Category: Mother’s Day

Are You Sick of Mother’s Day?

 

When my youngest daughter was pregnant with her first baby, she began a blog titled “Countdown to Motherhood.” Each week she had a different mother from her circle of women write an article about their experience with mothering. I was one of the mom’s in that circle.

Today I’m sharing what I wrote on that long-ago Mother’s Day. (Link for the original article HERE)

Why Mothering Can Feel So Hard

I never thought much about being a mother. I mean you grew up, got married and had kids. Everyone did it; everyone that I knew anyway, and they didn’t seem to make a big deal about it. But it is a BIG deal. I had so much to learn about being a mother.

• It doesn’t come naturally to everyone.
• It isn’t always a piece of cake.
• Sometimes it’s overwhelming.
• You often don’t know what to do next.
• If you just keep at it, it will be the very best thing you ever do!!
• I would do it over again even though there were some very hard times.

At almost seventy I look back with fondness on those earlier days. I look at pictures of my sweet children and realize that I didn’t understand how wonderful they were. It’s so easy to get caught up in the work of mothering that you forget to pay attention to the joys of being a mother.

A Few Things That I Would Want to Understand If I Had It To Do Over

• Realize that the time will come when you will miss hearing your child say “mom.” It can be wearing now but you will miss it!
• Cherish every wet, sticky, sloppy kiss because no matter how many you get, they will never be enough! You will want more of them long after your child is grown.
• A clean house is not more important than a sweet relationship with your child. Messy bedrooms eventually disappear and so does the child – into adulthood – and then all you have left is a clean room and hopefully a child who wants to come home to visit.
• Conversations with a child are amazing if you take the time to listen. I know that right now you just want to hear quiet, but the day will come when you will miss that childish prattle.
• A child’s laughter and joy are contagious. Catch it because it renews your own energy and relieves stress.
• Being the caretaker of another person’s learning and personal growth is an amazing stewardship and is worth all the time and effort it takes to do it with kindness and gentleness.

Now that I’m a grandmother, I understand these things better. Moving at a slower and gentler pace is what grandparents do and so we see a bit more clearly and we enjoy a bit more deeply.

Any mother who is clear on the importance of being a mother and is willing to make it her number one priority for a short while can understand these things long before she is a grandmother.

Child-rearing lasts only a short time so, despite the challenges, weariness and redundant work, embrace every Mother’s Day while your kids are in your home. Once they leave it will never be the same!

Your Shares Are The Bst Compliment : ) 

My Mother Wrestles Roosters!

My mom and dad weren’t perfect parents. They had a bagful of stuff which leads to parenting mistakes and I carried the effects of those mistakes in my own bag for many years. I had to work to throw out the junk and distill out the gold. Can I say that it has been worth the work and self-discovery and frankly, I have come to really appreciate my parents, their mistakes and how the process of distilling out the gold has impacted my life for good?

So today, on Mother’s Day, I want to honor my mom. She has lived a magnificent life and if I can do as well with my own messiness and imperfections then it will be enough.

I want to share a story that happened when my mom was 80 years old or maybe 79. We aren’t really sure. She never had a birth certificate until many years after she was born. When my mother came into the world she was premature. They lived in a small town named Etna in Wyoming. Although my grandmother had a doctor with her, he was drunk. When he cut my mother free of the umbilical cord he plopped her on top of the dresser and said, “She won’t live.” He never made out a birth certificate for the doomed baby.

I can tell you that made my great-grandmother bristle up. “We’ll see about that”, was her response. She took that tiny little girl and put her in the warming drawer of the old wood burning stove. They laid my mother on newspapers and changed them when they were soiled. Her skin was so fragile that it would rub right off so she stayed naked on the paper for weeks.

It took constant watching to keep the stove going night and day for a couple of months so that the warming drawer didn’t get too hot or too cold. It’s a testament to my mother’s indomitable spirit that she lived and thrived and to my grandmother who believed she would.

