Monday, June 27, 2016

Owning my Life (and Chante & Ryan's wedding!)

Super safe, right?
I have had some professional blows as of late, and it has made me pause to think about the stage of life in which I find myself.  I still often think of myself as the plucky organizational entrepreneur who started a national non-profit in Washington, DC and who had risen just high enough on the totem pole that calls were returned and a small measure of respect was paid.  

Yes, I am still capable of all of that.  But I have made other choices. I have chosen to step off the fast track to be a full-time mother.  This means several things.  First is that my primary identity right now is as a mother.  It is something I have looked forward to all my life, worked towards (in terms of attempting to accomplish as many goals and dreams as I possibly could before its onset, then clearing my slate by transitioning to academia (or so I thought)), and greatly anticipated.  My agenda includes enjoying my kiddos, ensuring a stimulating and nurturing environment, and that needs are met in such a way as to ensure greater happiness for them and the family.

In addition to being a full-time mother, I work.  But working part-time while babes sleep to eek out some kind of academic writing every other year and deliver results for one client at a time (not to mention that this blog is the first thing that appears when my name is Googled) does not translate into the kind of present career success that can be recognized by most professional associations.  

Too, I work at a slower pace than I am accustomed to, and must align expectations--both my own and others'--with what can be accomplished in my limited hours.  

I also need to adjust expectations for what can and cannot be accomplished on the mother side of the equation.  Many mothers have perfect bodies, cleaner homes, more impressive hobbies (tennis, yoga, baking, blogs, travel itineraries), and serve more outside of the home.  Because I use most of my babes' sleep time to work, I cannot do most of these things.  I do what I can with what I have, but it falls far short of my ideal.  

My constant challenge is for me to own my life and the choices I have made.  I am a mother, and that means my calls will not always get returned, I will not always be respected as I have been, I will often be asked what I my husband does, and I will not be qualified for the kinds of professional associations that I possibly would have been had I been working full time.  

However, I can still expect my work product, though slow, to be exceptional.  I can expect that clients will be satisfied and even happy with my results.  I can even start a new organization.

On the other side of the equation, I must accept my limitations as a mother. I will not be able to do the extras, but I can do the essentials.  I can love on my children and teach them truth.  I can help them be happy and get enough sleep and food and keep the ticks off (!!). 

And in all of this acceptance of my choices, I need to be fulfilled and happy.  Some days I am better at it than others.  

How have you owned your choices and found happiness in them? 

Small Wonders:
* We read about people who killed the prophets in the scriptures the other morning, and it definitely stuck for Gideon.  In seeing a diorama of an important Revolutionary War battle for New Hampshire at the state capital, Gideon asked if the soldiers were killing the prophets.  Same for a book on Washington crossing the Delaware.  I had to do some quick explaining about different kinds of killing, and the different timelines for the various events.  Heavy stuff for a three year old!
* I again was impressed with the difference the Spirit makes for Gideon's willingness to engage and be inspired.  He felt it the other night as he recited Moroni 7:45 (see my Instagram feed @allamericanmum for a cute little videoed recitation), and then gave a powerful prayer, listing very appropriate things to be grateful for and that he needed help with.
* Me: "Gideon, would you like to eat?" G: "I can't do that.  It's not my fault."
* "Aunt Tammy (who is here to visit!!) doesn't look like a monster, or a dinosaur, or a spider."
* when asked if he would like to drink some water: "I'm too young to drink water."
* E has started in on small phrases - "All done, mama", "Bye Bye Oli", I see you!"
* E is constantly harassing G to get a rise out of him - never thought sibling teasing would go this way!
* In other news, I had fun shooting my first wedding as the main photographer.  Beautiful, fun family and couple.  Here are a few of my fav shots:

I love their sibling relationships

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