I’VE NEVER SEEN MORE JOB REQUIREMENTS IN MY LIFE

DSC_1441-X3Dear Miss S.,

My mind has been full with thoughts on motherhood today. This letter may be long but stick with me. After thinking, I could not find a single job that looked as unappealing on paper as motherhood can.  I imagine a job description for motherhood looking something like this:

Job Requirements:

  • Be at your client’s beck and call after hours, on weekends, and in the middle of the night.
  • Must be able to function and be production on little sleep.
  • Willing to get messy/dirty and go through several outfits a day.
  • Willing to wipe client’s bum, nose, hands, and mouth.
  • Cook for client. (Baking not necessary but preferable.)
  • Feed client while they sit back relaxed.
  • Must be willing to skip your own meals.
  • Wash, dry, and fold laundry of client. Must also be able to put their laundry away for them.
  • Pick up client’s groceries at the store and restock their fridge.
  • Must have a decent enough fashion sense to pick out clothing and dress client(s).
  • Must bath, clean, dress, and do hair of client.
  • Must have more knowledge than client and be willing to teach them new skills.
  • Willing to have your patience tried. Client can often be slow, whiny, stubborn, and is still learning basic manners.
  • While being professionally trained is not necessary, you must be able to offer counsel and comfort and know how to fix a broken heart.
  • Knowing how to administer first aid is necessary.
  • While no certificate is necessary, must have cleaning and tidying skills and be able to teach them to client(s).
  • Must be able to handle stress.
  • Must be able to offer constant praise and affection.
  • No accounting degree necessary but must be able to budget and use money wisely.
  • Must be able to protect client from physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental harm and must protect them from getting hurt.
  • Be willing to correct, discipline, and put client(s) in their place if needed.
  • Know how to respond appropriately in many different situations.
  • Be able to recognize and apply the fine line between friendship and guidance.
  • Must be able to multitask.
  • Must be able to juggle many different conversations and activities at once.
  • Provide a warm smile whether you are stressed, exhausted, or unhappy. Along with this, must be able to convince client that everything is okay.
  • Have a current driver’s license and know how to operate a vehicle. Personal vehicle preferred.
  • Must keep client(s) fit and healthy.
  • Must be able to prescribe meds and give them when necessary.
  • Must protect client and keep them safe.
  • Must use intuition.
  • Must be able to convince client to eat, behave, and do things they don’t always want to.
  • Should be able to maintain cool and collected with large amounts of attitude, whining, crying, sass, and problems.
  • Must be able to care for more than one client at once.
  • Must attend every event of client.
  • Must chauffer client to their different activities and events during the day.
  • Able to use common sense and sort through and make sense of white lies and sneakiness.
  • While not desirable, must be able to complete smell checks on body, bum, and clothing of client.
  • Willing to have your reputation ruined because of clients words, decisions, or actions.
  • Full knowledge that your chance of getting sick if your client(s) is sick is very high.
  • Willing to sacrifice your freedom, hobbies, interests, money, and time for client.
  • Able to work of little praise.
  • Willing to go days without showering or cleaning self.
  • No specific dress required.
  • Will feel heartbreak on behalf of your client(s). Must be able to manage and handle pain.
  • Must be able and willing to carry up to 30+ pounds for extended periods of time.
  • Must make and attend all personal appointments of client(s).
  • Must be able to be stubborn and know when to put your foot down.
  • Must be able to communicate effectively.
  • Must be able to build and gain trust and love from and for client.
  • Must know how to turn a bad day good.
  • Client(s) may be moody and must be able to deal with their emotions.
  • Willing to get thrown up on, pooped on, have boogers wiped on, and be a human napkin.
  • Must be willing to run errands, even if unnecessary.
  • Must have a basic knowledge and understanding of PreK-12th grade education at the least.
  • Able to tune out nonsense, whining, and crying from time to time.
  • Able to answer hundreds of questions a day on almost any topic.
  • Must pay for what client wants and needs without getting repaid in cash/check/money form.
  • Willing to work for no pay, no holidays, no breaks. (Pay in the form of hugs, kisses, snuggles, bonding moments, and occasional thank yous.)
  • Unable to quit job.

