Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Light Bulb Is On

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to live my life. Yes, I am almost 28 years old and you’d think I would have figured it out by now. To be honest, I have been doing things specifically with other people in mind for so long. For instance, I would strive for, if not force, our family to read the scriptures. I did it specifically so that my kids would realize the importance of these sacred records and to make them better people.

Another example is the simple task of cleaning our house. Danny likes a clean house. Well, let me put that a different way; Danny HATES a dirty house. So when I clean, I do it for him. And on the days that I don’t feel well, or I’m just too tired by the time Danny gets home, I feel guilty that I didn’t clean before he got home. (Even though Danny will say over and over again that I should just sit down and relax. I bring the guilt on myself.)

At Thanksgiving, my sister planted a seed into my head. She actually gave me the wild and crazy idea that I could take care of myself first, and therefore be better prepared to take care of my family. In fact, she made it sound so easy. She said that if Danny came home before I got the chance to do the dishes, and I just happened to be taking a break when he walked in the door, I shouldn’t feel guilty if he starts putting the dishes in the dishwasher because I deserve to have breaks. She said that I have long days too – a different type of long day than Danny, but long nonetheless.

This was when the light bulb started to flicker inside my head. And between then and now, I’ve had family members, books, and different specific situations help me to come to a conclusion. It has only taken three full months for the light to finally go from a flicker to a bright halogen light bulb that is almost blinding. This light can’t go off now. It is stuck inside my head and refuses to go dim again.

So… What if I actually perform tasks specifically to improve myself? What if I read the scriptures, by myself, just to feel that spirit stronger in my life? What if I did it simply to make myself a better person? What if I did it to feel happier in my own life? Would it then affect the rest of my family the way it would have an effect on me? Would they understand the importance of these sacred records, simply by seeing the example of how the scriptures affect me?

I know it is often said that we should lead by example. Please don’t ask me why it took me such an extremely long time to figure out what that meant to me. A great way to put it is with a quote. My sister's friend, Charmaine Anderson, said, “This is my take on parenting: You figure out who God sent you...writing things down like this is a good start...then realize it is not your job to "mold" this gift from heaven. That will just set up battle lines. Your job is to love your unique little person; be a good example to them and then before it is over they will be inspired to mold themselves into someone you will be proud of. Not that I did any of this at all myself but from many conflicts I have learned that ‘being nice is more important than being right.’”

So, maybe I’m not the world’s best mother. I might yell at my kids too much, get frustrated too easily, and sometimes maybe go to bed feeling awful for being too hard on so-and-so. But I’m trying. I get to wake up the next day and try a little harder. And if it takes setting time aside just for myself in order to become a more patient, loving, and caring person, and in order to be a better example for the little ones that have been sent to me from above; I guess it is worth a try.

After all, isn’t there such a thing as being selfish in order to be selfless?


Tresa said...

I think you do a great job. (Other than maybe being a little hard on yourself) By the way... I love your new little addition on the sidebar with your scrapbook pages. So Cool!!!

Kayla said...

You're definitely on to something here. I think I need to apply this to my life too. Thanks!

Melissa said...

Thanks for this post! I am really loving your blog and all of Mardie's random thoughts!

...and CONGRATULATIONS!! I didn't know you were expecting! That is so exciting!! My B-Day is Sept 9th too. :)