Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Luke, hikes, and being a good mom




























First of all, thank you all for your wonderful comments on the last post.  You are awesome.  Seriously, thank you so much.

Secondly, Luke is now five months old (as of, um, a week ago.  It's been a long week).  He's doing better as far as the croup goes, but he is still wheezing and rattling and sounding not like baby lungs should sound.   Poor little man.  Other than that, he is rolling around like mad, not sleeping nearly/soundly as I wish he would (my goal is to have him on a 4-hour schedule by six months; I am really hoping that helps!!), and smiling for us but never for the camera.  He is a cuddly little baby and loves to snuggle, which is delightful, especially as he is still super chubby (when he went in for his sick visit last week he was 19 lbs 7 oz) and generally delicious.





































This weekend felt really busy.  I'm not sure why.  Highlights:  canning plums (first time I've done this; we'll see how they turn out), a family hike, and watching the 1982 The Scarlet Pimpernel with Neil.  One of my all-time favorite movies, and he'd never seen it all the way through--how did that happen?  Seriously, a great movie. 



























We were not very far into our hike before Juliet started just sitting down and saying that she could walk no further.  Finally after we had tried every trick in our playbook to get her to go another mile, Neil stepped up and became Daddy Hero Man.



































 




































 So you know how every time you have a baby, you get all kinds of weird stuff in the mail for about a year afterward?  I was flipping through one of the magazines yesterday that always seems to feature articles that are totally at odds with my parenting style, and I came across one interview with a "celebrity" mother (who I had never heard of) who was talking about how easy it is to be a good mom.  (This woman has one child--an eighteen-month-old daughter, which in my opinion is the easiest age thus far--and just sold her endorsed line of whatevers for $120 million, but she still has her personal assistant hunt down great deals for her.  So, you know, good representative of a typical mother.)

So I read this article and I was torn between laughter and irritation.  I do not think it's easy to be a good mother.  I think it's worthwhile--and it's what I try to do--but I think it's the hardest thing I've ever done.  (This day is right up there already and we haven't even hit lunch yet.)





































Neil and I were talking on Sunday night about the last few years and how things have been going for both of us.  We both agreed that it would have been much easier and probably significantly more "successful," in worldly terms, if I was the one working and he was the one staying home.  And we both agreed immediately that the last few years have been really hard for both of us, and that we would not have experienced the growth we each needed if we had taken the path that made sense, so to speak.  I'm really grateful for the council of wise church leaders that has helped us in making these choices, even though it means I'm typing this right now wearing my husband's pajama pants and an ancient pink sweatshirt and my hems are wet with the splashes from Luke's bath. 

Some days I look around and I think "I cannot BELIEVE I am doing this.  I cannot BELIEVE I am not going insane.  And nobody knows!  Nobody knows the heroic thing I am doing in just getting through this day!  In just keeping everyone fed!  Except another mother.  She knows."

So--all of you mothers out there--I salute you.  You are awesome!  You are doing amazing, hard, incredible things, and nobody will notice the things you've done unless you leave them undone.  Except for us mothers.  We know.  :-) 

15 comments:

Jolena said...

Amen, Rachael! I totally agree with you on this! Your last picture made me smile. Luke in the high chair with a million toys in it and a trail of toys around the room. My kitchen looks essentially the same every night when I'm trying to make dinner and Spencer is freaking out about whatever and I'm hoping we'll both make it until dinner is made and daddy is home. And I only have one right now. :) Here's to you heroically taking care of four!

Kathryn (clean teen fiction) said...

Thanks for the mothering pep talk at the end. It reminded me that I'm not the only one who has tough days/weeks/YEARS! I sometimes assume that everyone else has their lives under control: clean laundry folded and put away not piled on the floor, dishes done, delicious dinners made, bathroom floors so spotless you can eat on them. It's best not to compare myself to that high standard. =)

Julianne said...

