A while back we had a RS Conference with another stake with the theme being Joy. It was so great. We started with a talk in the chapel, then broke off to go to different classes. On that I took was Finding Joy Raising Teens. The other I took was Finding Joy in Marriage. The one I didn't take was Finding Joy in Motherhood.
Here is a quote by President Thomas S. Monson from spring 2008:
"To find real happiness, we must seek for it in a focus outside ourselves. No one has learned the meaning of living until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellow man."
I have always wanted to be a mom. While I was in high school, I remember wanting to be a mom and have 6 kids. When I was in elementary school, I thought I would be a teacher, because they get to be off when their kids are off. (my mom had to work while we were kids, so I thought it would be the same for me) I loved to babysit, and had a number of babysitting jobs while in school. The kids were so cute and fun. But they weren't mine. I got to go home when the parents got home.
Now move forward 18 years.
I am still so grateful to be a mom. When I hear of women who can't have children, it makes me so sad for them. I know they will get to raise children in the here-after, but I get to right now.
I know that it can be hard. With soBut many children, the house isn't clean very often. Well, it gets cleaned, scrubbed, vacuumed, mopped, dusted. But there are always things that are not where they belong. The toys get left out. Homework isn't put up. Food fixings get left out.
Then you have to sacrifice your time for them. Well, I guess you don't have to. But if you don't, there won't be as much happiness.
So most of my projects get to go on the back burner. Kinda frustrates me. But that's how it is.
They also cost a lot. they need food, clothing, a place to live. Then there are the fun things. Toys, books, activities.
You also have to help them with things. When they are infants, you do everything for them. As they get older, you have to help them dress, get food, read to them, pick up after them, get things down for them, hold them, talk to them, teach them, help with homework, have play dates, drive them places, pick them up from places, get them in bed, wake them up, wait up for them....I could go on, but won't. You know, you've been there (or are there).
So, to sum up, kids take a lot of work. My sweet BIL asks why anyone would want to be a parent. Our new response is from a friend: Because we don't want to be the servants to those in the mansions.
But it really is more than that. Think of the joy you felt when you first found out you were expecting. Then when you first held that baby. Then you watch them grow. They learn new things everyday. They smile at you. They say the best things. They are so Chirst like at time. They will say something that makes you want to be a better person.
On those bad days, I just have to remember what amazing things they do. How they make me feel when I see them (even if it's while they are sleeping). How exciting it is when they do something new.
For example: Katia is a sunbeam this year. She was so excited! The first day of the new year, we were at a baby blessing 2 hours away and weren't able to take her to her new class. This broke her heart. This was going to be such a fun thing. Of course after 2 months, she still wants to sit by us during sharing time, instead of with her own class. She does go to class okay, and has a great time~
Jayden has been reading chapter books. He has been so excited about this. He was trying to learn to read in his head 2 months ago. While he would be "reading", all I saw was his finger moving across the page. Why can he read the page faster than me? Well, he didn't realize that you have to "think" the words on the page. He thought you just looked at the letters as your finger went by them. So now, he has it figured out. But it was so funny for him to say "Done" when he wasn't. And then wonder why he couldn't tell me what the chapter was about.
Ari has been trying to keep his room clean. But he couldn't figure out why he couldn't find anything. Well, he would just put everything on the shelves and call it good. A couple of weeks ago he decided to organize these shelves. I wondered what would happen. He was so surprised that most of the stuff, first of all, didn't go on the shelf, and second of all, was trash. Since then, he has kept his room clean, the shelves organized, and the trash seems to need emptying each week. He also has been doing a great job at getting his dirty clothes in the hamper.
BTW, he use to be the most perfectionist of all the kids. But now he blends in with the rest. Must be the "tween" thing.Now,
Julia was such a moody thing. She complained about everything. Nothing ever was right and every day was a bad one. Now when I talk to her, she is so happy and excited about things. (This may be because she is a cheerleader, but I'll take what I can get.)
Elyse is just a crafty thing. She loves to make things. It was so fun when she first started doing things on her own. She would put the craziest things together. And then I would wear them. Now I love to wear her things. She makes amazing jewelry. Her hair bows are so cute and fun. She sewed her own Halloween costume in 2008. She makes blankets, and gives them to friends. She even made most of the birthday cakes last year (all but Tony's). She makes the best homemade macaroni and cheese.
Now, I don't know that I always LOVE every moment of motherhood. This past week was a dozy. It is so hard to have sick kids. All I did was hold someone all week. The house was a total mess. I was even ecstatic when I got to sweep the kitchen. But when I finally was able to get it into my head that this was how it was going to be for a while, I was able to find joy in this challenge. First of all, I won't get to hold them for much longer. Katia especially. I was able to "relax" more than usual. I read a book, watched a few movies. Watched many children's shows. Surfed the web. Found a lot of crafts I want to do, but don't have time for. (I'll get to them in a few years) I got to read to the kids a bunch. They didn't always like the books I chose, but hey, they were stuck with me.
I also love to do things with the kids. Thursday, since Delta and Emma were feeling a bit better, we decided to make a purple picture. I gave them a crayon, paper, and we started talking about what was purple. Then we found a few things in the kitchen that were purple. It was fun. We also love to blow bubbles. I love it because I just have to sit there and blow while they run around and pop. So good.
I love teaching them things. The other day Jayden was asking a question about something that just wasn't making sense. After talking for a while, I figured out what he was really asking. He wanted to know about the planets and the creation and why some people don't believe that God was the one in charge of it. So we were able to talk about how we "think" that it was created, what the scriptures say, and why some people don't believe in God. It was a great thing for me, because I am just a believer, and don't always have to know the why.
I find joy watching the kids play. this morning Jayden (6) and Katia (3) were playing the wii while picking up the front room. It was so great to watch them. Jayden would help Katia with the game, and he would then go and pick up a few toys while he waited for his turn. He would get happy for her and say"Great job" or "Way to go" It was so good to hear that. They were treating each other with so much kindness. Taking turns. Picking up. What could get any better than that.
We have to find the joy in what we are doing. In being a mom. In the messes. They fade so quickly. (though at times I wonder) In the hard times. They too will pass. In the loss of sleep. (though that may never go away)
I can't believe how blessed we are. 7 children. Man!!