Sunday, May 08, 2011

Unconventional Mother's Day Message

I am very critical.
Mostly inwardly.
I spend so much time analyzing and dissecting motives, outcomes and reasons it is exhausting. I can never just have a simple thought without trying to 'brain-map' the thought from an imaginary inception to an extrapolated conclusion. My mind is always abuzz with something- usually weighty, self-deprecating and inevitably counter-productive in it's circular and sometimes derisive patterns.I am relentlessly critical of myself and supply an endless source of guilt for myself on a wide expanse of topics, daily. If I wrote all I thought, I could fill libraries.
One thing I turn over and over in my mind largely without resolve is motherhood, and my capabilities and failures. Specifically I judge myself for the decision we have made not to have more children. (We have two living, and one deceased..) After all, I am Mormon. We are supposed to replenish the earth with children, right? And while the church doesn't dictate or even suggest how many children a couple should have, it is pretty heavily implied (culturally) that you should have at least a few. 3 seems to be a common minimum as long as there are no issues of health or infertility among married couples- thus, with our 2 living children, we fall one short of that expected minimum.
Heavenly Father wants us to raise children-happy children. Happy children who follow the Lord. He wants us to do our best to teach them love, virtue, charity and righteousness. He does not want us to raise throngs of children regardless of the outcome, so we need to do what we can do. He wants us to do the best that we can do, whether that is for one child or ten.What matters if how we parent, not how many.
We needn't run faster than we have strength. Unfortunately for me and my family, depression and anxiety hinder how fast I can run, so to speak. I want to be a good mother, and it is a struggle for me- so we have decided that our family is complete. I want to do the best with the blessings I have been given, working with the trials I have been given.
This is my Mother's Day gift to me:
Acceptance, tolerance, and love without judgment- for myself and my decisions in motherhood. And as I learn to do these things for myself, it will carry over onto my children. Acceptance, tolerance, and love without judgment. It's a tall order, but I'm going to start practicing on myself.
Or to quote Stuart Smalley,

If I have succeeded in bringing you down, watch this. I remember watching this live several years ago, and it is still so funny. And it's a blast from the past when Lindsey Lohan was semi-functional.


Susan said...

Mother's Day can bring out many emotions, for sure! Many years I have had a less than fulfilling celebration day for many of the same reasons you describe--I suffer no depression issues, it's just how motherhood is sometimes. I think mothers seldom feel they have done the best they can. Our children's failures rest heavily upon us and their successes seem to be due to their own acts. I like to remember one of Grandma's quotes that always makes me feel a lot better, " you can't take the credit for our children's successes, but we don't have to take the blame either". ..something like that! I need to spend plenty of time knowing just that.

To me, you're a wonderful and awesome mother. The end.

Charlotte said...

I think this is a beautiful Mother's Day gift to yourself. Remember what Grandma always said: "Whatever you do has to be okay with only you and the Lord" (and in your case, Timm as well). I think that your family, as is, is a beautiful and whole entity.

Happy Mother's Day, Jess—you're a wonderful example of motherhood to me.

Love you.

linda said...

I can recall a few Mother's Day when I just wanted to screm out "can't you guys just get a long and be nice for one flippin day!" I mean all I wanted was one day of peace,harmony, smiles and hugs!! What a daydream, that was. Anyway, as my children got older Mother's Day did begin to improve.

You're a very good mother and didn't you know that part of the definition of mother is having the feeling of inadequacy and failure, from time to time, but is not lasting!

Oh, and thank you for that little SNL clip, very funny, very funny indeed!

Denise said...

I love this post! That is a marvelous gift to give yourself. And--for the record--Grandma's saying was, "You don't get to take the credit, and you don't have to take the blame." At least, that's my memory of it :).

michelle said...

I sometimes feel guilty about the size of my family as well. And many other things. Guilt and feeling inadequate do seem to come part and parcel with motherhood, but I am actively trying to get over it!

I think you are giving yourself a wonderful gift. You can do it!

Miranda said...

I really like you Jessie. I'm glad you're giving yourself this gift because you deserve it.

Jill said...

I wish I could be as articulate when trying to explain myself.

I know what you mean with this and know that we aren't all meant to have a quiver full of children. I always thought I would have 4 or 5, but that hasn't happened and I'm okay with it.

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