September 23, 2011

Insignificant or Incredible?

WARNING! Thoughtful post ahead. Leave now while you still can!

I should have been cleaning, or canning, or sleeping, or doing something productive, but I wasn't.

Instead, I spent my time cruising the web last night after all the kids were in bed. Mostly jumping around blogs, and actually skimming through facebook, that sort of thing.

My time spent in the electronic world covered an amazingly wide variety of things.

People offering advise, people asking for advice. People chewing out large families, people supporting large families. People trying to build their blogs, others closing theirs down. Some were announcing huge life changes, others offering simple comical relief. There were stories of great loss, others of great triumph. Some people were crafting, others were cooking, and some still were simply trying to figure out who they are. There were political debates, and moral conflicts. There were funny stories. There were scary stories. There was simple family life. There was beautiful photography. People were having babies or getting a book published. My brother announced his church mission call, and heck, I even discovered that a girl I grew up with is now a famous lead singer!

It was quite a mixed salad to ingest all in one evening.

And it made me feel small. Strangely insignificant. It was a weird moment.

So many grand people doing so many grand things. So many regular people doing so many regular things. And I sat back in my chair and looked around the messy family room.

It occurred to me in that moment that for once, I truly understood why so many stay at home moms feel like they are doing nothing worth while with their lives. I mean, we hear about this all the time, and I think most women understand that feeling, especially the comparing. But for the first time, I feel like I finally just... got it.

We are bombarded, on a simple piece of electronic equipment with such an intense amount of information and ideas. We see the best of the best, always. There is just SO MUCH. Always so much.

And especially for women. We want to be able to sew like her, or cook like them, or be stylish or organized or frugal or musical or pretty or clever or or or or or.... or worse, feel like we have to live up to someone else's expectations.

People talk about their strengths, or something they love to do or be. And even though we know that, we still think we need to take all those strengths and be all those things at once.

Strange, isn't it?

I don't run marathons, I don't sew. I'm not stylish. I don't sing. I will never be a famous blogger. I don't know squat about photography.  I don't... I'm not...

Don't get me wrong, there are a zillion things I want to learn and know how to do. I will always want to keep developing new skills and talents. And honestly I think it's great that so many want to improve themselves and discover new things, to expand intellect and understanding or to even feel like they are making a difference in the world.

But for now, I am simply a mother. And my children need me.

I don't mean "simply" in a simple way either. Parents shape the future. They mold a human existance. They are important to someone important.

And I think that's pretty incredible.

So for now, in my little sphere of dirty laundry, homework, and hot dog dinners, it is enough.

23 super cool people speak:

Wonder Woman said...

Thank you, Serene. This was beautifully written and just so TRUE. Thank you for reminding those of us who are "simply moms" that what we do is incredible. YOU, my friend, are INCREDIBLE.

Momza said...

Beautiful.

Cathy said...

Thank you for a beautiful post. Fame and fortune are fleeting ... families are forever.

In the immortal words of William Ross Wallace, "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world."

Sarah said...

I cried. I love you and your dirty laundry, homework and hot dog dinners! I love you A LOT!

Kourtnie :) said...

I love your honesty, Serene! So many people only present their best self and it can make us feel less-than in so many ways. I have many days where I just have to unplug from the digital life and focus on my own.

I have remnants of last nights dinner in the crevices of the high chair, school papers littered on the counter, pet shops scattered about, and balls rolling around the house, but I'm in the moment.

Sometimes that is all I can do, but it is enough. Being present in the moment and having my family on this journey with me helps make it worth it.

Thanks for your wise words. It made my heart smile :)!

marcie said...

"And my children need me". So simple and so easily overlooked for so so so many people. And you're right, they are important! Thanks for sharing! It's so true.

Brittney said...

Amen amen! I love your view of the world. You are an incredible mother because of the way you view it as #1.

Charlotte said...

I came to a similar revelation a few years ago and it made a huge difference for me. It allowed me to enjoy motherhood as I and my children needed and not try to be everything ('cause turns out kids don't need everything).

Anna@Exasperation said...

Ooh, I needed this one today! It gets to be pretty hard when you come to bumps in life, especially when you compare your bumps to everyone else's peaks! This is a great reminder. Thank you!

Chelsea said...

What a great post Serene - you are so amazing and do such a great job putting your thoughts onto paper. It's a great reminder to realize that the sides these women put forward on the internet are usually their best sides (i do the same thing) ... and being a mother is by FAR more important than being a seamstress, marathoner, gardener, etc. Someone asked me what I was going to do today ... I said, "I'm going to just be a MOM today" :)

M-Cat said...

Fantastic post. And we all know there is NOTHING "simply" about a being a mom - you are so right when you remind us that we are shaping humans. On the end of that road now, and finally the chance to be at home for awhile, I am finding my greatest source of self esteem is NOT the big project I did at my desk job, but the simple lunch I made for my husband. The clean house he came home to, and the fresh laundry he found in his drawer. So sad that it took me 24 years to figure it out. You, have achieved that enlightenment already. Good on ya!

Neisha said...

amen sister!

ldsjaneite said...

It isn't just enough. It's a miracle. Each and every moment.

Mama Smith said...

I think of all that I have done in life...my role as "MOTHER"...out shines anything I could have possibly have done...THE RICH AND FAMOUS...is short lived...vain...and always needing to be FED... never quite satisfied because it requires OTHERS to FEED and generally people get bored and move on to someone else...MOTHERHOOD...on the other hand...is DIVINE in NATURE...ETERNAL...not FLEETING...what we do...IS ETERNAL...Elder Neal A. Maxwell said it best...There is a YOU TUBE SO WORTH listening to..."The Remarkable Women of God" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UKWDR_y6HT0

Braden said...

So glad you posted this, Serene. I have been really worried lately by the way our society has totally devalued motherhood. It's been headed that way for a while, but lately it seems that there are more and more signs of this and worries me--even among Church members. I can't think of anything more important or worthy of our deepest admiration and gratitude.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME!!! Thank you for speaking what others (including me) are needing! You are right on...did you happen to catch RS Broadcast...you interjected some important points in that...before hand! Now...YOU...have one of the most amazing talents I have ever seen! Thank you for being SO very REAL, honest, and encouraging!!

Maria

Sue said...

It IS enough. And you do it well, my friend.

=)

Larsen said...

Don't forget your my friend. That's important too. : )

kbankids said...

Thanks Serene-
You said it perfectly. That's why I don't blog too much.

Will and Marcie Davis said...

Serene I love you and thats why I love you!!! You are you and you you don't try to be anyone else. There are no pretenses and thats why your blog is a breath of fresh air for me. Every time I come here its like a little escape for me! I just love it! Don't EVER change! You amaze me!

Garvin Smith said...

When you stand before God to be judged, He will not ask you about your record labels, or your financial success in business, or anything of that sort. But He will ask you about your family, and the service you rendered to your fellow beings.

When addressing students at BYU Hartman Rector Jr. (former presidency of the Seventy) said about families, "You don't put off your family for an education . . . or anything. To those who put off their family for an education God will ask, "I see you have a PhD, fine. Where's your family. And it' our family that will exalt us. The same holds true for anything else! You are on the right track.

the Gardners said...

Love this! Sometimes I secretly hope to find dirty dishes stashed in the oven in a prestine house with 4 young children. Secretly.

I wish I had more people around me that have dirty floors and unfolded laundry. They leave me with a high standard to match that is not always possible nor realistic if I actually want to spend time with my kiddos!

I love your thoughtful posts. You help me feel normal!

Jensen Ohana said...

I needed this today....more than ever! I've been in limbo and appreciate the reminder! Thank you!

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