Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Q & A -- life is long

Now that Lucy is getting older, and starting school etc, do you feel 'pressure' of going to work, either part time, full time, or whatever?? ( and i don't mean by Dave), but in general?

I've had a bunch of these types of questions lately and here's the short answer:

Growing up drooling over the idea of motherhood, I chose long ago to make motherhood my "career,"  and I never, ever, ever want to take it for granted.  I know lots of mothers feel the same way, and still have to go back to outside-the-home-work at some point.  Some love that, others don't, I guess we just need to figure out what's best for our family and circumstances.

I thank my lucky stars every day that I don't have to go outside of the home to work.  I'm so grateful Dave has a job that provides for our family (and that he's really good at it).  I know there are so many able and willing dads out there who are not so lucky to have a job right now.  And I'm thankful that this blog brings in some money on the side.  Because it takes some work.  I call it my "work," and feel like it's been my part-time job for a long time.  But most of the time it doesn't really feel so much like work because it helps me ponder and reflect on my chosen profession: motherhood.

And man alive, do I ever have a long way to go in the likes of learning this motherhood profession!  How grateful I am for the connections and things I've learned from so many through this blog.  There are so many wise, wise mothers out there and I'm so grateful for their examples.

Here's the longer, round-about answer:

I'm not going to lie, I had stars in my eyes about the kids starting school.

Sure, summer was way too short and I wish it could have lasted longer.

Way longer.

And sure, I adore these kids and love it when they're home.

It's just that I am so deep under projects and need-to-do lists and things to catch up on that I was fully ready for a little time to think.  I want to "be there" for my kids when they are home.  I want my mind to be still and listening.  I want to be present with them.  Sure, I was present when we were gone on family trips.  That's easy-peasy.  But when it comes to being home and being surrounded by "things needing to be done" and to organized, being present started to feel like it was slipping.

It doesn't feel like I have sat down all summer long.  And although Lucy had preschool for a couple hours four days a week last year, I would just barely get to the grocery store, write a blog post or start on some photo editing before she would be home again...with the others trickling in not far behind...on to reading, homework, carpools, jobs, bath time, bedtime.  

So when I packed up and sent off all of my children for school all day long that first week I felt like I had the whole world in the palm of my hand.  

The house was silent.  

The counters we cleared.  

I could hardly contain myself with the excitement of having a whole day all to myself.  I mean, that's the only thing I asked for for Christmas for the last two years for crying out loud:  one day by myself.

And here I was with a whole slew of them stretched out before me.

It made part of my heart sad because I knew "It Is Happening" for real: my babies are really growing up.

But that hasn't hit me head-on yet so maybe I'm still in the honeymoon phase of this stage of life.  There's a good chance I'll be bawling by next week.  Who knows.  All I can say is that first week of school I was blissfully ready to get to work.

So I got busy.  My list was ready: organize my office, take some time to look through summer pictures I hadn't even seen yet, get all my Lightroom photos labeled, buckle down and finally pull off the making of my first Blurb book (something that's been my summer goal for the last four years and still sits undone), plan healthy meals for the entire week and get all the grocery shopping done for them before the kids get home, update the "I Love Lucy" blog with all that I have learned about BBS over the summer, get on-the-ball with my role as the new vice president of the BBS organization, answer endless emails, listen to the 43 messages on our answering machine, get blog posts written a week in advance, make some additional doctor appointments for me and the kids to check out some health concerns, catch up on reading family blogs, plow further into my big fat book I was supposed to read over the summer for book club, finalize house plans for the city, reach out to my friends I have not had hardly a snip to talk to in the last while, get on a serious scripture-reading plan, etc., etc.

You name it, I had it on my list.  

So I sat down that first day to tackle emails first.  

I knew it would take some time, but I figured I had all day, right?

Frustration started to set in as I sat in the same chair for five hours straight without moving (and I'm not kidding about that) and still had 53 unopened emails by the time I simply had to get up and stretch.  