Now, back to the story I want to share. Our whole family had just returned home from our annual family reunion. My Arizona sister spent a couple of days with mom before going home.

Now it’s important to the story that you know this about my mother, she LOVES birds. She has canaries, doves, quail, lovebirds, cockatiels, finches and more. Someone is always giving my mother a bird or two. Her back room is a bird Mecca.

She also had chickens. Yup, right off of Main Street in Logan, Utah she had a flock of hens. One day someone asked her to take a BIG red rooster. She was glad to have him until she discovered that he crowed all the time. Not just in the AM but all the time. So she had to keep him in the garage to keep her neighbors happy until she could find him a “farm” home. My mom named the big red bird Trumpet because he constantly trumpeted the fact that he was here and alive! While my sister was there he got out.

My sister and my mom began chasing him around the yard and finally cornered him behind a bunch of bushes. They could just see him back there pacing back and forth, head bobbing on his long neck. My sister yelled, “Get him mom” and our 80-year-old mother dove, I mean dove, into the bushes. She hit the ground on her knees and the bushes began shaking violently as my sister watched the bottoms of my mom’s shoes open-mouthed.

Then my mom emerged with that huge red rooster by the neck. She was grinning ear to ear. She tipped the bird over and grabbed him by the feet until he hung limply in her hands. Then she swung him up to her chest and hugged him like a small child, putting her cheek on his beak. He closed his eyes and nestled in. “We’re friends,” my mom said.

Can you visualize the scene, my 80-year-old mom diving to her knees into a bunch of bushes and wrestling that big red rooster down? It’s hysterical to think about and amazing at the same time. Here is that tiny baby, destined to die, who didn’t; who at 80 is an accomplished rooster wrestler!

After seeing my mom do what she did my sister went out and bought a beautiful carved wooden rooster. “I’m going to put it in my kitchen,” she said. “Whenever I think I can’t do something or handle something, I’m going to remember my 80-year-old mother wrestling that rooster down. If she can do that I can do anything too.”

That’s the golden nugget I got from my mother. She demonstrated to me that you can do whatever you put your mind to no matter what it takes or how long, or how many mistakes you make.

Mom has been a wonder of resilience and persistence. She used her brain all the time to figure things out. When the dog chewed up the front of my new ballet costume mom figured out how to repair it with orange fish gravel. Amazing. The show must go on.

She ironed men’s shirts, one at a time, for 15 cents each to pay for bread, milk and ice cream. She figured out how to get kids to church, lessons, school, the doctor and the dentist, for the most part without a car. She figured out how to make a pot of rice and a package of hot dogs stretch for nine kids.

When she was in her fifties she began teaching other women how to do amazing things. In her sixties, she took voice lessons for the first time although she had been singing at weddings and funerals for many years. She went back to college, joined a sorority and learned more new things.

She got a job at the university bakery in Logan, UT and worked there for many years. Eventually, she made doughnuts in a little store in Paradise, Utah and made history – people drove for miles on the one day a week that she baked.

Then she went to work for Linn’s grocery in her late sixty’s and worked full time right into her eighties. Now she rests – except when she is walking the dogs, feeding the chickens, taking eggs to her neighbors…My mom, she isn’t just a survivor but a striver!! A mother extraordinaire!

There aren’t any perfect parents. There aren’t any parents without a bag of stuff. There aren’t any parents who won’t make a good many mistakes and because of that, their kids will have a bag of stuff. But in the end what we do will be enough if we do our best, love our families, and keep on keeping on when it is tough. That is a beautiful legacy to leave our children.

Today I have a big rooster on my kitchen wall, my bag weighs less, and I believe I can do anything.

 

A Tribute To Our Mother

I mentor mothers and one of the things we always have to work on is their tendency to believe that they are falling short, they are never going to measure up and that they are ruining their kids.

