Thursday, March 20, 2014

The What Ifs and the Why Nots

So... I hope I didn’t scare you away with my last blog post. The sentimental, ponderous, self-improvement obsessed side of me sometimes takes over and things can get oh so serious. Of course, after putting myself out there, I immediately wondered if it was the right thing to do.

Admitting that you don’t always love the life you’ve chosen is… revealing, to say the least. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, either. I love my husband, I love my kids, I love photography and being at home and sometimes I even like to clean things. I would not trade the life I have now for a different one. What I guess I’m really trying to say is that I sometimes find myself wondering what things might have been like if I’d taken things a bit slower.

I was so excited to get married and start a family. That’s kind of your basic pre-teen LDS female fantasy, really. Most of us grew up with Mom at home, cooking and cleaning and crafting and raising the small people – and from what I’ve experienced with friends and family, most of us wanted to be just like that. And there’s nothing wrong with it.

I believe motherhood is a wonderful, complex, and worthwhile piece in my puzzle. I will always be proud to have been a mother in this life and raised children who [hopefully] lived their best lives as well. But after several years of struggling to find and be the “perfect mother,” I’ve realized something – I’m not just a mother. Mothering is not the only thing I was born to do. I am still an individual with interests, hobbies, thoughts, opinions, and “issues.” Being a mother is part of me—it has changed things about me—but it isn’t all of me. And it’s okay if I sometimes scale back on the mothering stuff and spend more time on photography stuff, or writing stuff, or lunch with friends stuff, or going on rollercoasters with my husband stuff. It’s okay.

In trying to accept and make time for my individuality, I have thought a lot about what this life would mean if we all believed it were the only life we would have. Most, or many, religions believe in an after-life. Some, like Mormonism, believe in eternal life and eternal progress. And it’s a beautiful concept. We do all the things in this world that we believe will get us to Heaven and eternal happiness will be ours, right?

But WHAT IF this is it?

Just consider it for a moment… what would we do differently if we believed that this life was our only life?

Aside from sky-diving and climbing Mt. Everest, is there something we would really like to do to truly live? Would we see the world? Would we write books? Become actresses on Broadway? Have a passel of kids akin to that of the Duggars? Eat cheesecake for dinner?

So what’s really stopping us?

Is it that belief that this life only leads to another so we might as well just live quietly and wait for whatever wonderful thing is next? Is it a lack of funds? Heaps of responsibility? The horrifying thought of wider hips?

Or is it just… us?

Cozumel, just after sunrise. Awesome.

Why not climb mountains and eat cheesecake and write books? Why not follow our more spectacular dreams? Why not become the people we wanted to be at age six? Why not enjoy and celebrate every moment with loud voices and exuberant hearts?

Why not live this life as if it were the only one?


  1. Growing up i didn't have dreams and fantasies of being married and having kids. If I was asked what I wanted to do/be when I grew up my response was never a mother. I wanted to be a professor, a lawyer, a senator. I didn't think about where a family would fit in. When I got married my mom told me "you are going to be a mom forever, take a few years for you and your husband." Thank heavens for her wise advice! I know it isn't for everyone. The other thing she often tells me is, "being a mother is not who you are, it is what you do. You are Tiffany, you are a daughter of God." She was the ultimate example of using and stretching her talents outside of motherhood. Which not only made an impact on others, it made a huge impact on me. I need to take care of who I am so that I can do what I do, well. And taking care of and being true to ourselves is different for everyone. A degree for one, a hobby for another, a job for her, or traveling for them. I believe we focus so much on being a fictitious "super mom" when what we should really strive for is being true to ourselves, to our nature. Then naturally everything else falls into line. In other words, I whole-heartedly agree with you.

    1. Tiffy -- your mom sounds like the most awesome example of a woman ever. I have so struggled with the "super mom" image (especially since the onslaught of blog-moms increased with Pinterest a few years ago) and why I don't quite fit it. I guess what I have had to tell myself through the highs and especially the lows is that "I am who I am, and I love that about myself." Kind of silly, but it helps. Let me ask you this -- because your mom was familiar with her "individual" self, did you ever feel like you were being neglected or needed more of your her attention? I'm always afraid that if I don't do this or that, my kids won't feel loved. Thank you for sharing your wise words! I'm always interested in what you have to say. :)

  2. yes just do it! i thought that i wanted to be a nurse. really i just wanted to care for people and make them happy when they are sick. turns out i can do basically the same thing by serving others. then i thought i wanted to do hair for a living. nope, can't stand tiny hair everywhere especially on me. i finally went back to my inner child and all i cared to do was create beautiful things with color. and now i'm doing that! we need to stop listening to others and just listen to ourselves, only we truly know what will make us happy!