Before the start of this year I was feeling very overwhelmed with my job as a mother. I felt like the world and its noise spoke so much louder then my influence was. I sought after ways to bring the spirit into my home more. I was praying a lot, and asking my Heavenly Father for some motherly guidance. At times, I felt like I could not even hear myself think, the world is so full of noise and it breeds chaos, and I felt that chaos slowly creeping its way into my home. I desperately wanted to silence the world and have my home be a place where the spirit was felt so strongly that my children could not deny the difference in the feeling between our home and the rest of the world.
I feel at times as if the world is trying to pull us in all different directions. Everywhere I look there is some one else telling me how to be a good mother and how to live my life. I go on pinterest and feel like I’m not doing enough as a mom. I feel like I should bake more, craft more, play learning games with them more, build fun contraptions in the yard in the summer and entertain them in the winter. I feel like I should braid Aowyns hair daily, and pick out the perfect clothes for my kids to wear for the day. I feel like I should coupon and decrease our budget. I feel the need to reorganize my whole house monthly. I go on facebook and see all these peoples lives, and most of them seem perfect. They are perfectly dressed, handle problems with grace, have perfect kids and perfect marriages and I feel like I am doing something so terribly wrong. Pinterest and Facebook are not bad, Ive just had to learn to look through the mess and find the things that will be truly helpful to me. Thankfully there are messages out there, blog posts, newspaper articles and talks that help strengthen me.
One of the messages out there that I have loved is by a singer of one of my favorite musical groups, Mercy River. The blog post is titled, “You are their perfect mother”, go here to read her post. I pondered on this concept a lot and thought about all the static and noise that the world has to offer. I thought about all the advice out there and about how simple and true her words are. God gave me my children because just as much as I need them, they need me. ME!! Not pinterest mom, or picture perfect mom, but me. Dance crazy, sing silly, cuddle and read books, plan and execute adventures, vacation loving, holiday enthusiast, ME!!!! Reading her article opened my eyes to a lot of things that I was letting into my life. I instantly saw the evils of the world creeping in and consuming my life. I decided it was time to make some changes and so I went to the Lord in prayer again and the answer to my prayers was two simple words, BE PRESENT.
Such a simple thing right, being present? I’m here with them every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I am very much physically present in their lives, but what really struck me, and what I felt like was the deeper meaning to my answer was being spiritually and emotionally present more often.
I love older movies. Not necessarily those of the black and white variety, but movies about the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Movies about peoples lives back when life was simpler. Back when there wasn’t a TV in every room, there was no such thing as a smart phone or facebook or pinterest. There weren’t so many things pulling at moms from every direction. Families ate together, and went on vacations together and only had each other for entertainment. People spoke to each other face to face and in order to serve someone you had to actually show up on their front porch ready to work. People supported people. Moms baked cookies and sat around the table teaching their kids, they didn’t have social media sites vying for their attention. They held social events and had their homes filled with children and friends. They taught their kids literally at their knees. They were very much present.
I’m not on my phone all the time, but I am on my phone at all the wrong times. I will sit with my kids and watch movies with them, and be on my phone checking facebook. Ill sit on the floor and let them play around me while I’m checking my email. When they are riding bikes in the drive way and up and down the side walk I am browsing pinterest. When they are doing their homework I’m looking up what we are going to eat that night for dinner. Im physically present, but thats about it. I crave those older, simpler ways of life. I wish that I did not have social media sites sitting there in the back of my mind, pleading me to come to them. Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook and the ability it has to keep me in touch with people, but I also miss so much face to face time with people. I always justified me checking facebook and pinterest because it was never for more then a few minutes at a time, but I neglected to take into account the things that were going on around me in those few minutes. Was I missing out on valuable mom time? Was I showing my kids that I really cared more about the phone then them?
President Hinckley has said: There is too much selfishness. There is too much of worldliness in our homes. We need to get back to the basics of respect one for another and concern one for another .
I thought a lot about this quote when I read it and realized how selfish I was being. I was the one letting the world into my home. It wasn’t creeping in through cracks and doorways, I was opening the door and letting it waltz right in. Me, the mom, the protector of my home, the defender of faith, the guardian of my children, I was the one letting the world come into our safe haven. It didn’t matter how many family home evenings I held, or how many prayers we said as a family, if I was going to just let the devil and the world traipse right into my home and sit down on my couch and be a part of my family.
I removed facebook from my phone. I decided that social media was only going to come into my home when I wanted it too. Social media is great and has done so many good things and lead to so many great things, but it was invading my home on all levels and I was not going to allow that. I needed to set boundaries for myself. No social media when the kids are awake. (I sometimes check real quick if I am waiting to an answer to a question.) No social media on Sunday. And no social media when I am spending time with my husband. Those 5 minutes I spent checking facebook instead are spent reading a scripture or two. I’m not perfect at this, I still have a lot of work to do and I petition the Lord regularly to help me be mindful of these things.
I’m reminded of a talk I heard years ago called, Good, Better, Best, go here to read the talk. Something that Elder Oaks said touched me and has remained with me,
We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.
Its not that facebook or pinterest are bad things, but in my life, right now, they are NOT the BETTER or BEST things.
I don’t want my kids to remember me being on the phone while we watched a movie. I don’t want them to remember me being on my phone while they rode bikes. In my mind I was telling myself that I was there, I was cuddling them or outside while they rode their bikes, but in reality I was not at all present. I want them to remember me laughing at the movie with them and devoting my FULL attention to them and the movie. I want remember the looks on their faces when they get the thrill of riding down a hill or letting go of the wheel as they ride their bike down the street. I want to remember how Braddoc closes his eyes and lets the wind hit his face when he is riding his bike. I want to remember how big of a smile crosses Landons face when he learns a new bike trick. I want to remember how fast Tayton pedals his tricycle and how Aowyn concentrates so hard on trying to pedal hers. I want to remember how Braddoc’s tongue hangs out of his mouth and how Landon bites his lip when they are working on their homework. I want to remember how they played with their toys and how their imagination works.
I don’t think my job as a mom is to entertain them all the time, but I do think its my job as a mom to be ME and to BE PRESENT and to not be on social media all the time, trying to learn how to be a good mom. All the things I need to be a good mom, to my kids, is already inside me. And if I need to find it, I can turn to the lord and ask him for his guidance. The more I am Present the more I learn about who my kids need. They need me to kiss boo boos, to listen, to respond, to care, to laugh with them, to cry with them, to be there for them so that when hard times hit they know they can come to me, they need ME to BE PRESENT.