If you have read the introduction to my new book Becoming a Present Parent then you know that I was not a perfect parent. I came into it with lots of baggage, few skills, and a lot to learn. Our family wasn’t perfect either. We had some really tough times.

That was one reason I used to hate Mother’s Day because I knew I didn’t measure up.

A few years ago my daughters hijacked my website for a surprise gift for me on Mother’s Day. Here is what they said – “We wanted to share with all of you, her dear readers and friends, how honored we are to be her daughters and what she means to us. We are grateful for your joining with us to celebrate our mother and yours. We hope you enjoy this song, in celebration of our mothers as you read.”

I enjoyed reading their words again this year, they made me cry. I am astonished at how they see me. They see what I haven’t always been able to see in myself. It takes a lifetime to find out just what a good job you have done. I was in my sixties when I read these words from my daughters for the first time and knew that although I was imperfect, it had been enough.

We really are doing better than we think – despite any mistakes we may be making. Take heart this Mother’s Day and know that you are doing better than you think.

Kate Housten

I remember one of my favorite things when I was living at home was sitting in our “library” with you talking about our love for books. You taught me to hunger for knowledge.

When I was young you showed me how to make a meal out of almost nothing, how to grow a beautiful garden, and how to REALLY clean. You taught me how to be a homemaker.

The summer I wanted to study abroad in Europe and we had no money, you spent the whole summer baking cakes and selling water bottles with me. You taught me how to work for what I want and be creative doing it.

When I wanted to be a varsity cheerleader my senior year of high school, even though I had NEVER cheered before, you were right there the day of tryouts to make sure I stuck it out until the end. You taught me how to dream, and dream big.

Growing up you loved to teach us how to make sugar eggs, gingerbread houses, and frosting flowers for cakes. You taught me the importance of cultivating my talents.
When you were in your 40’s, you had seven children, an incredibly busy life and yet you finished your master’s degree. You taught me the value of education.

When times were tough and family life was especially hard I’d walk past your open bedroom door and ALWAYS see you on your knees. You taught me how to have a relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Mom, it’s easy for us to look back on our time as a mother and wonder if anything we did gave our children what they needed to be successful in their lives. Sometimes we look back and feel discouraged because as far as we can see, what we did wasn’t enough. But it’s the little things, the daily things you taught me that made all the difference. Because you were the person that you were, I am the person that I am today. Through your service to others, you taught me how to serve. Through your example of forgiving and being patient, you taught me how to forgive and be patient. Because you grew and blossomed, like the flowers out back in our garden, you taught me how to grow and blossom.

Now I’m getting ready to take my first steps into motherhood and because of you, I am not afraid. You have already walked the path down this unfamiliar road and through the wisdom you have gained, you will teach me what it truly means to be a mother.

Thank you, mom,
Kate

Marie Henry

There are so many things that I have learned from you but there are two things in particular that have forever changed me and how things have gone in my life. The first one was prayer. I remember always walking in on you praying. I knew Heavenly Father was your friend and that you trusted him.

When I decided to come back to the church I knew what to do. I knew I could talk to him about everything. That is was okay if I was angry, even at him, as long as I talked to him about it. That even if I sat their and said nothing at least I was in the right place. I knew I had to build up trusting him but I trusted you so I knew I would get there and that it would be okay.

The second thing was to never ever give up, that change is possible and that it is very real; that you need not give up hope. There is a way to return to happiness, and it is through Jesus Christ.

The past 13 years have been quite the journey for me and my family. There were times I didn’t think things would ever turn around or feel differently, but then I would pray and get through the day. I knew from watching you that no matter what, you don’t ever, ever give up. You continue to fight even if the answer takes years to come.

Now, look where I am at. I finally love being a mother, I feel content and peaceful with me and how things are going in my life, and I have the greatest man as my husband.

There are many things I get to pass on to my children but the two things I continue to tell them about is to always pray no matter how you feel and to never ever give up, that Heavenly Father is there for us and no matter what you fight to stay on his side.