No person in their right mind would ever sign up for a job like this and yet we do. Motherhood is such a paradox. It is so challenging, so hard, and some days so lonely, while the same thing that brings you the most happiness, accomplishment, fulfillment, and joy in your life. Somehow motherhood is both of those things.

I’d be lying if I said that every day was easy. I can’t tell you how many evenings come and I’m exhausted and worn out. You give up your freedom, you time, and your hobbies being a mom. By the end of the day you’re sometimes so pooped that you just need a break; time to be with yourself, without noise, or being touched and smashed and jumped on, with the possibility of having a break from being a human napkin. Before having kids I didn’t always understand the mom who said that she’d make up an excuse to use the bathroom just to get a few minutes to herself. Now I get it. I so get it. The idea of alone time, free time, or freedom is gone after having kids and the world tries to convince you that you’re selfish if you take your eyes off your kids even for a second, or have something that you enjoy doing.

To date I haven’t been able to think of a single occupation yet that sacrifices as much as a mother. Even the most grueling of jobs end when the clock hits 5:00 or 6:00, yet a mothers stretches into the night and early hours of the morning, never really ending. It’s a continuous job that has no end. On top of this, motherhood is most under paid, underrated, and unappreciated job there is. Our payment comes in snuggles, hugs, kisses, connections, and occasional thank yous ,and I have to believe that we’d rank as one of the higher paying jobs if money paid us. A mother is the real version of superwoman, minus the red cape and funny looking outfit (although we have those from time to time too.) A mother does everything; she encompasses every job I could think of and I have to believe that Heavenly Father made us this way on purpose. Our roles and tasks are no small feat and in order for any human to accomplish what a mother does, she has to be built strong. We mothers are a different breed of human. That isn’t to say we are better, just different.  We’ve been given different strengths and talents and thank heavens for that.

Motherhood is hard. Somedays it can be a challenge. With this said, some days are wonderfully fun and smooth. You get both. I wanted to make sure that you knew the truth about what it takes to be a mother and the strength you must have. Not to scare you but to make you realize how incredible you are. You were born, built, and made to become something incredible. You’ve been given special talents and skills and one day those will come in handy.

I wouldn’t trade it being a mother for anything. Even on the most challenging of days. What a blessing being your mom has been. Being your mom has been the biggest dream and the greatest blessing and I wouldn’t give it up or trade it for anything. You’ve brought a happiness into my life that couldn’t be greater. You’ve given me purpose and a sense of accomplishment. You’ve given me laughs, and love, and memories and for you I will always be grateful. Please always remember that you are incredible and strong and even on the most challenging of days, motherhood is always worth it.

-Mom

THE STRENGTH OF A MOTHER

Dear Miss S.,

Yesterday we went to church like we always do on Sunday.  This time though we went to Natalie and Christian’s ward for Abby’s baby blessing. I was struck by two comments that were made by women in the congregation. The first woman stood up and told of her newborn baby girl who was born with a terminal illness. The second woman referenced her struggles with conceiving and miscarriage and what a miracle it was that her little baby had made it into this world.

For some reasons these comments stuck with me. They made me think of the strength of a mother. I think women were given a great deal of strength but I think that this often makes itself manifest as a woman becomes a mother.  I think moms are a lot stronger than we give them credit for. I think they suffer heartbreak and heart ache, not only from situations in their own lives but also the lives of every single child they have.  Their worries and love begin before their baby ever leaves the womb, before they ever meet.

Besides the emotional and mental strength, there is the aspect of physical strength that I think often gets overlooked in a woman. They say giving birth is the equivalent of fracturing 20 bones at the same time. If this is true, why we continue to keep having babies our first comes as a surprise to some. I’ve never heard a man say they wished they could trade spots with us. I’m sure there are some but I’ve never met one. I think men are often viewed as the tough and strong ones, as they are, but I think it takes a different level of strength to be a mother. Not only to give birth but to handle the trials that come into the lives of those you love with grace.

I wish I could better explain my thoughts. They seem so profound in my head and so simple and meaningless on paper.

