"You can't do it all." Is the thought that keeps running through my mind since I became a mother of four. The world might tell you that it's possible. Hell, even Satan might tell you that it's possible, but you'd be fooling yourself because it's one of the biggest lies on the planet! A mother cannot do it all, and if she tries, something is gonna suffer. And the fact is, the thing that suffers the most ends up being her own children. And the fact of the fact is, that letting your children suffer on account of things that don't even reach the scale of importance as them, is a bloody shame.
So, I made a decision shortly after this last baby was born, that I would pray with all my heart and let God guide me towards the things that I CAN do, and please please let the things I want to do but can't do, simply fade away. Please let me enjoy my baby, please help me put my children and husband first, and let me be happy.
And HE did.
God answered all those prayers and has been showing me what to do, how to do it, and most importantly He's not letting that big fat lie creep into my mind that I can do it all. Because I know I can't. And If I tried, I'd be a terrible mess.
The happy news is, at nearly 8 months post-partum, I am not a terrible mess! I am happy. Truly. Deeply. Purely. Simply, happy to be a mother of four wonderful, amazing, creative, funny, intelligent little boys who fill my heart to the brim with joy; Happy to be married to the most honorable, outstanding, loyal, honest, righteous, handsome, loving man I know; Happy to be where I am in this stage of my existence; Happy to be ME.
You can't do it all, but you can do the things that bring the most joy. The trick to life is finding those things, hanging onto them, and putting them highest on the priority chart.
Here's the things that I CAN'T do:
*I can't homeschool my children right now. As much as I believe in the beautiful values and principles of homeschooling, and still love the idea behind homeschooling my own family--it was literally steering me down a dark path to insanity.
I'm proud to say that I put in my best effort for the past 5 years! I read all the great homeschooling books, I ordered awesome activities, projects, and curriculum, and I tried my hardest to implement the "un-schooling" concept in my household, where we provided an environment of learning, and watched as our children thrived in their interests and excitement for education. I loved waking up to the easy, relaxing mornings where we ate a leisurely breakfast, went exploring at parks, enjoyed our family's company......Yet I still found myself feeling more suffocated, defeated, and lost, than happy. I love my children so much, yet having them here with me all day, with no help and no support, and no social network, was killing me. When the time was right, Heavenly Father helped me to put my children in school. We waited til they were ready, we waited til I was ready, and then we went for it!! (And they LOVE it!! Which makes things 100x easier and do-able.)
I just have to say that because of this decision I am a much, much happier person. I can breathe during the day. I can smile without worrying. I can think thoughts in my brain without forgetting.
I am a much better, healthier, and happier mother now that I don't homeschool. (This may change as my babies get older-- Who knows, maybe we'll jump back on the homeschool ship in several years!)
**I can't keep pretending that I can write a book. Because, I can't write a book, at least not right now. First off, I don't have time right now. Second of all, I don't even know where to start, or how to finish, or how to make it a priority in my life. And lastly, every time I sit down to write, I remember something else that I need to do that takes priority over writing (hence the disappearance of this blog these past months.) So, Heavenly Father has also helped me fade those thoughts away for now: to put them on the back-burner for a time that is better than in the bustling throws of motherhood, babies, childhood illness, toddler tantrums, nighttime nursings, and diaper-changing. (I might even sign up for a creative writing class this Fall to help me figure out what I want to do in the future.)
**I can't get a job. I don't even want a job! Though, the thought crosses my mind every once in a while that I should go out there, do something more, and work for money! But, the truth is that money does not determine value. There are so many valuable things I am doing right now that are worth far more than any job could pay. Getting a real job would be a waste of my awesomeness. I am grateful for a husband that works and makes money sufficient for our needs. (So I can keep being awesome.)
What I CAN do right now:
**I can love this baby like there's no tomorrow!
I love this baby boy so much that I literally want to squeeze and cuddle him all day long. I can't stand the thought of missing a second of his growing up, that I probably hold him way more than he wants me to! (You've been playing too long by yourself--it's my turn!!) Everyday that I am with my baby Malachi is a blessing! He is the light of my life right now and I thank God everyday that I was able to get pregnant again and have this baby. The best thing about Mally is that he is a smile-er! He smiles so much, and his smiles make everyone else smile! He smiles at his mom n' dad, he smiles at his brothers, he smiles at strangers walking by, he smiles when I say his name, he smiles when I walk past and look at him, he smiles when I get the camera out. He is chubby and squishy, and happy, and I can enjoy him as much as I want!
**I can enjoy my children! I can drive them to school everyday and pick them up. I can be involved in all their school projects. I can help them to develop positive morals and values in their lives. I can teach them the gospel and help them apply it daily. I can be an example to them. I can play with them, laugh with them, and let them know that I will always be here for them. I love my 3 older boys so much! They are each so unique and wonderful in their own ways. I spend time keeping journals of all the wonderful things they do and say. They amaze me each day with their intelligence and understanding of the world. I am one blessed and lucky mama! (Lil' Jonah is still home with me until he starts Kindergarten in the Fall)
**I can read novels. I joined a book club through our ward (church). I love reading and this has inspired me to choose good books that I wouldn't have known to pick for myself. I've really enjoyed reading each of these books and then discussing them with other book-lovers.
So far we have read:
The Forgotten Garden
The Rent Collector
The Heart Mender
**I can be a Cub Master: My husband and I were asked to be the Cub Masters for our church's Cub Scout group. We oversee and organize the program, help train new Leaders, put on monthly awards and activities, attend scout camps and jamborees, and try to invite and reach out to families in our area. I love it! It keeps me busy, as I love being involved with meaningful projects and activities for children. Our eldest son is a Cub Scout, so I have a special interest in making this a successful, and meaningful experience for him.
**I can run a successful non-profit organization in my community. I am a La Leche League Leader! I provide education, support, and information to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers! I run monthly meetings and enrichment's for moms who want to connect with other like-minded mothers. I take phone calls and emails from mothers who have breastfeeding questions. Next month I am holding a huge yard-sale fundraiser here at our house. I have been filling our back room with everyone's donations, and will sell them to raise money for the group.
**I can make exercising and eating healthy a priority in my life. I am running or walking every single day. I am training for a 10k, (which is next week.) I am eating green smoothies everyday, and focusing on eating mostly whole grains and whole foods, which means lots of vegetables, fruits, and brown rice. I have lost (almost) all the pregnancy weight (65pounds!), only ten more lbs to go, and feel better than ever!
**I can hold Family Home Evenings and daily scripture studies with my family. With the help of my husband we can provide a home for learning the gospel and developing faith in Jesus Christ. This is one of those priorities that doesn't have the option to suffer. This General Conference talks sums it all up for me, inspires me, and reminds me what to put FIRST: Parents: The Prime Gospel Teachers of Their Children.
Okay, my sick baby is awake, and I have things to do before the rest of my family comes home from church. It's been really fun, but I must bid adieu!
This blogging episode was brought to you by an intense need to tap into my creative-side, writer's guilt, sleep deprivation, and the first time I've been home in a quiet house by myself in 3 months. I can't do it all, but the things I can do, I am doing with gusto.