I'm always comforted to know someone else out there understands. I feel bad sometimes when Matthew leaves the house (before the kids are up) with everything in relative order, then comes home to absolute chaos. Sometimes I'm sure he's wondering what I do all day considering everything around me is so out of control by 6pm, but I'm glad to know at least YOU know what my day has been like!

Kayli said...

Well said! I love those last two pictures of happy reality.

Brittanie said...

I love this post. My favorite part was the unclean kitchen. It is real life, at least at our house. In Minnesota it is unpopular to stay at home. Very few women value homemaking, even in the church. It has been challenging for me to find people that understand my challenges or want to chat about ways to do better at this job.

There are SEVERAL women in my ward that have kids in daycare or have dad watching them because "It just isn't their thing". It has been hard to keep my mouth closed and not respond. I am educated also. I worked at a job I loved for several years. This is the hardest job I have EVER had. But I am so grateful for it. So grateful. Your post echoed my feelings on this subject.

Dani said...

So needed this today. Thank you!

Jen said...

Yes. This. Just yes.

Danielle said...

Its funny because for some reason your last post has just been floating around in my head since you put it up and here is what I've been thinking...

If there are children who are going to have maybe an extra proneness towards certain illnesses that require such scheduled and dedicated care, thank goodness they have you for a mother.(I know we've never met in real life but it is abundantly clear that you are a girl who is good with a schedule! Something I am painfully not). You are someone who will be on top of all their timed medications and breathing treatments etc., and someone who will bend over backwards to make sure they are eating healthy food. In other words, your children aren't getting sick because of something you are doing (which is obviously crazy anyway) but rather you are the perfect person to care for these little souls who need someone just like you to be able and willing to do such a good job nursing them to health.

Anyway...I hope that makes sense. And I am sure there are a million other reasons why you were particularly meant to be the mother for your children...but in this case specifically this was just on my mind;)

Rachel Mae said...

It's funny what a difference in circumstance can make. In the heart of Utah valley, I often feel like motherhood and homemaking are the ONLY things a woman is valued for (which isn't to say by a long shot that non-mothers here understand what work is involved with mothering). I often feel quietly judged for being gainfully employed full-time, even though I'm at home during most of my working hours. I'm grateful for these phrases from The Proclamation on the Family: In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. It's hard to do what we believe is right for our families sometimes, whatever that may be!

Meghan said...

When I read your Facebook status last night, about Isaac urinating all over your bed, and thought about the day you'd had--I thought how you would have handled that at age 18, and realized how much you have grown and matured and increased in love and patience and everything else that matters. Good job becoming a wonderful person.

Neil said...

Today will be better.

Amanda said...

I agree- being a good Mom is not easy. It takes patience, hard work, dedication, and love. I adore the last picture because that is real life. <3

Kristyn said...

Rachael, like everyone else said, this post resonated on so many levels to people. I love it when people are just more honest with themselves and everyone.

Hey, I'm sooo excited for you that you're putting together a Ragnar team!!!! You will LOVE it. (Did you finally talk Neil into running it too?) I almost started typing up a list of things I've learned to pass on to you last night, but then I thought Ragnars may be different in your area (like we always stay in a hotel Fri night, but the Wasatch Back people can't do that). But who knows, maybe I'll still email you something later. :) You're going to have a great time. It's such a cool bonding experience with everyone. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

You are blessed to have for a mother a brilliant woman who chose to be a mother, and who was blessed to be able to choose to have her children be her primary focus.

This is the truly important work in this life: mothering kings and queens, gods and goddesses. The house will be relatively easy to keep clean when your children have moved out and started families of their own.

From all the husbands of such women and fathers of such women and sons of such women, thank you.

dad

Lindsey Ellis said...

I love this post! After practicing as a dental hygienist for ten years and changing careers into motherhood, I can attest it is the most difficult job on the planet. I'm getting baptized by fire with my twins, but kudos to all mothers out there. I needed this encouragement!

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