I hope that one day you realize the strengths from being a mother as you have your own babies. I hope you realize on the days that you feel like a failure, that your house is a disaster, that you haven’t showered or gotten dressed, that you have been less than productive, that your kids are being loud, crazy, and a bit obnoxious, that it takes a great deal of strength to do what you do; emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. Being a mother is no easy feat and those who say it is have never been a mother or are doing something wrong. Just remember, you are strong. You were born tough. You were made to be able to get through your days.I hope that one day you get to have your own babies and to love them as much as I love you. As to date, nothing makes you realize your own strength more.

-Mom

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I GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO…

d73f0b1d92372c0500a2bf4d7c4a24460408c7cbc82a8e511fa35a0bd6996bbcDear Miss S.,

I get especially fired up when it comes to people being mean to you. Sure, I think every mom could say this but I’d bet I’m a little more extreme when it comes to some. I can’t tell you how fired up it gets me and how it is even harder for me to shake off.

Let me get the point. Miss S., you are mild, submissive, and calm. Some days you’re too sweet for your own good. It would never ever cross your mind to get revenge, be mean, give payback, or get ahead. I hope this never changes. I do hope though that you don’t let people trample all over you in order to avoid hurting their feelings or feeling like you are doing something wrong. Too often I watch you just take the meanness people give you. You don’t tell a grown up, you don’t tell the person to stop; you just sit and take it. Some days I watch as you sit and not know what to do to. I’ve wanted to walk over and help you through the situation but most times the situation doesn’t allow.

Now, in some cases just taking the blow and moving on is the best way to handle the problem but other times it isn’t. Let me tell you something I hope you never ever forget: if you have tried to be sweet and polite in order to resolve a situation and it doesn’t work, I give you permission to stand your ground. You don’t need to let people be mean to you. You don’t need to put up with people’s lack of manners. You don’t need to continue being sweet. You don’t need to take people’s meanness. You just don’t. I hope you remember this. I hope you continue to grow and learn how to stand up for yourself. This doesn’t mean being rude or unkind, but it does mean being stern and not putting up with people’s garbage. You can do that without returning the meanness, no matter much you want to. Be kind, be sweet, have manners, and never change how mild, submissive, and calm you are but don’t ever let people trample all over you. Ever! You have my permission to stand your ground.

-Mom

DON’T TRY TO RUSH THINGS THAT NEED TIME TO GROW

waitDear Littles,

I’ve been bad at writing the past few weeks. Sometimes I feel I stretch myself too thin and say yes to too much. I end up barely getting to the end of the day. That is how I have felt these past few weeks but today I have a little down time so I thought I’d write.

One of the many things I’ve said yes to these past few weeks was exercise. Oh, how I dislike it but oh, how good it is for you. I wish I was one of those people who loved it. I love the feeling after I’ve done it and can check it off my list but I can’t say I love exercise itself. Maybe I just haven’t found the right exercise or maybe I’m a baby and don’t like pain. I think it could be a combination of both. I don’t really feel like I know what I am doing most days too. I wish I had someone every day to tell me how to eat and exercise. With that said, I also wish I had someone who did my hair and makeup every day. How heavenly would that be?

With this added activity has come a realization I have always known; I’m extremely impatient. I want the results seconds after I feel the burn. I want to see rock hard chiseled abs the second I sweat. I know life doesn’t work like this. Sometimes I wish it did. So through the sweatiness and achy muscles, I’ve found myself wishing my patience was better.

I have to remind myself that exercise, like so many things in life, is one of those things that require pain to become better. There is a story about a boy who came across a cocoon. It was cracked and the butterfly was trying it’s hardest to push itself out. After waiting the afternoon the boy couldn’t help but grab a pair scissors and cut the cracked cocoon open so the butterfly could fly out. He didn’t like seeing it struggle so he cut the cocoon and the butterfly came out easily but he realized that upon cutting the cocoon that the butterfly had a swollen body and shredded wings. The butterfly would never fly because it was the struggle, and the pushing, and the pain of trying to get out of its cocoon that strengthened its wings and body enough to fly. Because it hadn’t been through the necessary pain, it would never fly.

Pain brings change and I think that can be a good thing to remember, especially during the days when we are struggling. Life won’t always be comfortable but it is that pain that allows us to soar. Just remember that.

