There are few things better than getting with other moms and sharing a day together, especially when yummy food is involved and lots of great discussion about how to strengthen our families and ourselves as mothers. I absolutely love it! And that's exactly what happened this past Saturday right in my very own home.
My dear husband was such a trooper as he loaded up our children (all except Hallee who claimed she had too much homework and stayed to help me out a little as well, a little fact I was grateful for) and headed out the door at 7:15 a.m. Saturday morning. Truth be told he didn't need to leave quite that early for me, but Nate had a basketball game at 8:00 in Ogden, so they trudged out to the car quite sleepy-eyed but happy as I said, "Please don't come back until at least 5:15. Love you!" Ha! I wondered how Dan would keep them all happy and busy for that many hours, but I needn't have worried. They had a fabulous day--at the ball game, then running a few errands for me (picking up the sandwiches and cookies I had ordered and dropping them off quickly), then selling our car and getting a new one--yes, as crazy as that sounds we sold our car that day and he spent hours at the dealership while our kids ate popcorn, drank pop and watched television (nice!:), and went to Costco (anyone can spend hours there, right?). Anyway, they had a fun but busy day and when the kids all filed in at 5:15, they couldn't wait to tell me about their adventures--all at the same time!
Meanwhile, back here at home, I was so happy for the opportunity of sharing some fabulous Power of Moms material with some eager and thoughtful and wonderful women who showed up to spend the day with Tiffany and me. Now a bit about Tiffany Sowby. She is amazing! I love working with her because she is not only a hoot, but just a fabulous, down-to-earth, real and tremendously great woman and mother. I always feel it such a privilege to spend the day working with her, so I was in heaven just having this opportunity. Then as each woman entered my home, I felt such a unique and special warmth and spirit from each one. I always admire someone who is willing to take an entire day out of a busy life, and spend a chunk of money, too, to come to a stranger's home in hopes of gleaning inspiration and tools on how to be a better mother. I think that says so much about that woman's heart.
Oh, how I wish I had pictures of everything!! Ugh! Not so. I did have Hallee snap a few and I took a couple at the end, but they certainly don't do justice to the amazing feelings that prevailed throughout the day, or the fun we shared together, or the touching moments of "wow." I guess you will just have to attend one of these retreats to know what I really mean. Ha!
|That is Tiffany standing up front. Not sure why so many empty chairs in this picture. Some moms must have been in the bathroom. Ha!|
|Another view. That is me sitting up front in the blue pants. Sorry about the sun glaring through the windows.|
|On my back porch at the end. Unfortunately, a few moms had left by this time, but here is most of us--there were close to 25 in all, I think (I was taking the picture).|
Anyway, my biggest fear when I speak to women about motherhood is that I will in some way give the false impression that I think I am an expert or that I am doing it all right and have all the answers, because truly I'm not and I don't. I've probably made more mistakes than anyone else. And in fact, there have been times I've felt like quitting. Ha! Like that's an option, right? But this journey of mothering children is so very difficult and there are layers upon layers of intricate situations to navigate through, and it literally takes every ounce of everything that's within us sometimes. But that's what makes it so absolutely wonderful and worth it, too, because we all grow together. I have learned so incredibly much through my mistakes, and I've learned to be patient with myself (or at least I'm trying to learn that:) and to stop sweating the small stuff so much and sit back and enjoy this amazing journey a little more.
And my biggest hope is that those who listen will feel a connection somehow, that they will feel understood on some level and feel hope where maybe they've felt despair, and that they will be reminded that they are the right mothers for their children and they they can do this! Sometimes as moms we just need to be reminded that we are doing most everything right (because somehow we've convinced ourselves we're doing everything wrong), so we can take a deep breath, wrap our arms around these kids of ours we love so much and just keep going. Maybe we can choose one or two things to focus on that will bring us more peace or help a struggling child or target a specific problem in our home, but overall, we must remember things are going to be OK because we are doing our best.
One of the perks about helping with these retreats is that I am reminded myself of valuable parenting tools I may need to brush up on. I too become inspired by everyone there and their comments and suggestions. I feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Ok, so I was exhausted too by the end, but it was the good kind of exhausted. Ha! At the end of the day, I realized what I felt most was grateful. Grateful for the privilege of being a mother to my five children. Grateful to be parenting together with my husband, whom I love with all my heart. Grateful for what I am learning through this process of motherhood. Grateful for fresh starts and new days when I mess up. Grateful for children and a husband who seem to love my like crazy, despite my insanity and stack upon stack of flaws. Grateful, oh so grateful to be a mother.
I hope that everyone who came felt it was well worth their invested time and money, and I hope they went home feeling optimistic, rejuvenated and inspired. Every mother has her own set of challenges, strengths, commitments outside the home, and more. That's why I feel we are all in this together, and when we can join in strengthening and learning from each other, it's an awesome, powerful experience.
Thanks again for all who joined us--hope to see you again soon!