some thoughts on motherhood

5.11.2012


With Mother's Day right around the corner, I have been thinking a lot about mothers lately. About being a mom. About becoming a mom. About other moms; young ones, old ones, future ones, heavenly ones.

Before this earth-shattering, mind-twisting, game-changing event of having a baby happened to me, Mother's Day was a day to tell the mothers in my life just how much I appreciated them.


Mother's Day in my mind was a day to honor them and recognize the under-appreciated and under-paid work they do every day. It was a day to tell them the things that I don't usually tell them. To say the things I have always wanted to say. To reflect on just how much they have done for me in my life. To say I love you. To let them relax for one day; give them a day off from their demanding 24/7 365 day job.

And now the tables are turned, and I am a mother. And Mother's Day is something entirely new.


As it gets closer, I find myself dreading it.
I dread it because that's the day that I will have to come to terms that I am a mother. A real live, legit mom to a little girl. I grew her in my belly for 9 months. I've dreamed about her my whole life. And now she's here, and I have no idea what I'm doing.

I dread it because I will have to analyze why I became a mother. Why I wanted this. This event has changed everything about my life. Most people say it is a wonderful change. It is. But it is insanely hard. And I don't do well with change. Things are different with my husband. My days are not my own. My body is not my own. Every day I am reminded of the things about myself that need to be fixed. People say that it is worth it. I am still trying very hard to see how it is worth it. Because everything I have loved about my life is different. I can't say honestly that I love being a mother right now. Sometimes it feels suffocating.


I dread it because I will have to take stock of how I'm doing as a mother. And I will have very poor marks in that regard. There is so much to do. So much to live up to. So much pressure and worry and guilt and pressure. So many things pulling you in different directions. I feel like I'm dog-paddling half-heartedly and can barely keep my head above the water here.

Like, you know when you were a teenager and your room was SO DIRTY, and it was spring cleaning time, and you got that cleaning bug. But where to start? The laundry? Go through all of your clothes and get rid of old stuff? Organize your shoes? Get distracted by your old yearbooks? Throw away the crap you've accumulated over the year?

Piles and piles and piles of little things, all related in some way or another. You have to find places for these piles and piles and piles of things, but where to start? Is there even room? Do you even need half of this stuff? Your head just spins in circles. You wander to the different piles, pick up an old trinket here, flip through an old book there. Eventually, you just sit down in the middle of the chaos and dazedly listen to loud music on your stereo.

(ok, I have to say that analogy was awesome.) (Did your cleaning go even remotely like that? I may just be a space case.)

Regardless, this superb analogy of mine describes perfectly how I feel. There are piles and piles and piles of things I could (and should) be doing to better myself. Become more spiritual, better my relationship with my husband, foster learning in my child, while trying to figure out ways for my new baby to not get attached to the pacifier that you weren't going to use, and to figure out how to get her to sleep EVER. Etc, etc, etc. The list is never ending.

In this past month I have wondered why people become mothers. Why do they love it so much? Why is it the most divine calling on this earth? How can I come to love motherhood? How can I change my attitude and embrace the biggest blessing in my life right now?

Some people can't have children. Some people have a hard time having children. Some people have children with special needs or have children that only live a short while. When I read about these people, I feel ashamed that I complain about my perfectly healthy, though very frustrating little baby girl. She is beautiful and perfect and sweet. I love her so. But motherhood? It seems daunting. It seems dirty. It seems unglamorous and underappreciated and just so insanely hard.

Basically, I guess I just wonder how I will ever become a mom to Vivian like my mom is to me. Will I ever measure up? Most people love their mothers. They look up to them and cherish them. I know how I feel about my mom, and that is the most daunting thing. How will I EVER become that woman? How? How is it possible? Our moms are so wonderful. Every mother that I have the privilege of knowing is amazing in their own special way. But how did they get that way? I don't feel I measure up to the task. I don't know how to be that person.


And so Mother's Day is just a day that I dread, because it will remind me so much of the things I am lacking in.

I hope and pray that the Lord will teach my unworthy self what to do and when to do it.
And if there is one thing that I could wish for, it would be that i could be a mom to Viv like my mom has been to me. A best friend, an example, a number one fan, a believer, a secret keeper, a giver of the hard truth, and the one person who loves you unconditionally.


