Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ever feel like you've prepped your whole life for something else?

I was reading a comment my friend left on another blog where she wrote, "Sometime I feel like I've prepped my whole life for something else." I've had those same feelings. Still have then, in fact.

I grew up as a fairly typical over-achiever. Valedictorian in high school. One of the top three English graduates at USU in 1994. And I bought into the whole notion that a woman could be anything. Do anything. Really have it all. And what have I become? An at-home mom. (I don't like the term "Stay-at-home" Mom. It sounds like a command for a dog.)

For three years I wrote a self-syndicated parenting column. It kept my emotional boat afloat while my kids were tiny. But eventually it began to pull me away from them. Plus I had un-diagnosed depression. Talk about miserable.

Even this past year, with my kids all in school, I've wondered what I should be doing. (Why is it that we as LDS women give ourselves so many "shoulds?") Anyway, I made it a matter of prayer, fasting and study. And I found out that humble as it is, the Lord needs me right here in the home. Not only that, I learned that I need to be content too. (Big sigh. I'm still working on that.)

When some girlfriends and I got together for lunch a few weeks ago, I asked them if their lives are what they expected them to be. All three said, "Yes. Why, what did you expect?"

I guess I expected to be famous. Important. A best-selling author. And I expected parenting to be easier. After all, wasn't I easy to raise? (Don't answer that, Mom.)

My question for my friends was, "How did you know not to have out-of-control expectations for yourselves?" Their answer: we always planned on staying home with our kids.

Now that I've had a bit more time to noodle over their responses, I've noticed that they have one big thing in common -- their mothers stayed at home.

Mine, on the other hand, was a working mom. Something that I think really is a calling for her. She's done an excellent job raising us and teaching many other kids as well. I guess I always planned on following in her footsteps. (She's famous at the Middle School where she teaches, gives motivational talks to women's groups, and turns anything and everything into an excuse to have fun.) I never stopped to think that what's been good for her might not be right for me.

So, here I am at the homefront. As the days and weeks go by I'm getting better at being a content at-home mom. I'm even learning to stop pestering the Lord to see if the time is right to alter my occupation.

In preparing a Sunday school lesson I came across an excerpt from Lucy Mack Smith's History of Joseph Smith. She had recorded the whole experience of Martin Harris losing the first 116 pages of manuscript for the Book of Mormon. She quoted Joseph as saying, "I should have been satisfied with the first answer which I received from the Lord." It really struck home for me. Ever since then I've been trying to be satisfied with what I've been called to do.

Just lately I've developed a new way to look at the lumps and bumps of life. The way I see it husbands, children, in-laws, housework even -- all help to knock off the rough edges of our emerging character. Not an easy process, and one that won't be done in this lifetime, but every little bit that's knocked off gets us closer and closer to being a beautiful, carefully crafted diamond.

So, just think, we're no longer the black little bit of coal that we were when we came into this world. Look at your wedding ring and envision your own bright future!

I figure that the Lord's not done with me yet. I've yet to put my big mouth to some serious work for Him. I just gotta remember to keep my expectations in check. But is that like telling someone not to dream? 'Cause I don't ever want to stop dreaming. Stop creating possibilities that might someday involve me.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Desmama said...

Interesting what you said about girls' expectations sort of mirroring what their mothers did. Mine was an at-home mom as well, and I can say that while I'm glad I get to do that, there are times I wonder . . . and wonder . . . what would/could I be doing if I hadn't had the opportunity for marriage and motherhood? Motherhood is a lot harder than I thought it would be (it makes me chuckle to think of my naivete now). But I've noticed that for me, doing things that are hard also brings fulfillment and confidence. (Still waiting for those to kick in some days.)

At any rate, I don't really have a "bottom line" to my comment, just wanted to say you got me thinking. This topic has been on my mind lately anyway, so getting your perspective was good.