Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Mother of Achievement or Mother of Failure?

Last Saturday, American Mothers was kind enough to present me with a "Mother of Achievement" award. At a luncheon in Salt Lake City, fifteen mothers were honored for amazing achievements such as helping at-risk youth and their families, working to improve programs in schools, supporting families of children with disabilities, brightening the lives of pregnant women who have to be in the hospital on bedrest, helping families in third world countries, and mothering their own children in their own uniquely beautiful and deliberate ways. Several moms had 8, 9, and 10 children and scores of grandchildren and even some great grandchildren. What gifts each of these mothers with families large or small have given the world through their own well-raised children. I felt humbled to be in their midst.

As we tried to get out the door for the luncheon on Saturday morning, I was NOT feeling like a Mother of Achievement. I was feeling like a Mother of Failure. I had a list of small projects around the house and yard that I envisioned all of us working on together quickly and efficiently before leaving for the event and although I thought I'd planned things well and I made the jobs bite-sized for everyone and I worked alongside them in a cheerful manner (which usually really helps), there was lots of moaning and complaining and everything took 10 times longer than it should. Then suddenly it was time to get going - and I realized that the thing actually started a 1/2 hour earlier than I'd realized. Oops! So we started hurrying. And hurrying makes for stress and stress makes for a not-so-nice mom.

My hair wouldn't cooperate. The shirt I was going to wear had a spot on it. Eliza did her own hair and proudly showed me her lopsided messy pig tails - then was naturally pretty sad when I suggested I could maybe smooth out her pigtails a bit for her. And Isaac's nice pants were quite suddenly WAY too short for him (I swear, he wore those last Sunday and they were fine!).  I found another shirt for myself and Eliza reluctantly agreed to let me touch up her hair in the car on the way to Salt Lake and Isaac and I searched through all Ashton's pants (which were wadded up in a drawer rather than being folded neatly the way I've showed him about a hundred times) and finally found a pair that wasn't too big or too dirty or too wrinkled for Isaac to wear. Then while I gathered my stuff, Isaac did his own hair with this "ski jump" style involving gelled hair sticking straight up in the front (he loved the guy's hair in the movie Tin Tin and has been going for that look). I begged him to please let me do his hair in a more normal way for this event and he finally agreed - after I promised that someday, when he has a special event to go to and I'm going there to support him, I'll let him tell me how to do my hair. Wouldn't life be so much easier if we could all be bald?

Then I sent everyone to the car so I could work on my unruly hair in peace for a few minutes. Jared politely pointed out that we were late. I not-so-politely pointed out that I was doing my best and that I'm always getting everyone else ready and don't have time to get myself ready so for once in my life, I was going to actually make my hair look presentable and we were just going to have to be a little late.

Jared drove fast but we yep, we were a little late. I had to march on up to my assigned place at the head table at the luncheon during the introduction speech, feeling like the furthest thing from a "Mother of Achievement." But you know what? It all worked out perfectly fine. Sometimes late is just plain OK.

My mom blogged all the event it here (with the pride and love that only a mother can muster). But here are a few photos of the lovely luncheon and great company I enjoyed last Saturday. We'll be "spotlighting" many of these moms on The Power of Moms soon - I want to offer their examples of service to their families and beyond to everyone possible!


It felt nice to be honored. It felt lovely to enjoy a tasty lunch in the company of amazing moms while my cute kids (with their nicely done hair) and wonderful patient husband looked at me adoringly from the audience. And after the luncheon, it was so nice to go shopping with my mom and Eliza at the beautiful new City Creek Mall (I'm SO not a shopper but my wardrobe has been pretty thin lately and shopping with Eliza and my mom and finding some great deals made it fun). Then my parents treated me and Eliza to the symphony - Eliza's first time. The music was gorgeous and it took me back to the special times when my parents took me to the symphony as a child. We all feel a special bond to that place given my mom's passion for music and my dad's involvement in getting Symphony Hall built (he helped run the bond election that made it possible to build Symphony Hall and restore Capitol Theater in downtown Salt Lake). And I don't know if the day would have been quite so nice if the morning hadn't been quite so crazy. The hard stuff really does make the good stuff better.

Then, of course, real life took over again. I came home at midnight to a house full of the clutter and dust that we didn't get to that morning with all the complaining and interruptions and had to quickly prepare a lesson for church bright and early the next morning (I just got asked to be a leader in our church's children's program called Primary) and set out everyone's Sunday clothes. Then the next morning, just when I thought I'd timed everything right (I'd learned from Saturday's experience) and we were actually going to be early for church, I discovered that Isaac was inexplicably still in the shower (I'd sent him in there a 1/2 hour earlier with his church clothes - that fit him - in hand and clear instructions to be quick) and Oliver spilled milk all over his only decent pair of Sunday pants (I guess we need to seriously stock up on Sunday pants around here...). So we were late and someone else had to cover for me in Primary until I awkwardly took over a few minutes late. 

Yep. Lateness happens. And you know what? It's not the end of the world and we are improving. We were totally ready on time for school the past couple days.

Aren't we all mothers of achievement and mothers of failure - often in the same day and sometimes even in the same hour? 


Anonymous said...

I think you look beautiful.

charity said...

congrats saren! i hope you saw my comment on mom's post - that you are so beautiful (written before i read this story about the hair)! i have to say your hair looks awesome (and honestly it always does) and so does eliza's and isaac's! you are the epitome of a mother of achievement. love you and proud of you!

Gayla said...

Congratulations on being honored. Thank you so much for keeping it real. I enjoy your blog and think you have a beautiful family. And very nice hair btw. :)

Cath said...

Congrats Saren. A much deserved honor and you are definitely a Mother of Achievement! I love you. And as for failure and discouragement, those topics have been on my mind quite a bit lately. I blogged about it last week in a post titled "When You Think You're Not Enough." I'm with you. It's okay to be late. ;)

ps - You look beautiful. And I'm so glad your Mom gushed over you. xo

Jonah and Aja said...

It was totally worth it to be late because your hair looks fantastic!!

We are all so proud of you! A totally deserved honor. Yay Saren!

-Aja and Po

CS said...

Goes to show you never know what is going on in someone's life - I had *just* said to myself after looking at the very first photo "dang, she always looks so well put together. I need to spend more time on myself in the grooming & wardrobe depts." LOL I thank you for keeping it real and being a true inspiration to this mom sitting in her home office at the computer (my window to the 'outside' world). :)

Rachael Patterson said...

What an honor and well deserved! You're team--they are changing the way mothers view motherhood. Thank you for sharing all you have with many of us!

eyre blog said...

very well deserved award Saren! I look up to you in SO many ways.

Tasha said...

I'm glad to know that we all have late days. Congrats!

shawni said...

You are definitely a mother of achievement and I adore you and all that you are doign for the cause of motherhood!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing of your life experiences so we can all be a bit more accepting of ourselves & life.

Sarah said...

Congratulations Saren! You deserve it! And by the way I LOVE your hair! :) You look so pretty!


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