some motherhood thoughts

Apr 18, 2010

Mothering my thirteen year old has been fairly difficult lately. That is probably an understatement. I do not understand this girl. I don’t understand her needs, wants, dreams, or frustrations. I am often impatient with her and lately have been completely exasperated with her. Like ready to lose my mind, my temper, and my ever-lovin’ heart.


So, last night after beating myself up for not being the mother I wanted to be this week – you know, the wise, patient, continually calm, nurturing mother – I decided to try to think about what I am good at in this whole mothering thing.

I’m pretty good at:

1. Reading out loud to my children.

2. Creating fabulous experiences for them.

3. Being united with their father.

4. Having a vision of what I want for our family.

5. Listening to and implementing what God wants for our family.

6. Teaching them about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

7. Inspiring them with stories of heroes who are brave, true, steadfast, and humble.

8. Providing lots of books about every topic under the sun.

9. Being pretty darn relaxed about most things.

10. Knowing how to laugh and have fun.

11. Being willing to make huge changes in my life plans to obey promptings I have been given.

12. Modeling self-education.

13. Nurturing them as babies through lots of holding, snuggling, nursing, etc.

14. Singing to them pretty much all the time.

15. Teaching them my family history.

16. Pretty patient, most days.

17. I make sure they start out their lives on earth in peace, safety, and love without any drugs in their bodies.

18. I drink really gross herbal concoctions to help their little bodies develop well.

19. I am willing to talk to them about any subject under the sun and they know it.

20. I provided (okay, I really had nothing to do with it, God did it) a fabulous father for them.

21. I feed them healthy food most of the time.

22. I don’t freak out if they are covered in mud, have blood running down their face, or have broken something in our home.

Now, that list should help me feel a bit better. I’ll try to let those words sink in down to my little toes and swirl around my heart and fill me with some TLC.

I, of course, came up with a much longer list of things I am not so great at, but I am going to try to focus on the good things so I can feel a bit better about myself.

In this pondering process, I realized some things: Blythe is a whole lot like me. I like to think she is a whole lot different (and she is), but she is also somewhat similar. You see, she feels things deeply. Very deeply. Her depth of emotion has always been a whole lot more than I could understand. But I have learned something these last few days. The reason I don’t understand her depth of emotion is because it is about things that I don’t feel passionate about. Things I may believe are irrelevant or illogical or nonsensical. So I treat them that way in my heart. I try to treat her as a person having rational emotions (are emotions ever rational?) but in my heart, I feel like she is being irrelevant, illogical, or nonsensical…and she feels that. She knows my heart is not really with her. And so, her walls come up and my patience weakens and she cries and I forget all about how much I love her and who she is and how her coming into my life completely changed everything and I become heartless.

Have you ever had that experience? Where the person you treasure most of all is suddenly a problem to you. Suddenly an inconvenience? A burden?

You know, when she was a little girl her passions were endearing. Around the age of three she started a litter passion. If she saw litter anywhere she had to pick it up. Soooo, if we were in a store or a restaurant and she looked outside and saw some litter she had to go pick it up. RIGHT NOW.

When she learned that whales were being killed, she was furious. She couldn’t eat or think or live. All she could do was rage about the evil whalers and how she was going to STOP.THEM.ALL.

By the age of three she was telling pretty much everyone she met all the stories in the Book of Mormon whether they wanted to hear them or not. She was on a mission to teach people about Jesus and Nephi and Moroni and Teancum.

Now? They are not so endearing. Now, her passions are deeper than ever and they are never-ending and they do not make sense to me and they get in the way of my plans. And she informs me of them way to late for me to help her achieve them or forgets to tell me at all. Or loses the paper she wrote them down on. Or mumbles something about it and expects me to know exactly what is going on in her brain.

How crazy is that? Being frustrated with my precious daughter because she has passions and needs and dreams that I don’t understand.

I need to remember just who she is and how much I do adore her…even when she has lost something AGAIN, is crying over unfulfilled expectations, is determined to save the world, or is angry at perceived injustice.

She is mine. She is wonderful. She is beautiful. She is determined. She is messy. She is forgetful. She is virtuous. She is mine and she is God’s.

I hope I’ll be better to her this week.

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  1. Oh, Tracy… how I understand. It has been a hard transition for me to go from mothering a small child to mothering another almost adult… someone separate from me, someone who has her own agenda. It’s all part of the process, but it’s HARD. Here’s hoping we both can be better to our growing up daughters this week…

  2. Anne

    Oh, my heart is breaking for Blythe. It’s breaking for both of you.I see where she turns for comfort and I so identify. I’m sorry. I’m sorry you guys had a rough week. I know you will both figure it out. {{prayers}}

  3. tracy

    You’ve got me there…what do you think she turns to for comfort? I see sleep, sleep, and more sleep. Alone time. How can one person stand to be alone for hours and hours every day?

    This morning she has been up for awhile reading The Book of Mormon. She has a new goal to read 17 pages every day. She is such a good girl with good goals…I need to remember that in the midst of the eye rolling, dart-throwing stares, and lectures she gives me on how to be a better mother to her.

  4. jessica

    “how can one person stand to be alone for hours and hours every day?”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA. Oh I’m crying with laughter over here on that one. Not at your expense, really, just because I SO GET BLYTHE. I get wanting to be alone for hours and hours. I get not wanting to come out and be social or be peppy or even expend the energy to speak to someone who IS being social and peppy and just wanting to make them go away and be quiet with my eyeballs.

    I love this post though, I do. I like knowing you struggle since you seem to have it all together so often, which sounds awful, I don’t really WANT anyone to struggle, but just knowing that you have bad parenting moments or moments of exasperation (which I knew before this post of course), I don’t know it’s kind of comforting.

    I’m also taking notes since my kids are all still so little and you know I struggle with wanting a manual for my oldest.