Before I knew it the kids were home with all their friends in tow and life marched forward.

The days following were just as frustrating.  Why was I not on top of things?  Why was my list still miles long?

Well, it was about the fourth day when one of my very favorite sayings from my mom popped into my mind:  "Life is Long."

And with that came the realization that I do not have to do everything right now.  Right this second.  Today.

What I do have to do is have a plan in action.  And have things organized enough to think straight.

And even that takes some work.  I'm pleased to say that after two and a half weeks of school I'm figuring it out.


I've figured out the most important stuff: spiritual things come first.  Then order.  We are working hard on that as a family (more on that later).  My thoughts are so much more in order when my house is in order.  My sister and I are starting on the Mind Organization for Moms in Two Weeks program on Monday and I'm chomping at the bit for that.

But the biggest realization I've had is that life really is long.  It's ok that I can't do everything right now. The world will not fall apart if I don't have all these ideas swirling around in my head put into reality right this second.  The plan is the most important thing.

And even in the midst of the plan, and whether I ever work outside the home or here, or whatever extra interests I find myself emerged in at any point in life, if I can remember that my number one "job" is these guys:
 ...then life will always fall into place.

So my answer is no, I don't feel pressure to go out and get a job.

I already have quite a few of them.

Motherhood invigorates me.  It gives me energy.  It expands my mind and enlightens me.  I couldn't be more happy that my situation allows me to be here when my kids walk in that door from school...hopefully with all the "busy-ness" done and closed-up for the day so I can snuggle them close and whisper how much I love them in their ears.

Yes, life is long.  There's enough time for the important things.  We just need to be sure we prioritize them before all the other stuff that creeps in.

And if I ever start to feel like the mothering job is too rough, to loud, too messy, too overwhelming, I think I'll just go re-read this post from my sister today who is not a mother yet.  So beautifully said.

Yes, we are so lucky to have the job of motherhood: the best job in the world.


  1. Being a Mommy & wife is the best job and the most important job in the whole world! You are amazing.

    Thank you for being such a great example to me and to other young Moms.

    I want to be like you when I grow up! :D

  2. This is the first year that I have sent my five off to school for the whole day. The house was deafening silent. I didn't know what to do with myself. But then the to do lists kicked in. Yes, we do have many jobs. Thanks for posting this. I was getting the same thing, 'What are you going to do, now that all your kids are in school?' I can think of a few(lots) of things.

  3. Great answer at the bottom about "having quite a few of them". Even when my kids are all out of the house and off to college I know I'll have a huge "to-do" list, plus hobbies.

  4. Dear McKay! You already said what I intended to share at this post:-)

  5. Getting a job outside of your home would be a vacation for you!

  6. So well put and so needed for me today! I have 2 little guys and a third baby on the way, my own interior design business, a home that we moved into just about a year ago that I'm working on several projects for and I constantly have that "I'm totally overwhelmed with everything that I need to get done and want to get done" feeling. I appreciated reading this today :) ~gina

  7. My fourth boy goes off to kindergarden next year. I kept him at two days of preschool this year because I'm just not ready to let him go. I like to keep them home as long as possible because once they go out that door at age five, it's never the same. I love to be the center of their world for the short time that I get ;) But I needed to hear your advice today. 'Life is long' true! Thank you for sharing!!

  8. Love this!! I want to hang a sign in my house that says Life is Long! So beautiful!! Something pulled my heary strings in this post- the part about fitting in the most important things in first- and your "improving scripture study" mention on your to-do list. I've been thinking about this a lot lately!! You said more on that later- so just wondering if you have tips on making what's most important happen first- before everything else creeps in. Thank you for sharing your beautiful life with the world!! I appreciate your words more than you know!

  9. What do you do for you? How do you relax and unwind?

  10. Here is to being a "Mom"best job in the world.
    Thanks Shawni for this beautiful post.


  11. in the middle of mind organization for moms!