Along with that, remember that most good things take time. Be patient.

Also, exercise is important no matter how uncomfortable and horrible it may seem. We have been given these incredible bodies. Take care of yours.

Maybe this letter was written more for me today but I think the lessons learned can be applied to almost any area of life. Remember that.

-Mom

BE A DOER

7e6caa7372245c1d92d6dba3b613670cDear Littles,

This weekend was General Conference and it got me thinking about a whole slew of things. One of which was how often I make accuses for things. It’s not even done on purpose; most of the time it happens as a result of having too much time to think. I’ll wake up in the morning and think, “Okay you can bike this morning, eat breakfast, read your scriptures, take a shower, or check Facebook. Which do you want to do?” I’ll then spend the next hour or so weighing the pros and cons of each thing. I find myself thinking things like, “Well if I bike right now I’ll be all gross the rest of the day but at least I will get it over with. But, I really want to eat. Maybe if I eat right now I can catch a minute to myself, but at the same time I think it is important to eat as a family if possible so maybe I will wait until everyone wakes up. I should shower but because I haven’t decided if I am going to bike and exercise or not I shouldn’t shower just in case I decide to do it this morning.” You get my point. My thoughts take up my whole morning until when I finally have some idea of what I want to do, the day is partially over. I spend so much time thinking that I leave very little time for the doing. If I would have just woken up and gotten started I would have been able to accomplish everything on my list and probably more by the time I would have normally decided what the plan was for the day.

Be a doer. Don’t waste so much of your day away in thought that you don’t live life. By the time you decide to actually do, it may be too late. Spend less time thinking and more time doing. Some things don’t need as much thought as we give them.

Now, let me clarify by saying thinking is good. It’s good to be curious, to use your brain, think of ideas. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I like to feel my mind working. There is plenty of time every day to do that. Just don’t waste time thinking and procrastinating when you could be doing. You’ll find that if you do first, there will also be plenty of time to think. If you think first, there won’t be much time left to do.

Be a doer, be productive, and don’t waste so much of your day away that you have little time to do. You’ll find that the satisfaction you get from doing will be more rewarding most days than the satisfaction you get from procrastinating and wasting time. Remember that.

-Mom

LESS IS MORE

Dear Miss S.,

Every once in a while I get surprised by what people feel comfortable leaving the house looking like. Most times, it’s the people who leave wearing too much makeup or bearing to much skin While it’s not my spot to judge, I thought I’d give you a few pieces of advice so that you never leave the house looking any less fabulous than you ought to.

  1. Less is more.
  2. Make sure your foundation matches your skin.
  3. You do not always need a face of make up to leave the house.
  4. When it comes to finding the right clothing size, don’t focus on the number or letter on the tag. Just buy what fits. You’ll thank me down the road.
  5. If it’s see through, it doesn’t belong as your base layer or only layer.
  6. PLEASE don’t over pluck your eyebrows. Please!
  7. Stretchy clothes are comfortable. They are also see through so be careful what you put on your body.
  8. Wash your hair.
  9. Just because it is in “fashion” doesn’t mean you should wear it.
  10. Never at any time, or any size, do I want to see you hanging out your clothes. This means your chest, your stomach, and your booty.
  11. Most insecurities can be hid by wearing the right size and the right style.
  12. Don’t cake on the makeup. This is where less is truly more.
  13. All your girlfriends are going to dye their hair. Don’t do it.
  14. There may come a time when it is popular to have bright colors in your hair. Avoid it. If your hair is any color of the rainbow and you weren’t born like that, then it shouldn’t be on your head.
  15. Never dress with the goal of feeling “sexy.” That usually leads to bad fashion choices.
  16. You are beautiful just the way you are.

Fashion and beauty can be fun. The options and styles are endless. Just know that when it comes to beauty, less is usually more and that you are more beautiful than you will ever realize.

-Mom

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ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

4e63d83c46f1d741f467981fb4d3da73 d5beefd672bd3bc70e0770f1e826eef7Dear Littles,

Next month I am in charge of teaching a church lesson on gratitude and it has got me thinking the past few days. As I’ve looked over the manual and pondered some ideas I couldn’t help but be taken back to my first year of college.

