Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I Thought I Was Ready

All I ever wanted was to be a mom.

With my sister, about age 3

I can still remember the drawing contest we had when I was in fifth grade.
We had to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up.
And there, proudly posted on the wall amid hairstylists and rocket scientists,
hung my picture of a woman balancing a phone on her shoulder, cooking dinner, and holding a baby with a toddler crying at her feet.

In Junior High, during a career orientation class, I stated that I just wanted to be a mother.
I was determined to prove the teacher wrong when she stated that "in today's world, that just isn't possible."

With my youngest brother

In high school there were few things more important to me than grades and maintaining that 4.0.
But recruitment letters from ivy league colleges never had much appeal to me and were tossed in the trash without much thought.
While others with the same ambition in school set lofty career goals,
dreams of wildflower bouquets from Mr. Right and ice cream cones with my children filled my head.

During my senior year, my parents took a long-awaited trip to Hawaii
and I got to play "Mom" for a week...
packing lunches and grocery shopping accompanied my usual teenage tasks,
and my desire to be a mother was only more solidified in my mind.

It's always been my dream.

23 weeks along!

I was delighted and surprised when, despite my empty track record of dates in high school
and those lonely nights at home while my classmates went to homecoming and prom,
I met my husband just before my nineteenth birthday and we were married just over 6 months later.
A few weeks before our wedding we talked it over and determined that we didn't want to wait to have children.
We were ready to start down the road of parenthood.
And just 9 1/2 months after our wedding, our first son was born.

Moments after birth

I was confident as a new bride and young mom.
Insecurities about my ability to mother were largely absent as I took on my new role.
I mean, come on!
I was the 4th of 7 children, and my youngest sibling was born when I was 11...
I grew up witnessing first-hand and taking part in child-rearing.
I cooked dinner for my large family once per week as I grew, and I was taught the arts of sewing, canning food, cleaning, gardening, and more.
I babysat countless times.
I took every child development course I possibly could in high school and was state certified in all of them, and I even worked at the high school daycare and was president of the FCCLA chapter.
I took child development and parenting courses during college.
Sam and I had numerous discussions about parenting...even our honeymoon was filled with talk of parenting philosophies!
The day after we were married we sat down and drafted a document entitled "The Brady Family Constitution" wherein we set goals for our new family.
And for the first year or so of our new baby's life, almost every single Family Home Evening lesson was intentionally geared toward various aspects of parenting.
We were ready!
I was ready!
Right?
Right?!

Our first at about 6 months

And for those first couple of years, I still naively thought I was fully prepared for motherhood.
Oh, sure, we had our issues...our new son had difficult feeding issues, and about 4 months after his birth he determined that sleep was greatly overrated.
He got into mischief and enjoyed pushing the limits as he neared age 2.
But I was certain that our parenting was yielding this brilliant, adorable, social, securely attached child,
and our ideals were coming to fruition.

But as he began to gain more independence and we added one and then two more boys to our family,
I started to learn something really important.
I may have been fully prepared to be a mother...
but I was prepared very little to be Talmage's mother
and Wesley's mother
and Lincoln's mother.
And each of them has had difficulties that have caused us to recognize our own weaknesses and turn to God with humility, recognizing that we can't be fully successful on our own.

Fall 2014

So while I'm still grateful for the experiences I had that helped prepare me to be a mother,
I am even more grateful for the truths I was taught
that led me to turn to my Father in Heaven for inspiration and help throughout my life.
I am grateful that He humbled me early on by showing me my weaknesses
and teaching me the necessity of relying on Him to raise His children here on Earth.
I am grateful for the challenges of motherhood that allow me to taste such sweet joys.

And it's still my dream come true.

2 comments:

  1. I love this!!! I definitely haven't prepared as much as you to be a mom ;) but I loved what you said about your boys specifically. You can get all of the training possible, but the truth is, we're mothering little people with their own personalities and there's no way to completely prepare for every little thing they'll bring into your life! But I get SO excited to see my little guy and find out who he is and watch him grow and find his passion in life.

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  2. I always look forward to your latest postings, Kaitlyn. This one is especially dear to my heart, because,I, too, dreamed of being a mom from a very young age. My family was so dysfunctional and I only learned from watching, as no one ever took the time to teach me one thing. I took care of my sisters while mom worked, I cooked, cleaned, and was abused. When I became a mother after getting married at 15, I was thrilled and scared. I became pregnant 2 1/2 months after I got married. By the time I was 19, I had 3 children. And, I failed them all miserably. The role models in my life were all suffering from abuse, sexual, mental, and physical; so they themselves were not equipped to raise children either. We only attended church a few times but there was never any lessons taught at home. All that I knew about Heavenly Father and Christ, I was taught by Them, and was blessed to have my memories of living in heaven intact. Now my children are grown with kids of their own, and their lives are such a mess, it kills me. I feel such guilt for not having done a better job of being the mother that they deserved. Although, from birth, I shared my love and knowledge of Father and Christ, and our heavenly home. We didn't know any "Mormons," so what they would hear from their paternal grandmother, who was a Jehovah's Witness, totally clashed with what they learned from me. Through it all, they came away with a love of God, but not enough so that they would follow Him through this life. They, like the rest of my family, were pulled down by Satan, and I fear they will never break away. I am sharing this very personal story with you and whoever reads your blog, for one reason. I want people to see what happens to children and the entire family when Christ is not front and center, in the hearts and lives of each of us. And when we go into anything without any knowledge of what we are up against. Most times, even the smallest mistakes, have long term negative effects. So, Kaitlyn, now maybe you and Sam can understand why I hold you in such high regard. It isn't just because you helped me so much through some hard times. It is mostly because of the examples that you are, in every aspect of your life. Remember when we went to the temple together, and you were driving. Sam told you that there was a person wanting to get in our lane, so you slowed to make it possible. Those seemingly small acts, left a huge impression on me. I love you all so very, very much. You and your friendship, and those amazing boys, are truly one of my greatest blessings.

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