I know that one day you were praying, in the kitchen I believe, and you said to Heavenly Father that we would have all been better off if he had just sent us to someone else. He said to you that may be true but he sent us to you. Well, I am proud that he did. I am very grateful to have you as my mother.

Our lives here on earth are meant to have trials in them. I left your home knowing how to make it through and come out the other side being a better me and closer to the Lord. Having fewer trials really doesn’t matter. That I know how to make it back home to Heavenly Father is what I came here to learn and learn it I did. I am grateful for the family I have and PROUD I get to say you are my mother. I love you.

Love,
Marie

Jenny Johnson
I really love my mother. And it is one of those interesting loves; the bigger the love gets, the bigger my heart gets, and the more it makes me love the entire world. Amazing!

I remember being a child and mom would take all of her 7 children with her to the nursing home on Sundays just to visit the patients who weren’t getting usual visitors. It was the family’s volunteer work. That is how I now kind of define my life. I prioritize (highly) having volunteer work in my life that serves the geriatric population.

Also, I just finished the endeavor of earning my Master’s degree. I will now start working as a professional to serve the geriatric population with different modes of therapy. I feel so happy and grateful because I know that working in this environment and serving this population is really going to feed my life, daily! She has taught me that despite possibly never bearing children, there is a viable way for me to mother this world! I serve…and it makes me happy. It is how I run my life. This is the legacy my mother has left in my life. An ocean of thanks to you, my sweet mother.

A handful of years ago, when I was in a severe car accident and wasn’t walking, my mother flew to California and took care of me for 4 months. I mean REALLY was taking care of me, as if her 30-year-old daughter was 3 again. Feeding me, cleaning me, helping me move from point A to point B, etc. That was such a wonderful blessing given to each of our lives because what came out of that intimate tragedy was that my mother became one of my dearest friends. I feel so supported, loved and valued and that, again, strengthens and augments my desire to serve and support this entire world, and it makes me love this world even more. A canyon of thanks to you, my sweet mother and friend.

What my wonderful, beautiful, vibrant mother is teaching me now about being a woman is that personal evolution never stops and it is never too late to become 10 times more than you have ever been. Beauty, wisdom, self-love, personal manifestation, grand service – these are things I am learning from her and really beginning to value because she is performing these things and becoming these things and mastering these things and it is all so amazing to watch! She is painting such a colorful masterpiece across the canvas of her life. She is leaving such a mark, and I feel so honored and blessed to be apart of it. I love you mom, to the moon and back! A universe of thanks to you for everything.

Jenny Rebecca

Jodie Palmer
I turned 40 years old a few weeks ago. It’s sort of a surreal experience for me because it’s the only age that I distinctly remember my mother being. She gave birth to her last child at 40, and so have I. I am now where my mother once was, a place I remember her being.

A fascinating thing has happened now that I’m standing in the shoes I remember my mother wearing. She has suddenly transformed into something more than my mother. I’m connecting with her as a woman.

It’s been hard to try to put this transformation into words or describe what it means to finally see my mother as a woman.

I hate to admit it, but my mother has never been a “real” woman to me. She’s been . . . my Mother. Something different than, “a woman.”

Through my life, I’ve been walking these antipodal paths of both discovering who I am as a woman, and consciously putting myself together into who I want to be. But the change that has happened for me is that I am beginning to see my mother in the context of who I am as a woman—this complicated mixture of contradictions and messiness, grace and beauty, vices and flaws, backbone and tenacity, soft and tender places, guarded and hidden places, confusion and wisdom, fullness and emptiness and so much more all wrapped up in one heart.

I find myself feeling so tender towards her, not in a reminiscent way, as is usual for Mother’s Day, but in this current, primal, female, connected, Red Tent sort of way.

