Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Holy Selfishness!

I thought Hong Kong was only 12 hours ahead. It's 15. This is why Brandon won't answer my IM's. Oh, yeah, and if you didn't know, Brandon is in Hong Kong for work. He'll be back on Friday, though, just in time for #2's Baptism. Hooray!

I finally watched last week's episode of The Biggest Loser. They talked a lot about setting goals and accomplishing them; about making the dreams a reality, about not making excuses. The parents also sacrificed themselves for their kids to make sure they could stay on the ranch. Usually, I would be motivated and inspired by such an episode. Instead, I just felt lousy.

When was the last time I truly sacrificed something for my children? No, I'm being honest here. Yeah, yeah, I gave them life and such, and most women would say I sacrificed my career --but you know what? I didn't sacrifice a career to be here --being a SAHM was always my goal. I never even HAD a career when I started having children. I hadn't even finished college, yet. I didn't even WORK my last year of college. So, the career thing is NA for me. Not. Applicable. Not a sacrifice. Doesn't feel like one, either.

Have I sacrificed travel? I would say not. In the course of one year I will have traveled (overnight) to China, New Mexico, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Hawaii, and Portland --all WITHOUT my children. Not a sacrifice.

Have I sacrificed my time? Nope. I'm always reading, watching, typing, talking, book clubbing, girl's-night-out-going... I tend to spend an inordinate amount of time on myself. I don't read to my kids unless it's on the homework list. I don't play with them unless everything else is "done." I tend to tolerate.

Have I sacrificed possible dreams? For now, probably. But I still seem to find the time to successfully decorate the home, plan the garden, write the poetry, travel the world, hike the mountains, etc.

So, where is the sacrifice for my children? Am I doing all that I can? I don't believe I am. I really don't. It was kind of a slap in the face for me last night, and usually I really like slaps in the face. I enjoy chastisement because I know I'll try harder. But I wondered --will I? In this case, will I try harder? I want to want it. I mean, I want to want to try, you know? But I can't change all at once. That's impossible. But where do I start? How do I start? How can I show my kids that I truly love them, their ideas, their goals, their dreams? How do I start to sacrifice myself for them??

The other part that made me feel awful was the goal setting part. Usually, again, this is motivational. But it wasn't --I just felt like a hypocrite. My goal of being a Nutritarian is a big joke. My goal of walking is also laughable (although last week I did get 12 miles!). My goal of losing just 20 pounds is failing --because I'm NOT DOING IT. I have these goals, but what am I doing to accomplish them? Noth.Ing.

Luckily for me, my buddy wrote me with the same problem. We've decided to start a Google Doc's food journal together to track what we eat so we're accountable to each other. Once she gets back from vacation, we're going to go for broke, man! I hope it will help.

But there is a silver lining to all of this (you know me, how could I not have a silver lining?): I realized that my goals may not be the main focus of my life right now, but the sacrificing for my kids needs to be. And what better sacrifice for my kids than my goals of health, right?

WRONG, dear reader. DEAD wrong. Sacrificing our health in the name of "our children" is a total lie. Our children need us to be healthy; they need us to be their examples. So, the real silver lining is that I'm just going to keep trying.

What else can I do? And do you have any ways I could jump-start my motherhood? How do you sacrifice for your kids?


Grandma Rozla said...

Wow Cheryl, I have a lot of thoughts in my head but I'm not sure how to put them into words. I got to thinking about what I sacrificed for my children. I went on trips without them with my husband ~ you do those to strengthen your marriage so that you have something when your kids are gone! Maybe you need to look at it as not what you are sacrificing but what you are giving. You made the decision to be a mom. I'm sure most of your waking thoughts are how to be a good mom. That is your life. You don't have to sacrifice to live your life if you are keeping covenants and doing the best you can do each day. Concentrate on the day and what you can do for your kids ~ not what you have to sacrifice for them. Being a mom is an eternal choice. Isn't just being a mom and trying to do good each day giving of yourself to those precious little people. I don't think as mothers we have to give up the trips with our sweetheart. You made a choice long ago and now you just live each day the best you can that day and if it wasn't so good then you repent and start over again the next day. If you are neglecting your kids (which I now you aren't) for the sake of blogging or writing or whatever then you need to sacrifice those things but if there is balance in your home and your life then be kind to yourself. You are awesome and your kids are awesome. Keep your covenants! Work hard on your marriage and the Lord will bless your children and your family! That is His promise to us. Pray ~ He will tell you what you need to do! Have a great day my friend!! I love you!

