Monday, May 21, 2012

What Matters Most

There are so many things I want to write about and I just can't seem to get to the computer and get it done. I want to share my experience in Washington D.C. when I went with my husband and mother-in-law to the American Mother's National Convention a couple of weeks ago. I want to share the amazing experience I had the following weekend when I attended a Power of Moms Retreat in Park City at Richard and Linda Eyre's home. I want to write about daily life and all I am learning, plus much, much more and hopefully I will get to it. But today, I have something weighing heavily on my mind, and so I just have to get it out.

What matters most in your life?

That is the question I have asked myself over and over the past couple of months as I found myself feeling over scheduled and overwhelmed. I, like many mothers out there, love my children to pieces and feel like they are amazing people who could capture the moon if necessary. I mean, they are smart and funny and oh, so capable. On top of that, they are good, good souls who can make such a difference in the world if they chose to. So, I've done what I thought a good mother would do.

I've provided numerous opportunities for them to develop their talents, hone their skills, learn responsibility and teamwork and goal-setting, and so much more by encouraging them to be involved in a lot of different things. On top of that, to set a good example and use my own skills in productive ways, I have added a heap of responsibilities to my own plate. And you know what I have reaped in return?

A bit of chaos, unrest in my soul, weariness, and a strong desire to change things.

The truth is, although my children are fabulous, they are really nothing more special than anyone else's children. They probably won't be president of the United States some day or find the cure for cancer or be Olympic gold medalists. And you know what? That's OK with me. Those things are all worthy goals and wonderful accomplishments, and I would be thrilled if any of my children achieved any one of those things. But not at the expense of what matters most.

And what matters most to me is this: that my children choose to be committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ and that each one becomes a better parent than I am.


If they don't play college sports or become valedictorian; if they don't master the piano and a foreign language; if they don't ever make football captain or become a volleyball MVP, I can live with that. Because, although all of those things are awesome and require valuable skills such as dedication and hard work, they are not what matter most. Yes, they can build self-esteem and team-working skills. Yes, they have value and they make life more fun and rewarding--all of which I am in favor of--but if my children do all of those things and yet do not choose to live what we believe or to be dedicated, loving parents, then what would be the purpose?

Now, don't get me wrong. I love sports! I love music! I want my children to develop their talents. I want them to be involved in activities they enjoy. And I am in no way implying that anyone else's family is too busy or needs to make a change. I am speaking solely of my own situation. And I know we have to be more careful. I am blessed to be married to a man who cares as much about our family as I do and who really wants to work with me in raising our children. Together, we have to be so wise. It's not easy. There is a lot of enticement and pressure to do many things. Good things. But I am simply not satisfied with spending too much of our time, energy and resources on good things.

I want more.

Three weeks ago one of my huge commitments ended. I was coaching a club volleyball team that required me to drive to Weber State two nights a week for practices and of course be at all of the tournaments (there were nine in all--one in California). I love volleyball and I love coaching. But when it was all over, I felt something I hadn't anticipated. Complete and utter relief and freedom. I went outside and played with my kids when they got home from school. I laughed. I soaked up the beautiful weather. I hugged my kids over and over and told them how much I loved them. It was almost like I had missed them, like I had been gone or something, when in fact, we had been living under the same roof all along.

But it had been too much. And the past three weeks weeks since it all ended, I have been able to give myself to motherhood again. I have been able to plan for our summer, get organized, and work on important family matters. Our days have been full of hugs, giggles, stories, work, play, and so much more.

And it has felt wonderful!

This is the life I truly want to live. Giving the best of myself to my husband and children. Not signing up for more than I can handle. Not having so many commitments that I go to bed at night exhausted at 9:00 p.m., having not spent most of my day's energy on my family. Not being overwhelmed by schedules and commitments.

I woke up with a startling realization the other day. It was this: YOUR CHILDREN WANT YOU. I had just spent the previous afternoon playing 3-Square with my kids in the front driveway, laughing until we cried, being silly and goofy, enjoying time together. This had come after my children had begged me to go out and play with them, promising work and obedience if I would just give them ME. I realized all of a sudden that their desires to spend time with me was no small thing. It was nothing to be taken for granted. Surely there will come a day when I am not their first choice (or their second or third), so how can I not take advantage of this time in my life when my children really want me--my time, my energy, my focus? I simply can't let this opportunity pass me by.

Motherhood. Family. Our faith. That is what matters most to me. That is where true joy lies. That is where my heart truly wants to be. And so. . .

I'm going to reach out and take it. I'm going to choose it over everything else. I'm going to wear out my days in teaching, loving, guiding, working with, laughing with my children, and if it means we give some good things up in the process, so be it.

I only get one shot at being their mother and helping them understand and choose what matters most. I can never come back to this point in our lives and make a different choice. I have to make today count. And then I have to get up tomorrow and do the same thing. There will always be many choices. I want so badly to choose right, to be wise enough to go for the best things in life, rather than getting caught up in only what is good.

I make so many mistakes as a mother. So many. But I have to believe if I can accomplish this one thing--staying focused on what matters most--I will be a more successful mother. And although I know it will not be easy, these kids. . . well . . .


 . . . they are are oh, so worth it!