Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mother Guilt

I have been pondering this for the past few days, ever since I read an email (that I probably shouldn't have read) that a nice lady had written expounding the details of her incredibly gifted and highly accomplished family....children and grandchildren. Tales of foreign service jobs, fluency in Russian, music prodigies.. yada yada yada. Ever since then I have been in sort of a funk....feeling guilty about my mothering skills, or lack thereof. This seems to be happening to me more as I get older and I see the fabulous things my children are doing with their children...and hear about other people's fabulous children.....and I think-why didn't I do that??? or gosh-I shoulda done that....

I guess it's because in all those years I was either gestating, lactating or having financial problems and working my butt off to provide for our thundering herd-and between having numerous ankle biters and hormonal teens, well, some days it was just all I could do to get decent food on the table, keep the laundry semi-current and get everyone where they needed to be....on time! And mostly doing all that stuff at the same time....

So apologies to my seven offspring:
I am sorry we had to quit the music lessons because we couldn't afford them.
I am sorry we didn't speak Spanish at home so that you all grow up to be fluent speakers-or any other foreign language for that matter.....
I am sorry we didn't study geography at the dinner table and then go to the places we studied.
I am sorry I didn't stay up until midnight having meaningful spiritual conversations with you after you returned home from dates, etc.
I'm sorry we didn't choose exotic careers so that you could see the world.
I'm sorry we didn't send you to Harvard, Princeton, Berkley..BYU...whatever......

But let me share with you what these fabulous people do:

They all speak and read English fluently.
They know how to dress and groom themselves.
They all have nice straight teeth.
Not one of them has ever aspired to a career at McDonald's.
They have all managed to get above average grades-and mostly way above average!
My girls know how to cook and do it daily.
The ones who are reproducing make incredibly beautiful babies! (and I have no doubt that those who will be reproducing soon will do the same!)


Suzie said...

guilt is for people who haven't done their job.
you obviously have.
although I feel you.
beautiful kids, wonderful accomplishments.

Heather said...

Forget the guilt... you did a great job. Well, from what I can tell anyway! :)

My four year old asked me if I would take him to Paris the other day... SURE?!?!

Allyson said...

Not to mention.....

They have a strong Testimony of this Gospel.
They are willing to Serve in their Wards, Neighbors, and community.
They know the importance of Family.
They are all well balanced.
They each have spectacular talents that are amazing and I for one an very jealous of.
They are Happy
They are Kind

These things far exceed, knowing Russian, being a musical prodigie...yada yada yada!!! I know you are proud of your kids. But you should also be OH SO PROUD of yourself. Motherhood is awesome but HARD and I think you did and are doing a most wonderful job at it! Way to go MOM!

kristie said...

As a mom on the beginning end of the spectrum, I understand what you are thinking. I was going to do sooo much more with my children. But, house payments, house work, and just day to day stuff gets in the way of the extras.

But, hey, my family didn't get to go to exotic places. We didn't have the long spirtual talks after dates. Not one of us can speak a second language. Yet, we all love how we grew up. We appreciate what we did have. I am sure your kids do to.

Lisa and Ryan said...

You have AWESOME kids!!!! I think we all wish we could do more. I have always thought you were a fun, happy, beautiful MOM!! Thanks for always being a great example to me. Love ya!

Pedaling said...

i would think that there is no need for an apology here-
everyone has their achievements and our weaknesses and we all just do the best we can- sounds like you did much-you have one beautiful, remarkable family that's for sure!

Spin said...

It looks like you are doing a wonderful job. every time i get one of those over the top cards or emails from the perfect fam I think -Really?
then it always makes me wonder because usually those who are "doing" it all really dont need to tell everyone that they are "doing" it all - they just "do"

Stacey said...

I am in love with this post. I want to recommend a book called, "Confessions of a Slacker Mom."
Would you mind if I refer to this post on my blog. I think it is the basis for a fun mother/writer project.

sandalloons44 said...

I know you feel the same like I do but, times gets tough raising children. before my Andrew moved into a group home 4 years ago, Marilyn, we were paying $160 a month just for school lunches.
So, see them my husband needs gas money for our company and money for lunches etc. so, I am sure you did the best you could.
You family looks lovely. Be proud!

JMTaylor said...

Your kids are awesome - which is reflective on you! You have done an awesome job! It is through adversity (life) that makes us stronger and who we are.

You took the rocks of life and made 7 gems!

Hero said...

Mom I almost wanted to cry but then you made me laugh! You were exactly the kind of mother I needed and I always feel a swell of pride whenever people tell me how closely I resemble you!