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

I'm proud of you. You are awesome.

BUT, I know you don't post things like this to fish for compliments. I know you are actually asking for ideas....so here is mine:
Schedule one-on-one Mom Dates with your kids. It doesn't have to cost money, you don't even have to leave the house. The important thing is that they know AND you know that the date time is all about them. They get to have your undivided attention for that time. Show them that you are writing the Date on your calendar, just like you would a Girls Night Out or a Date Night with your hubby. Let them choose an activity. And then make it happen...show your kids that their date with you matters. Leave multi-tasking behind and take time to look into their eyes. Let them talk and talk. Play that game they always want you to play.

You choose how often this works for your family, you choose your budget of time and money...but let them choose how to spend their time with you. The benefits are phenomenal, you will grow so much closer to them and they will feel so loved.

Do it Cheryl, I dare ya. ;)

Judi said...

I agree with "mother of the wild boys"...those one on one "dates" will be something that you and your children will look back on and be so thankful for. We have tried to to them with our boys and it works great. Now there is only one at home...so it doesn't happen as often..but on Sunday's we try to play the game he wants to play or let him pick the Netflicks, or whatever it may be.
As for the reading...you love to read, and I'm sure you want your children to love to read...so read to them. Especially the little ones, the boys...because boys don't always love to read. and you aren't sacrificing anything for them...you are investing in their future.
i don't want to say that i "sacrifice" anything for my children. I look at it as building a memory that we both will look back on and smile. i make sure that i to ever event of theirs tht i possibly can (i am sure that is harder for you with more kids). i want them to know that i am there and i support them. i try to be involved in school...i let their friends come over, just about anytime they want). if things don't get done around the house...that is okay..i would rather my children have the memory.
and the traveling is important too, and all the other things you do as well. i wish that i could be like you and leave my kids and go on a trip...in 20 yrs of parenthood i think we have only left them 2-3 times...and i didn't like it to much...but that is just me.
you're doing great. you have great kids too!

Anonymous said...

I sacrificed my sanity.

And also my abs.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and also you should really read to your kids. Just for fun, not for homework. I have great memories of my father reading to me and my siblings. Pick some good, fun classics.

Amanda D said...

I'm thinking that you are sacrificing much more than you realize. I think that Shauntae and Grandma Rozla nailed it. I think I might take the date night dare too.

Now that all my kids are reading, I don't read to them much. I really should Just ten minutes with each of them a day would go along way, I'm thinking - I only have three so that would just be a half hour. With 5 kids, I would probably do less time...or make sure it gets spread out or do the older girls together or something. Otherwise it might get too overwhelming.

Good luck!

Oh - and I was SO irritated with that episode of Biggest Loser. I agreed with Jessie - just because he was old didn't mean that he didn't need to be there. I was disappointed how that team went into the weigh in deciding that they weren't going to win. I was disappointed that Jessie let the pressure get to him and that he purposely gained weight. Too much game play this season, imo.

Stephanie said...

I realized this same type of thing, although not in as much depth, a few weeks ago. I stay at home every day with my two pre-schoolers, yet when was the last time I planned a special activity for THEM? Other mothers plan crafts and activities for their kids, so why don't I? At first I blamed it on expense, since many things we can do would cost money, but that's a lousy excuse since I can do fun things that don't cost too much money. So... I planned a craft session to make Valentine's cards for their daddy. Then, a few days later, I had them roll out and cut out sugar cookies, then ice them (this was quite the adventure with a 3 and 1 yr old). I want to finger paint next (with pudding like the library story time did) and go swimming at the indoor pool by my house.
I don't consider any of these a big sacrifice since I enjoyed them too, but it was time with just my kids with no TV, and it made me feel like a better mom and my kids LOVED it.
One last thing: 45 months of pregnancy for your 5 kids is a HUGE sacrifice!!!!

Alison Wonderland said...

No thoughts on your dilemma certainly no advice but I did love your comment about tolerating. I'm a big tolerater around here. That's probably not a good thing.

Anonymous said...

I sacrificed my feelings of competence.

Anonymous said...

I would read to everyone all at once--kill five birds with one book, so to speak.

Mormon Women: Who We Are said...

We just keep trying. I think one of the keys is to keep our hearts open to the consistent reminders from lots of places about what matters most. If it came naturally, we wouldn't need the reminders, imo. It's part of what this journey of becoming is all about.

Read this. You'll love it.