Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pride and Shame

Things that make me feel foolish:

  • Yesterday I got really frustrated with Summer. I recently heard someone say that she believes in slamming the door when she's angry because it makes her feel better. I was in the kitchen, so I slammed the oven door and somehow smashed my pinky finger. Yep, it hurt and I was mad. Then I remembered a New York Times article about how swearing makes women (but not men) feel better. So I swore. Intentionally. For the first time since tenth grade (12 years ago, if you're curious). Hopefully it'll be the last time, too. My finger felt better, but probably just because my idiocy was distracting me from the pain. 
  • Today, after working up a sweat in the gym, I went over to the spot on the floor where my stuff was, picked up my hoodie, and pulled it over my (sweaty) face. Only, it felt really big and unusually soft. Yeah, not my hoodie. I really hope it didn't belong to the guy who gave me a funny look as I rapidly gathered up my things and left.
  • Here is a list of things I've left on top of my car prior to driving: a cinnamon roll, a cup of water, a large stack of important papers, a set of keys, and Summer. Just kidding about Summer. But I did drop her when I slipped on black ice the other day. Still waiting for that maternal protective instinct to kick in.

Things that make me feel awesome:
  • I'm sticking to our food budget. It's weekly instead of monthly now, so the plan is to do the bulk of the shopping at Winco once a week and fill in the gaps here and there (especially with Buy-Low's Wednesday produce). It helps that Winco is so far away, and that the people who shop at those stores usually look at least as frumpy as I do (I don't know why that helps, but it does). It's only been three weeks, but I think this is a plan I can actually stick to. Unlike couponing, which makes me want to crawl under the bed and never come out.
  • I have drastically lowered expectations. Yeah, I've heard a million times that if I'm just doing the best I can, I'm doing all right. I guess I just need reminders that even though I can't do a full Insanity work-out, if I just do the warm-up, that's awesome! If I don't feel like cleaning the entire house but I do the dishes, go me! I'll might never be as skinny as Shakira, but if I make a batch of cinnamon rolls and I avoid eating them all myself, that's a victory!
  • I think I'm less judgey than I used to be. In church last Sunday our awesome Stake Relief Society president gave a lesson about garments. One girl raised her hand and asked about all those girls who wore leggings under short skirts and whether or not that was that okay. Sister Hicks said that that was something that was a personal matter and every woman just had to figure it out for herself.* She added, "Everyone does different things. If you see people doing something that you would do differently, don't judge them. They are good and righteous and daughters of God." It was the only time she got sort of stern. I can remember my first years at BYU, and I would look at others' clothing choices and decide that they were wrong - too tight, too low cut, too sheer, etc. It's hard to love others when you can't stop condemning their clothes. I'm sure I still judge based on appearance, but I'm much more interested now in what people are feeling and thinking and doing. 

*The honor code says differently, I know. I pretty much hate BYU's honor code. The dress and grooming part of it. Another blog post for another day.


Monday, February 14, 2011


My family tree is a grab bag of mental illness. You name it, someone in my family has probably been diagnosed with it. Once, I was talking to my dad about that and he said, "You know, Dorothy, there is a good chance you have some sort of mental illness. If you think that might be the case, it's okay. We'll work it out. There is no shame in that."

My dad is really great.

I don't think I'm clinically depressed. But I do sometimes wonder if it's harder for me to avoid feeling depressed than it is for others. I've always had to put forth a lot of effort, it seems.

Before I became a mom, if I was feeling depressed, I pulled back from the world. I dropped everything and went to the temple at three in the afternoon. Or I spend a few hours reading scriptures in a special place where no one could find me. I wrote in my journal a lot too. Going to the gym for a couple of hours was also really nice.

How do you do things like that when you're a mom? And your husband studies/slaves at law review a lot and you have no money for babysitters? (And wouldn't it be weird to get a babysitter so you can write in your journal in the canyon?) Am I just being incredibly unrealistic and spoiled to think that I need several hours of alone time every day to function? Summer is twenty-one months old. It's been almost two years, and I feel like I've no made progress in figuring out that tricky balance - making my needs as important as hers.

