Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Imperfect Mama

I've been enjoying some posts at other Bloggernaclers' pads about perfectionism and imperfection in motherhood -- like this one and this one. Right now I'm pretty much embracing my flawed-Mama status. Trying to, anyway. And let's not talk about it next week when we can be pretty sure that my roller-coaster hormones will make me completely unreasonable about any of this.

Anyway, it made me think about the incident I recounted in my comment at Chelsea's blog, and also this one ... thought I'd save it for this page, though I'm not sure why (anybody out there?)

Two weeks ago I was asked to "share my testimony about Family Home Evening'' in Ward Conference. Huh? Testimony about Family Home Evening? Hadn't really thought about that recently. It was just ... what we do.

But here's a rough remembrance of what I said.

I'm not sure why I was asked to share my testimony about Family Home Evening, except that maybe I can give you a real-world perspective on it. We do have FHE in our house, but it's rarely the complete evening you'd think of with a song, prayer, scripture, family council, lesson, game and treat. I think it's more important for us to try to do something for Family Home Evening than to try to do it perfectly.

When we were newlyweds, we got together for FHE with friends or spent some time together reading Church books or magazines. It was good to establish that habit, because when our kids finally joined us, FHE became much harder.

For example, in one FHE when my boys were smaller, we gave the lesson while they were strapped in their car seats on the way to the park. This was one of our most successful FHEs at that time. (This got a laugh ... my ward knows my kids.)

Last week, we realized we had only 10 minutes between the end of dinner and the beginning of bedtime on Monday night. So we did the most important part of FHE -- the treat. We all went to the doughnut shop. (About this point, my 5-year-old joined me on the stand and began to play the piano. My husband came up and got him.)

Most of the time we actually do have a lesson consisting of a story from the Friend or learning the words to a Primary song. It has to be short and simple. But my kids love FHE. They ask for it on Wednesday and Thursday nights. If we miss a week, they call us on it. So my testimony is that even when we don't do FHE "perfectly," our efforts make a difference with our kids.

Then I closed.

I do feel it's so important to keep doing something, and not just for FHE. It's a real temptation for me to give up on the days when things are going badly for me as a mom ... though I 'm not sure what giving up would really mean, and sometimes that's the only thing keeping me from doing it.

(Like the time last summer when the boys and I came home from church early with colds, and I took cold medicine and gave the kids each a dose thinking we'd all go to sleep. Bad idea, Mama. Mama went to sleep. Boys climbed to high shelf to find candle and matches, then set fire to bed. Fortunately I sniffed the smoke and caught it almost immediately. So now, you see why I will never, ever give up the Bad Mama crown to someone who didn't have time to dye the Easter eggs or some silly thing like that. I am IT as far as flawed mama.)

But I don't give up, because imperfect is a damn sight better than alone. We love each other, we learn the gospel, we push on from day to day. Flawed is okay by me, as long as we keep trying.

See how reasonable I can be without PMS? It's amazing.


Kitti said...

Ana, this is a great post. I try off and on to have FHE and haven't been successful yet in making it a family tradition. I guess I don't want it enough or we would be doing it already. Just hearing that doing something is better than nothing (which, of course, makes sense) is encouraging to me. Thank you for your honesty.

Chelsea said...

Thanks so much for this post. It's easy for me to theorize about motherhood, but it's great to hear from someone like you who is actually in the trenches! I love what you said about keeping doing the things we're supposed to even if we can't do them perfectly.

And congratulations on your story in The Friend!

Ana said...

Thanks Chelsea and Kitti! Kitti, are you still blogging? Chelsea, you are about the cutest pregnant lady I've ever seen. Hope things continue to go well for you!