As I was attempting to write this tribute to her I came up with my usual celebrations of memories, the ones that have informed my whole worldview and way of being with the world. Like the time she packed us all into the car to return something that had recently been purchased because we needed the money. On the way out of the parking lot, there was a man holding a sign asking for help. She rolled down the window and gave the man part of the change we had just received. She shared and gave, even when it hurt.

Or the time when she washed the body of a woman who had died who had no one in her life to give her that one last loving honor. She is a rememberer of the forgotten.

There are so many other memories that have served as the elements taken up as food by the beautiful garden of my life.

But, today I want to honor my mother differently than I have ever been able to before. I want to honor her as a woman. I want to honor her complicated, contradictory, messy, deeply beautiful, wise, lovely self. All of it is beautiful to me, and so needed by me, as a woman. All of her is so needed by the world. And the world is better for it—the little worlds of her children and grandchildren, the little worlds of her client families, the little worlds of her neighbors, and the strangers that cross her path. All these little worlds collide together in one big bang of goodness and beauty for all the rest of us.

That’s the beauty of women, we are wombs and birthers of beauty and goodness in the world through the complicated mixture of who we are. We are good for the world . . . And the Lord God looked and said, “It is good.”

I am honored to a woman born and grown from this woman. I am honored to have her blood and her bone, her spirit and her heart living in me.

I am grateful for these new eyes that have allowed me to not only see her differently but see my daughters differently. I newly see, and feel, that we are sisters, we are friends.

Love,
Jodie

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

I Hated Mother’s Day!!

Mother’s Day is almost here and for the next few weeks, I want to talk about it. Let’s begin the conversation with me telling you that I used to HATE Mother’s Day. Really, I hated it. I would sit in church or with groups of other mothers and hear stories about mom’s who never yelled, always said the right things, attended every baseball game, loved camping, liked playing with their kids, were affectionate and nurturing, didn’t yell if someone threw up in the car…I was not that mom.

I wanted to be that mom but I wasn’t. I frequently said or did the wrong thing. I wasn’t always nurturing, comforting or there and I didn’t like to play. I had already yelled so I was out of that competition. And baseball, yuck, I hated baseball.

It took me many years to learn how to stop yelling; to learn to hug more often, to go to sporting events, and to just be quiet and listen. I had to learn a lot of skills that I didn’t have when I started out. Sometimes coming to a realization that there was a skill I lacked was the challenge.

As far as parenting goes, I thought it was as simple as picking a good man and having a passel of kids. It never occurred to me that it would be useful to have some type of plan, to learn new skills, to be clear that things don’t always work out the way you think they should and that people, even kids, get to decide how they want their lives to look and feel. It was sometimes a jolting and unnerving experience.

I have frequently joked with my family that NOTHING turned out how I thought it would. That happens to be more truth and less joke.

However, I do not hate Mother’s Day anymore. I embrace it! I love Mother’s Day. It’s a day on which I celebrate the fact that I am a mom. I have a family and we are OK. My children love me very much, despite all my mistakes and lack. My husband is happy with how things turned out and so am I.

I may not be the mom that gets talked about in church or at the ladies luncheon, but I am the mom who raised this family of seven happy, healthy, kind, and good people. I am the mom who learned a great deal and made some valuable changes. I am content with that.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all you mom’s who sit in church or at lunch with other mom’s and feel less than. NOW STOP IT. Stop comparing yourself to other mothers. Stop judging yourself harshly. Stop believing that somehow you are failing your family.

Take my word for it, that it is wasted energy. Instead, celebrate the fact that you are a mother, that you are doing the best you can, and that you do have good desires in your heart for your family. Then get more education. Learn something new. Practice a skill you need and don’t quit till you are reasonably good at it. Be proactive. Mentor with a mom who is where you want to be. Keep working on yourself. Keep loving your family. Keep going!

What you will learn is what I learned while actively parenting children in my home for 39 years – you will learn you can grow and change, your children will love you despite your weaknesses and lack and, yes, in the end, it will all be OK.

What thoughts can you adjust for a more satisfying Mother’s Day?

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY