{ My New Year’s Words to Live By }

I taught a lesson in Relief Society on Sunday and in it I used my quote for the year to help explain a point. I realized that I had never officially written it down anywhere, so it hopes of making it a little more real for myself I wanted to jot down a few thoughts I am having.


I have never really picked a word or quote for the year. Goals-but not words. As the end of the year approached, I was thinking a lot about what I wanted out of this next year. A lot had changed since that time last year. I felt like I had a lot of new things going for me, and a lot of new opportunities to grow and learn. Lots of new makes me feel optimistic-like there’s a clean slate of sorts in front of me. I felt like the time for me to do things was now.

I don’t know if you have even felt like this-but as a parent I would often tell myself when I wasn’t being the best parent I could, “Okay, that was not the best response. Maybe my kids are too young they won’t remember this. Maybe there is still time to be a “great” parent, and they will remember that instead of this.” I discovered that those years are past. My window of opportunity is past-for most of my kids that is. Let’s see… my earliest memory in life is about age 4 or 5..okay, yes almost all of my kids. My dreams of being that great mom have to be NOW (hopefully they have already been a little).

It’s not that I think I will always choose the right words to say to my kids, or always respond in the most patient loving way-I’m striving to but I’m not there for sure. I guess I just wondered in 10 or 15 years from now, when my kids would be asked what their mom was like what they would say. I’ve heard other’s describe their moms, and I could tell pretty quickly from their tone what kind of mom they remembered.

She was a yeller.

She was always serving.

She was always there to talk.

She was adventurous.

She was an athlete.

She was so impatient.

She was a dreamer.

Those comments from others about their moms really stood out to me. I wondered what thoughts my own kids had about me. I worried that the things that would stand out in their minds would be:

My mom is always pregnant.

My mom is always tired.

My mom always has to have a nap.

My mom never cooks good meals we like.

Okay, I am seeing a theme here. I am always tired, pregnant, and need naps. (And no I am not now-well maybe the nap part) Kind of funny when I actually write it down. I was just so worried that the occasional life circumstances-like bearing children and all those tired times would place me in the bummer list of moms. I can’t tell you how many times my kids asked to go swimming at the pool or have friends over and I was just too tired or sick from being pregnant or just having a baby. I didn’t want my kids to feel like they were missing out on things because “We all have to sacrifice because mom doesn’t feel good” . My words, not theirs. Which sacrifice is not a bad thing for sure, they need enough of it to stay humble.

Luckily, I feel like I have been blessed with children who rise above myself, and are able to worry about and focus on less petty things than I. I know it because I hear their excitement when they remember something fun we did together as a family, or when they talk to me about things that are important to them. I know that they see the joy in families I have always wanted them to see when they notice someone at church or in town with a new little baby and ALL my kids look at me and coo and say how cute that baby is. They all get it. They don’t focus on how tired mom is ( I DO LOVE MY NAPTIME), or things they may miss out on. They just focus on us. They focus on the little everyday things that bring kids joy. They fill their days with playing, and having fun, and being a kid. I am all about responsibility (our new work system post to come), but I am about my kids being kids too. Life often comes to much, too fast, and we look back wondering where those precious years of childhood went. I want their life brimming with joy, that it carries over into the times that those life experiences and challenges will come.

This is where my quote comes in. I wondered to myself-more like pondered many day, weeks, months about what my role was in this. Was I being the mom I wanted? Was I being the mom they wanted? Was I being the mom my Father in Heaven wanted? And in striving to do this, was I really living MY life or was I living the way I thought I should be. Not the “way I should be” in a good way like how we should always strive to be better, but the “way I should be” because that’s how someone should –based on the world’s views. It sounds a lot more confusing on paper than in my mind. I wanted to make sure that I was being the best person for myself, and my husband, and my kids because that’s what I wanted, and we wanted, and that’s what would make me be better-not because I was trying to keep up with the Jones’ so to say.

I felt like this was a year to really reflect on the way I wanted to mother. I have often felt guilt for not volunteering enough at the kids school, or not writing little notes everyday in their lunches, or planning and taking the best vacations, or waking up cheerful everyday so my kids could start the day with a happy attitude. The list could surely go on and on. The truth is all that precious energy was spent worrying instead of DOING.

My quote was meant to be a reminder to me-one that I could say to myself everyday:

“Monae, today life YOUR life. Not the neighbors, not your best friends, not the lady at schools’, not so and so from church. Just yours.”

My mind and heart are so full of things I want for my own family. Experiences I want them to have (the theme from my Sunday lesson that this quote reinforced-I’ll have to write down sometime soon). Feelings of love they can securely feel within the walls of this home. Activities and family fun that bring such joyful memories that will overshadow the less meaningful “tired mom” ones. I am confident as I live MY life for them and with them that as they grow older their memories of me will be something like this:

My mom gave the best hugs.

My mom is so creative. She planned the funnest activities for us.

My mom served us.

My mom was funny. She laughed with us.

My mom was a dreamer. Not always a doer-but she loved to dream up great things.

My mom was tough. She worked so hard.

My mom wrote me notes sometimes and put them in my lunchbox. I saved them in the top zipper because they meant so much.

My mom supported me at my games.

My mom let us always have Family Home Evening.

My mom loved taking pictures.

My mom loved us.

My list of things to do this year have some of the same things as in years past, but they also have some new ones too. Ones that will hopefully bring a little more me into the equation. Ones that will show my kids who I am, and by so doing will show them who they are. I hope that my old self and all it’s time spent worrying will be put to the doing. Doing things to better


Note to self: As I was just reading over this proofreading, Erika came up to me and said,”Mom, you have to come take a picture of this! We made the coolest thing”. I grabbed my camera and smiled inside that taking a picture was her first response. I took a picture of their fort they made by the front door out of umbrellas and blankets. Their bookfair books and stuffed animals were lined up by their pillows, ready for some fun.

Then Scott comes to me and announces that he will be going to the restroom, and Abby comments, “Good job! You can put a sticker on your goal chart when you’re done”.

They get it. Fancy foyers are for play in this home. We support each other in worthwhile goals, no matter how small they may seem. Cameras are for preserving memories of fun and important things. Living MY life seems pretty good right now.


Dre + Drew - Midwest Living - Iowa City said...

THank you for this beautiful post what a great reminder. Many of the same thoughts I have been having.

Lisa said...

You are great. Always an inspiration.