Let me rewind for a second though to high school. I remember feeling in high school like there were so many people better off than me. I went to a nice school that had a demographic of kids that had a decent amount of money. I always remember feeling like I had the least. I knew that I was blessed but it was the kind of belief that hasn’t really soaked in all the way. I believed it because that is what I had been told but I hadn’t ever experienced anything much different.

It was first year of college when I had been hired by a high school across the valley to go and play my flute in their musical because they didn’t have enough flute players. I agreed and found myself nervous to drive all the way out there. It wasn’t far if you took the freeway but because I had only drove the freeway a handful of times and was far from comfortable, I opted to drive the fifty or so minutes down a main road until I got there. It wasn’t long after getting there that I started to realize that the rest of the world, even those in my own valley, lived very differently than me.

I was naïve and thought the rest of the world lived like I did, or better. I look back now and feel embarrassed even admitting that I thought I was the person who didn’t have as much as the others. I was surrounded by kids who had to pay for their car, automobile insurance, and their phones. If they couldn’t afford it, they didn’t have it. There were kids without cars, kids who had to work to help support their family, and people who had no extra money whatsoever. I was surprised to say the least. I didn’t know that there were kids so close to home that lived so differently than I did. I still feel silly saying this because I now realize that even this is so much more than so many people in the world have. So many people would kill to be in their spot.

It was after seeing these kids that it hit me like a ton of bricks – I had grown up so spoiled and privileged. I had more than so many people and the fact that I thought otherwise is embarrassing to admit.

Thanksgiving time rolled around Grandma and Grandpa, like many other families, has the tradition of going around the table and saying what we are thankful for. As my turn approached I could feel tears well up in my eyes because I realized how much I had to be grateful for. I had a wonderful family and a car that was given to me. I didn’t pay for anything other than my gas and I didn’t work to pay bills or to purchase what so many other people had.  All my money went towards my savings account and toward fun nights with friends. Everything I owned or did was provided by my parents. I was blessed beyond belief and it was as if I had never really known it. I felt like my eyes had been opened for the first time.

I hope that you realize how much you have to be grateful for.  You have so much that other people don’t have. So many people would give anything to be in your shoes.  Learn to be grateful and to see all that you have. Be quick to find even the smallest of things to be grateful for and remember that an ungrateful heart is one of the ugliest things. Be grateful and humble and never forget how much you have been given.

-Mom

THE BEAUTY IN SIMPLICITY

f7c85d05de00a24544dacbd3bd42f16fDear Littles,

A few days ago we went and spent the morning up at Grandma and Grandpa’s house while your Dad did some homework that was due soon. While you played, Grandma and I made some homemade salsa. She made some about a week ago that turned out perfect, or at least I thought it did. I could have put it on everything I ate, regardless of if it was a food that went well with salsa or not. Today, we played with recipe a little bit, changing some amounts here, adding an ingredient there. We had a lot of fun making it together.

After we finished we put it in the fridge to let some of the flavors soak in. Homemade salsa is one of those foods that tastes better the day after it’s made. I couldn’t help but go back a few hours after it had been put in the fridge and do a little taste test. While I found it tasty, I didn’t think it was as good as the first batch that Grandma made. I felt like the taste of garlic was too strong and that some of the added ingredients detracted from the quality that comes from simplicity.

My point is: sometimes simple is best. Not always, but sometimes. This can be applied to a lot of areas in life. It can come in handy when accessorizing an outfit, cooking, writing, speaking, whatever. There is a beauty in simplicity and I hope you can see that and learn when to add the frills and extras, and when to avoid them. Just remember, simple is sometimes best.

-Mom

 

 

YOU WILL NEVER REGRET BEING KIND

46c7069cdf8871d2c3a3ee6727093388 Dear Littles,

I hate being the bearer of bad news but I think it’s sometimes nice to have a warning about what’s to come. Maybe it’s because I don’t like the unknown. I find that I can prepare better for what lies ahead if I have a little bit of a heads up. So here it is.

People aren’t always nice in life. I’ve told you that before but I haven’t mentioned the part where I tell you that there will be people who will be mean to you, not just others. I’ve told you before that people make bad choices and that people will say mean things, but I don’t know if I’ve directly told you before that you’ll have times in life where it is directed toward you.

