared and to have him as my husband and best friend.

Mission Call

The oldest Wandry grandchild received his mission call to California Arcadia spanish speaking. It is so exciting!! He is such a great kid and will make an amazing missionary. Strange that this is just the beginning of the cousins going on missions and off to college. We will miss Tyler.


Children's Museum

First of all, I have the best sister in the world! She flew out to Denver with her almost 2-year old to help watch the kids while we were in Mexico. (And I have the best mom and sister-in-law for their help!!). She stayed a couple of extra days so we could play together. We spent hours at the Children's Museum and she & I may have had more fun than the kids if that is possible. She sure makes me laugh. Who knew they had a dance floor with hula hoops? And her husband is a cop so we took a lot of pictures to upset her husband with the firefighter gear.



Jared & I had an incredible getaway just the two of us to celebrate our 10th anniversary. It was absolutely perfect. I missed the kids SO much but definitely took advantage of no responsibilities. We stayed at an adults-only, all-inclusive just north of Tulum. It was genius to go to an adults-only if I must say so myself. Perfectly quiet and relaxing.

We were tucked in the jungle just up against the gorgeous white sand beaches. This is the view from our balcony. I took many naps in the hammock on the balcony.
I also sat in my robe a lot eating and drinking Mexican goodies. Such gluttony.
This was our beach on a windy evening--normally the water was totally calm. Perfect swimming ocean.
 Lots and lots of reading
 Lunch next to the pool
 We took too many pictures of the wildlife for the kids--which they loved. We saw a lot of animals which I cannot remember the names.
We went swimming, snorkeling and sea kayaking off our beach
I obviously don't know how to use non-digital cameras. I kept putting my finger in front of the lens. Oops.
We spent one day at an adventure park--Xplor doing zip-lining, driving a jeep through rivers and caves and paddling rafts & swimming in underground rivers. The swimming was cold but by far my favorite. It was eerily awesome! There were bats flying in there with us and little fish swimming around. We came out of the cave in a big waterfall. AWESOME!
Before starting our day
We went into Playa del Carmen for an afternoon & evening to pick up some souvenirs for the kids. The sandcastles built on the beach were incredible. And we got ripped off on our fuel--sometimes I hate being the tourist.

When Jared got fried, we decided to take a day off the beach/pool and visit the ruins at Coba. It is fascinating and you walk or bike a few miles to see the various ruins. Of course my sandal broke at the farthest point and I had to walk barefoot on hot, painful rocks back until we could get a bike taxi. :)
 This was SO STEEP!!

Another day we went to Akumal Bay to snorkel with the sea turtles. They were really cute, but I am spoiled from growing up snorkeling in the red sea. Everything else is kind of pathetic. There were some pretty fish, but everything is just so bland. We went really far out to the reef and pretty much swam the whole bay looking for something more exciting... I did like swimming with the cute tortugas though!