Jan 11, 2012

Chauffeuring isn’t always on the top of my list of favorite mothering jobs. In fact, it is often on the bottom. I often find myself dreading the time spent buckled in, stuck in a car when I could be doing other “more important” things. I often find myself focused on the gas and my math-loving brain is constantly computing how much money I have just lost by taking this child to this activity. I often see it as wasted time. When it is late at night, I am often not at all thrilled to be out of my bed and away from my book. When Blythe started sitting in the front seat like a big grown up person, I wasn’t excited to give up my space in the passenger seat. My space for my stuff was being infringed upon and she acted like she owned the seat. I was a little resentful to have to share.

As I have been thinking about mothering and starting to see the end of my in-the-same-house-with-you-as-my-child mothering years with Blythe, I have had a shift in my thinking…and most importantly, my feeling.

I made a decision to make the time I spend driving my children more valuable. This was an intellectual decision and had nothing to do with my heart. It was a “Tracy, turn off the radio, smile at your children in the rear-view mirror, and try to make driving as enjoyable as you can by talking to them” command I gave myself. I started doing just that, but I still wasn’t enjoying it. It was another task I was forcing myself to do so I could be a “good mother”.

But you know what? The purely frontal lobe decision somehow slid right down into my heart and I began to savor this time. I began to talk with my children about important issues. I began to listen to them share their lives with me…listen, with my heart and not just my head. I began to feel the connection that was growing between our hearts…and it changed me.

I still think about the gas costs and my mpg, but now I think, “Yep, that conversation was worth $15. I would pay $15 for those moments with my daughter.” Now I think, “What a beautiful daughter I have. I am so grateful to be able to drive her to seminary and share this time with her. I am so grateful she loves the Lord and reads her scriptures.”

All of this reminds me of the idea that love is a verb. It is what we do, not what we feel…and as we DO it, our feelings change. I am living proof that it works. Living proof that as we behave in a loving manner our hearts will start to feel more loving as well.

What is your bottom-of-the-heap mothering job?

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  1. Anne

    I think of my own mother driving me all over the place. Times nine of us. She did it with such a sweet attitude. It blessed my life. I know I didn’t act like it at the time. You are more like her than you are like me. So, I’m glad you’ve decided to make it a blessing in your life instead of a frustration. That could kind of defeat the purpose of seminary and scriptures if you have a crappy experience on the way to and from. Good for you and good for Blythe.

  2. Anne

    Any news on the piano lesson front? That’s just one more chauffeuring for you to add on to your busy schedule!

  3. I used to be frustrated every time I had to chauffeur too… then when Aubrey was in that little car accident a few months ago, my perspective shifted. She needed rides to things more often right afterwards, because she was understandably scared of riding with friends, and I realized how precious that time was. How soon she’ll be gone… how I’ll miss chatting with her in the car. I can’t say that I’m perfect at it… I still have my times I’d rather stay at home, but I am thankful for the new perspective.

    • tracy

      Aren’t those perspective shifts powerful! I have loved our big discussions and the little chit-chat.

      Savoring is what I am trying to do.

  4. Thanks for sharing this right now – I have tons of little things that I need to just do even though I don’t want to. I’ve been feeling so irritable. Today I made myself sit down and do school lessons when I really didn’t want to, and I ended up enjoying it. Your e-mail was perfect timing.

    • tracy

      Oh good! I’m so glad it helped you! Sometimes I focus on the work of motherhood instead of enjoying the moments. The moments are what matters.