Last week, I got to see some great friends from law school and we talked about being moms. One of my friends said, "If I don't work two days a week, I get so depressed."

Don't you love it when people are honest? I do. I love that talking about the difficulties people have with motherhood is okay. Yay, I'm not the only one!

Sometimes I wish I could go back to the times before I was a mom. But I can't, and even if I could I wouldn't because I am crazy in love my daughter. I have to remember it's not a matter of whether or not to be a mom, it's learning how to be a mom the right way.

I'm working on it. I've checked out daycare, I've discovered the inconsistency of babyswapping (although I will sing its praises if you give me the chance), I applied for the one part-time job that was advertised, I've offered attorneys my own part-time work, etc. I have a research job, but it's on an as-needed basis. Anyway, I think I'll figure it out.

But in the meantime, I struggle. Sorry this isn't one of those blogs that makes Mormon motherhood look like shiny happiness all the time. It might be for some moms. And motherhood is often bliss for me too. But today, not so much.

Until I watched a couple episodes of Modern Family. Is that the answer? Really funny TV?

I guess this is just a post to remind me that I need to be more careful. I need to plan better and make sure that I'm taking time for myself. Yeah. That's it.

The end.



I know Summer shouldn't be allowed to get into the fridge, open an egg carton, grab an egg, and crack it on her highchair, all while I'm on the phone.

But sometimes I'm just so impressed with her that I can't feign disappointment. An unbroken yolk? You go girl.

P.S. Yes, we're eating the egg.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

True Love

Here they are: the people that I love most. Families are awesome.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Accepting the Things I Cannot Change

Lately, I was reminded of the serenity prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Trite? Probably. Helpful when applied? Yes.

I know I have things I should probably accept and stop worrying about, but lately I've been thinking about how awesome it is that I'm not worrying about something.

Nathaniel is better than I am at most things.

A sampling: Nathaniel placed much higher than I did in the Moot Court competition. He gets better grades. He is more organized. He speaks Russian better than I speak Romanian or Spanish. He is better and more consistent at cleaning. He folds clothes better than I do.

And my favorite: He does Summer's hair better than I do. Yes, try as I might, I can't do my daughter's hair very well.

I always thought that when I had a girl I would just learn to do her hair and I would make it beautiful every day. I didn't anticipate a wiggly toddler with a low threshold for pain and me as a mother with little patience for learning to do hair.

Maybe this is something I could change. Maybe I should add a line: "Help me start with the most important changes." Sometimes I cringe when I see Summer's bad haircut (yes, I cut her hair) and accompanying lack of bows or clips or flowers or ponytails, but most of the time I just see pretty, straight, strong brown hair. Actually, when I look at Summer, what I usually see are her eyes - full of mischief or questioning or happiness or love or pain or excitement. And sometimes a blank stare. But no matter what her hair looks like, I think she's beautiful and I'd rather show her maps in our atlas and tell her stories of ships sailing across the sea than wrestle with elastic bands. And let's face it, I should probably get organized before I worry about pigtails.

I think it's wonderful that Nathaniel is so good at so many things. I'm not going to let that fact make me feel superfluous, because I'm not. If it weren't for me, Nathaniel would starve.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Life Is Not Fair

Today I heard about another mom who is going back to school to get her degree. I want to do that! I want to got to classes and discuss interesting things and learn more! I'll even do correspondence classes. Sign me up!

The problem is that I already have a Bachelor's. And a Juris Doctorate. And when you've got tens of thousands of dollars you need to pay off for the education you have, there is no justifying plunking down another five hundred for that awesome Shakespeare class.

Why didn't anybody tell me I would want to keep going to school? Maybe then I wouldn't have been in such a rush to finish.