If I worked my whole life, I won't measure up to that.
But I will try, always.



In conclusion, I will take motherhood on one day at a time.
I will remember to love on those sweet milk cheeks of my baby,
to bask in her wide eyes that she has only for me,
remember how she snorts when she's hungry and plays with her hair when she eats,
and try to remember why I wanted to be a mother:

Because I have such an amazing one.

Happy Mother's Day to all you women out there.
You are my inspiration.

11 comments:

  1. This is so sweet and so well said. You're doing a good job, Elyse. The beginning can be so unrewarding. One day, not all that far away, you are going to find that you like it too. And Vivian will probably say something just as sweet about you!

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  2. The big secret of being a good mother is that you are enough - just the way you are. Love really is all you need. I'm sad for moms who beat themselves up on mother's day. Take credit where credit is due - simply pushing out a human deserves at least one special day a year!! Just wait till Vivian brings you breakfast in bed - days never to be forgotten!

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  3. you need a hug!
    it is daunting, scary, and days when you wish someone would just take them away...we all feel it. everyone does, they just post the "good" stuff on facebook. just ignore them;) you are fabulous!!
    and i love your cleaning analogy.

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  4. Best Mom award goes to you my dear. I look up to how smart you are and how you can keep up such a an amazing blog! Every mom goes through what you are and even with my second I second guess the decisions I am making everyday. The best part is, is that our kids don't remember a thing we did to them (forget to change their diaper, make them puke, accidentally drop a fork on their head etc.) at their age. haha You are doing so good and don't doubt it! :) Love ya girl!

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  5. I don't know much about motherhood.... actually i know nothing. But that cleaning analogy... wow, its like you watched a video tape of me as a teenager. Seriously that was the story of my life (and sometimes still is the story of my life). The other thing i know is you are a pretty amazing lady. YOU HAD A BABY and you are a mother. Its a beautiful thing and i am really proud of you (especially because its no easy feat).

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  6. Elyse my dear, you are amazing! It makes me sad to hear that you think so little of yourself, because to me you've always been one I've looked up to, think is amazing at everything, so on and so on. You really are a great mom. You feed her, you hold her, you clean her, you give her kisses, and guess what? That's all she needs right now. So, You my dear are a terrific mother! And gorgeous, might I add! And also, don't worry about the pacifier, KenLea used hers a little bit as an infant, but never got attached, and it worked out just fabulously. Now, have a beautiful Mothers Day, you deserve it; You are a WONDERFUL mother!

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  7. I don't know if I can add anything different than what has already been said other than to say you are amazing. Viv was sent here to earth to YOU! Those tough days really drag you down, they drag all us mothers down. You will get the hang of it and though you may not be just like your mom was for you, you will be the best mom for your children. Love you Elyse.

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  8. Elyse, like previously stated, I can't say anything that hasn't been said. All I have to say is that you aren't alone in this. It is so hard. But everyone is right, our babies were sent to us. Nobody can take care of Viv the way you can. Heavenly Father knows you, he knew that maybe some days you would struggle with the challenges, and still he didn't care. Apparently he still thought you would be the best mom for her.
    Cleaning analogy.. awesome.
    Happy Mothers Day! Try and realize how great you are:)

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  9. You're amazing Elyse- keep this thought it mind: it does get better! it does get easier! and though you will probably always wonder what the heck you are doing (because i think that all the time), somehow the burdens will seem much easier to bare when you don't have an infant crying at you nonstop :) i love you to pieces!

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  10. I'm always afraid I'll be a bad mother because my mom wasn't much of one, but I guess having an amazing mother doesn't necessarily make it any easier. I don't have any kids yet so I'm not really in any place to give you advice, but I think you should make sure to have time for yourself to do things that you like to do just because you like them. I know that when I make it a priority to do things I like, I'm always much happier.

    You could try getting free babysitters from Young Women's by making it a service project for young mothers in your ward. That probably won't work actually, but you can try. ;)

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  11. Clearly I just blog stalked you since I am commenting on a very old post but I so needed to read this. Thank you! -Larissa

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