Monday, June 23, 2008

One of The Many "AH-HA" Moments!

Claude Monet's famous painting: "Women at the Garden at Ville d'Avray"

Over at my niece Michal's blog, she is having a little contest. She is asking those who read her post to blog about times when they have had "Ah-ha" moments in mothering.

Here's what her blog says about her contest. You can check it out at:

The Topic: An Ah-ha Moment of Motherhood. Tell me about a time when something really clicked for you and you saw motherhood in a new way. Or when you felt enlightenment in regards to your role as a mother or how you should handle a situation in your family. Or when you had an epiphany about your own mother. You get the picture. I'll be posting mine in the next couple of days.

The Rules: Write a new post on the above topic on your blog. Be sure to leave me a comment on this post so that my readers and I can come over to your blog and read it. And please mention the contest and link to this post when you write your contest entry, so that if your readers want to participate, they'll know how to. The contest begins immediately and will go through June 30th.

I hope you will want to play along. Here's what I am sharing with my blog readers:
(It is my honesty that I hope you can appreciate.)

I saw Michal’s post about her “An Ah-ha Moment of Motherhood” contest on Tuesday and have been really thinking and pondering about this topic ever since. Motherhood for me is a minute by minute experience. It’s like no other. I find as I my children get older the less I know.

I use to hear these little old ladies at church say: “Oh Ann, enjoy every minute of motherhood because your children grow up way too fast!” I always looked at them so oddly and thought, “That can never been. Have they seen all the laundry I do? Have they not seen the millions of toys lying around on my floor? Or the windows I have cleaned a thousand times just today?” I just blew them off as if years of experience were not really speaking to me. But guess what? My babies are growing up way too fast. I have a driver, another one in middle school, a daughter already baptized and my youngest starting all day kindergarten in the fall. Our children to grow too fast and if we don’t take the time to sit back and enjoy the ride—and listen to the Holy Ghost as we try to receive inspiration on how we should raise them, we will have really missed out. "

But that’s not the point I wanted to make. I guess my “Ah-ha” moment came one day as I watched myself—you know those out of body experiences we have every so often—and realized that I was parenting the same way my mother had. I did not want that for my children and I certainly did not want them to grow old and have the same feelings toward me that I sometimes do toward my own mother.

I began to see that my over controlling, over correcting, wanting everything to be perfect was destroying my relationship with my wonderful children. This relationship was being destroyed with my children, who for the most part are good, really good. Who want to do well! Who really love being around me and who love me unconditionally.

In my home growing up I watched a mother drive her children away from her. She had great intentions. She wanted us to have so many skills and to be talented and to succeed but it was through her constant criticism that she pushed us each away from her. Who wants to be around someone who is constantly negative? I sure don’t. My older brothers left home at seventeen and my little brother and I honor our mother but don’t have a very close relationship with our mother at all.

I realized one day as I looked into my children’s rooms and saw disarray and started in on my “tirade” of what was expected in a “perfect” bedroom that my children were going to someday just tune me out like I had my own mother. They were certainly going to stop listening to me, and then when I really needed to share something with them they would not listen.

I guess what I am saying with all this, is that motherhood is hard work. No one is perfect at it. We all have different parenting styles and skills, but our children were sent to us for a reason. They needed us as parents. They need us to teach them. They don’t need someone to yell at them and criticize their every move. They need to know that home is a safe place. This place is a place where no matter what the day brings, everyone is loved.

The spirit in our home has changed. I know I have changed. I still yell. I read and re-read Elder Russell M. Nelson’s General Conference address from April 2008 often. Sometimes I find myself looking and reading this talk on a daily basis. I am getting better. I think sometimes I even let important things slide because I want to enjoy the kids more. I want to have peace and love and fun and all those fruits of the spirit that it talks about in the New Testament. I want my children to grow up and love me, not fear me. I need someone to change my “depends” when I’m old.—and lovingly do it as well.


Michal said...

that was beautiful, ann. thanks for writing it. and for reminding me of what nagging and criticizing can do to my kids long-term. i know that i don't do enough of the positive feedback that they crave.
great entry.

Katy Jean said...

I love your "depends" comment. My dad used to harass me about how I would have to change his diapers. Then one day he was harassing me and Melane told him to stop and be nice. My dad said, "Oh yeah because she will have to change my diapers when I'm old!" I wittingly told them that I was off the hook because that was why he married Melane!! You're awesome!