Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Be Thankful for Everything We Do Have

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My friend Mindee pinned this on Pinterest a few weeks back. I keep thinking about this idea of "attitude" and how it impacts our lives. Since I am a mother with young children, I especially think about the idea of attitude impacting this role in my life. 

I am not really a complaining type of person. There are a couple of special people in the world who get to hear the majority of my complaints, the primary being my husband. He gets to be the one to hear about my frustrations with life when I feel the need to vent them.

Overall, I am a very optimistic person. I have always been happy by nature. I remember being a young teenager and my mom commenting to me that I should know how lucky I am that I am always so happy. Happiness comes easy to me. 

One day as Freshman in college, one of my long-time friends from high school and roommate commented that she needed to be more optimistic like I was in how I viewed each day. I have never been a big "grass is greener" type--that just doesn't make any logical sense. I am good at living in the moment and not wishing away what is today in hope of a better tomorrow.

Not to say everything is always sunshine and roses. Quite the opposite. In the literal sense, I get frustrated with things most moms do. I hate that my children have some unnatural sense about when I am in the bathroom. Can I just have five minutes alone please? Some days a certain child of mine drives me to the end of my patience road. I think I would love to be able to clean my house and it actually stay clean for, I don't know, twelve hours? When I don't feel well, oh how I wish I could just lay on the couch and do nothing all day. Nope. I can't. Not if I want my children to be cared for.

No, life isn't easy and it isn't perfection. Never-the-less, I am happy and optimistic about life. Not because we go along with never needing to correct or children or because they frolic through daisies all day long.  Just because I tend to look at the overall picture rather than all of the small, frustrating and even irritating moments. I don't have it all, but I am happy for what I have.

This quote also sums it up for me nicely:
‎"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around and shouting that he has been robbed. The fact of the matter is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey – delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride." - Jenkin Lloyd Jones, Deseret News, 1973
 Isn't that true? How many people do you know--really know--who live a glamorous, exciting life full of perfect moments? I am sure most of us can think of people who appear to be that way, but I think if we knew the realities, we would see that everyone has their difficulties. Life is full of those things. That doesn't mean life is terrible. Life is what improves our souls. Our happiness in life depends on our attitude about the difficulties.

I also love this quote:
...recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction. M. Russell Ballard (see this post for more)
This thought is always with me. Yes, motherhood is hard! For me, being pregnant is hard. For me, having to slow down and let housework slide is a challenge. For me, giving up my body, my time, myself, etc. is not an easy thing to do. It is frustrating when my children don't listen to me. It gives me a headache when all three kids need to talk to me at the same time. Sometimes I feel pulled in so many directions it is uncomfortable. I don't enjoy not sleeping as much as I would like when it isn't by my own will.

But I have shining moments of joy and satisfaction. When Brayden rushes even faster than I do when he hears a sister got hurt, it warms my heart. When my girls go walking together hand in hand saying, "Sister! I love you sister!" it brings me great joy. When Kaitlyn tells me I am the bestest mom in the whole entire universe, it makes me feel good. When McKenna makes me laugh constantly, it makes me happy.

No, they aren't perfect and no, it isn't always easy, but the overall picture is a beautiful one. I can be happy with my role as a mother even when I am tired, frazzled, and have rarely had a peaceful trip to the bathroom in 6 years.

My husband and I recently spent 9 days away from our children while we went to Hawaii (so fun!). While we were gone, we did miss our children--a whole lot. Yes, we relished in the ease of walking out of the house and getting into the car sans toddlers. I found I had a ton more energy since I wasn't taking care of the kids all day long. It was relaxing.

But every child we saw drew our attention. We commented on how much our children would like this or that. We talked about when we thought we could take our children there with us. It made me think of this quote I recently quoted:
If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly. 
I have always believed that quote, but now I can tell you assuredly that I know it will be true. And so, I encourage us all again, to gain proper perspective, relish the unique joys of each moment, and maintain a proper attitude. Motherhood is hard, but it is a gift. A hard gift that will make us into amazing women. Let's enjoy it for what it is. Let's be thankful for what it is we have.

PS--Will someone please forward this post to me when I have a newborn this summer? Thanks.


Gwyn said...

You're so right! Funny story about this post... I was reading it while my 8 month old was in independent play while sitting in the bathroom- I wasn't even using it, just enjoying the oppotunity to relax for a second!

Emily said...

So so true I am reminding myself everyday that happiness is a choice we must choose!!!! Thanks for the continued encouragement ;)

Michael and Natalie said...

Loved this post. Also, found your bit about the things that really get to you (the headache, the being in the bathroom, the certain child that tests your patience) inexplicably refreshing. I don't know that I've ever read anything quite like that on your blog-for all the reasons you mentioned in this post ;)-and it was glorious. You are a real person. You do struggle!! It truly seems that you do not struggle, and not like in those blogs with the perfect moms and perfect husbands and perfect hair, not like those where you know they're not really like that they're just saying they are, in the way that it really seems like you always have it all together. If you ever feel the need to complain a little to the blogosphere, we would understand! I think I speak for everyone when I say it makes us feel better to know that you have annoyances or lack of patience sometimes. Thank you for all you do.

Michael and Yvonne said...

So true! I am having to sign up DD1 for kinder and I'm totally not ready. Makes me sad as I realize the time passes by so quickly. I know there will be new phases but it still is very bittersweet for me.

Natalie Jansen said...

Thank you for this post.

Grace said...

Love this post! I identify with it all. What a good reminder :)

Amy said...

fabulous post - so many people will gain from this. thank you.

grace said...

Thanks for your post :)
i was just thinking the other, how you actually cope with 3 kids without tearing your hair. You always seem so calm and detached and in control of whatever situation it may be (from infection to whining to "rebellion").

I have 3 now and when all 3 are together wanting my attention at the same time, i really feel like screaming.

even tho this post doesn't come even close to a complaint but i feel encouraged that all mothers go through the same hardship (in varying degrees :) )

thanks once again.

liz22 said...

Great post! Thanks!!

Plowmanators said...

You are all welcome!

Plowmanators said...

grace, lol--I definitely think that three children trying to talk to you all at once is a test of patience for sure!

Plowmanators said...

Natalie, I am glad things don't seem fake--they definitely aren't. I don't sugar coat or fabricate. Like I said, it isn't in my nature to complain, but I also don't want to have an immortalized complaint about any of my children on the Internet, you know? It is one thing to verbally express frustrations to my husband (who loves them and who also gets it), or good friend in person who has kids and gets it, but another to complain to the world...perhaps I could find ways to share frustrtations without singling out any one child? I just know if my mom complained about me on a public forum like this, it would hurt my feelings. Hopefully that makes sense.


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