  12. 26Love it...Great post Shawni!

  13. Fantastic post, Shawni. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I feel very much the same way you do.

  14. Thanks for your thoughts. I agree. I think as the kids get older it is just as important to be home during the day so that you can focus on them after school and in the evening. ---after school is a crazy busy time!

  15. Thank you for sharing your life and your thoughts and experiences with motherhood. I am a mother of three young children ( ages 4 and under), so I feel like I am at the very beginning stages of this motherhood journey. I have just recently started reading your blog and I really appreciate the food for thought that it has given me. Thanks again and good luck with getting things in order!

  16. This is happening to me in a few short days too. I can't believe that this season is finally here. All four kids in school. I always thought that I would get a job or go back to school. But I got sick to my stomach as I started looking for work and know that my time is still at home. My goals are to save more money budgeting and planning better meals. I'd like to take more pictures for people and get a handle on some things that will make our family much happier if I stay home. I loved the commonalty that I've found, reading your post. thanks!

  17. Oh thank you for that!!! :)
    I feel the exact same way. Been a stay at home mom is my career, i love been there at the beginning, middle and end of the day. I am blessed that I can do that right now, so when people started asking me, " so... are you gonna find a job now", it kinda threw me for a loop.. I think i will take a class or 2 once the honeymoon period has worn off ;).

    I love this blog, it brings so much peace of mind, and strength to so many of us moms!!

  18. i just wanted to drop in and let you know i appreciate that you are starting to answer one or two "friday questions" with really long, thought out, detailed answers, rather than trying to cram in answering many questions.

    lovely blog post.

  19. I just have to say that I'm right there with you. I have always said, "life is long." I never felt right with the phrase "life is short." I don't know why it never sat well with me, but I do honestly believe if we keep saying life is short, then it will be. Life is long and glorious and full of adventure. That's the way I like to look at it.

    My kids started school this week as well and I had a huge "to do" list to tackle. I frantically rushed about trying to get it all done. I only accomplished a quarter of it of it, but I said the same thing, it will all get done in due time and what needs to get done now, will get done somehow. I'm taking the pressure off myself this year and allowing things to happen, and to be in the present more with myself and with my family.

  20. I LOVE your blog. I discovered it a couple of months ago and have slowly been reading through the entire blog! I really admire your parenting tactics and have so many questions for you...

    1. You wrote a post a while ago about having a very shy child and how you and your husband made a plan which really helped. My almost 5 yr old daughter is very shy around other people and is even uncomfortable performing (gymnastics class...) in front of her family. What exactly were you able to do to help?

    2. What age would you recommend kids start extracurricular activities? Did you find certain ones were better than others?

    3. Have you ever had to deal with jealousy with your daughters? Such as she is prettier,smarter,thinner,more popular... I want to prevent that from happening with my girls.

    Again, your blog is amazing and I have really learned a lot about who I want to be as a parent!

  21. Love it....motherhood is the only job I ever wanted, and now I find myself blogging...but I never want to call it a job, though some $$ comes in...because it is purging of everything in my brain and it gives my brain relief! I'm taking fewer pictures because I want to take more of my own little nest. I had to go through the stage of doing too much, to realize I want much less. Our first day of school is tomorrow, and my youngest will be in pre school 6 days a week, and though I'm sad for the summer fun to end...I'm ready for a deep breath! I love being available to teachers during the day, myself, too.

  22. My youngest started school this year and it has opened a whole new world for me. I deep cleaned my bathroom today! That has not happened (at least all the way done) for years! So it's only one thing on a long to-do list, but it felt so good to do one task from start to finish that I'm actually glad I have a long to-do list so that I can have a little bit of that satisfaction every day. Also, what I love about the time the most is that I feel so much more "ready" for the end of the school day. I can put everything in order to just be there as they come in the door. The witching hours have become so much more manageable because I have time to prepare for them. And, like you, I have plenty of "projects" to keep my mind and calendar very busy.


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