I hate writing this. It makes me cringe to see those words out on paper and makes me want to cry even thinking about people being mean to you. Sometimes you may have done something to bring it upon yourself and others times you’ll realize you did nothing to deserve it. Either way, it makes my heart hurt to think about that. I’ve already experienced a several times where someone has said or done something mean and it makes me want to go cry. Sometimes I think I take it more personally than you do. Maybe that is a good thing. It’s good to have tough skin once in a while. Some days I think I may need it more than you do.

The other day I found myself in one of these situations. They don’t happen often but they have happened before. They make me want to cry. Some littler person had said something unkind to one of you and the moment I heard I felt like it had been said to me. Actually, I think I would have handled things better if it had. I asked if anything unkind was said back to which the reply was, “no.” That made me grateful. I didn’t anything had but both of you are in the wrong if you return the mean gesture.

Let me just remind you of a two important things. First, if someone is unkind to you, don’t say anything unkind back; if you do, both of you will be in the wrong, not just the person who started the issue to begin with. Second, stand up for yourself. Don’t let people trample all over you and don’t feel like you have to keep your mouth shut when people are unkind. There are a lot of ways of standing up for yourself without being unkind. You could tell an adult, you could tell the person not to treat you like that, you could tell them that the way they are behaving isn’t nice. There are a million things you could tell them.  You find that sometimes it’s best just to keep your mouth shut while other times you need to stand up for yourself. There is a find balance and I hope that you find that. It’s something that can’t be taught, but must be learned from experience.

Be a kind person. Be a forgiving person. And be someone who will stand up for yourself if you need. Remember that people don’t always have it as good as you do. There is a lot that goes on behind closed doors that we don’t see and some people’s past has a way of making them cold.

Remember these things.

-Mom

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FROZEN IN TIME

Dear Littles,

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have grown up with a mom who always had her camera out. I have pictures galore from my life and it was all because of her love for her camera. I feel grateful to have so many wonderful memories, especially after I see people with so few.

Pictures are truly fascinating things to me. The fact that we’ve mastered the art of freezing time is incredible. I think of all the seconds of our lives that pass away, that we’ll never get back, but with photographs, it’s like that second is frozen. You can look back with clarity and recall details that you didn’t know you remembered from just a single image. I think it’s amazing.

One of my favorite things to do is go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house and flip through all the huge photo albums they have. It’s funny how a piece of paper with an image on it can spark your memory so much. Just from a single picture I’ll be able to recall specific days or events, favorite clothing or toys, and sometimes things that aren’t even pictured in the actual photograph.

This past Sunday we drove about an hour to meet up with my grandparents and to go to church with my grandma who is in a rest home. It was special to be able to do that. All my cousins might say the same thing but I always felt like I was a favorite of hers. That made her even more special to me. My grandma’s memory has gone and being able to go to church with her is a memory I’ll always keep.  I know that she won’t be around forever. While Miss S. was lucky enough to get a picture after being born with every set of grandparents and great grandparents, Mister S. wasn’t as lucky. On Sunday we were lucky enough to take a few pictures with them.

Out of all the photos we took I chose this one as one of my favorites. It captured my grandma's personality so well. She has always loved babies and I love how her and Mister S. are looking at each other.

Out of all the photos we took I chose this one as one of my favorites. It captured my grandma’s personality so well. She has always loved babies and I love how her and Mister S. are looking at each other.

Miss S. and Mister S. with their great grandma and grandpa.

Miss S. and Mister S. with their great grandma and grandpa.

While Mister S. may not be able to ever look at the photographs and remember details from that day, maybe Miss. S. will; or maybe not. I don’t know. I am so grateful we have them though. I hope that one day you can look back and know what your great grandparents looked like, what you looked like, and how much you are loved. The fact that you have a picture with them is pretty incredible. Not everyone can say they have a photograph like that.

I hope you realize the importance of a photograph and find time to take as many as you can. I hope that one day you’re able to look back, as well as your own kids, and be able to see what wonderful lives you’ve had and to be able to recall those special memories and moments. Don’t let time pass you by without snapping a few because time will be gone before you know it.

-Mom

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