I am not Mom

I am currently losing it. She is in her bedroom sobbing. He is shuffling around eating far too many tic-tacs because it’s keeping him quiet and occupied. I’m managing the budget wondering how next month is going to pan out, while the living room is disgusting (not just a mess but disgusting), chicken needs to be cut and frozen before it goes bad, the clothes in the washer need to be washed for the 3rd time because I keep forgetting to put them in the dryer, and dinner needs to be started at some point.

So of course I turn to writing because I’m so overwhelmed with everything and a phone call complaining to my husband or mother helps no one at this point. I write because I know so many of you are thinking “I completely know how you feel” to every word I type.

This hour describes a somewhat typical occurrence in my home. Everything seems to hit me at once, I lose it, the kids lose it, but then we all get a break, the hour passes and I move onto the list of to dos, and the kids to giggling and toys. But right now is different,   right now I am not just losing it the way I assume so many of us do time to time. Right now I’m also losing it because I realize I have completely lost myself.

I have lost myself to the dishes and the kids, the errands, the never ending laundry, the dinners, the messes, the “I needs”, the  “I wants”, and of course the non stop touching and pulling. I have lost myself to my endeavor to be the perfect and unrealistic image of a mother so many of us are striving to be. This title of Mom has consumed me. But I am so much more than this title. I am not Mom.

I am love.

I am passion.

I am giving.

I am anxiety.

I am outgoing.

I am slightly eccentric.

I am down days.

I am up days.

I am love.

I am grief.

I am joy.

I am human.

I am a daughter of God.

I am not Mom, You are not Mom.

Mom isn’t a whole self and it also isn’t an image that we need to accept or succumb to. It is not a profile that can be achieved, compared, or lived up to. Why does it seem so many of us are often trying to be the same Mom? We are women who individually have hundreds of definitions, and that uniqueness shouldn’t be swallowed up by a single image and title.

A Mom is a female parent, that is it. Everything else we want our personal motherhood to be we get to decide. We get to decide based on our family, our kids, our financial circumstances, our strengths, our weaknesses, and what we WANT it to be. Every single one of our motherhoods are different. Isn’t that wonderful and freeing? … and I suddenly feel more found.

I am not Mom, you are not Mom. Yes, Mom takes up a significant part of our days, yes motherhood is a part of us and a part we love, cherish, and are so blessed to experience.  But this title and image of Mom it is not how we live, how we act, how we feel, and it isn’t the single definition of ourselves. We are not Mom because we are not a title.

Mom doesn’t define us. We define it.

 

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2014, 2015 and Letting Him Be

2014 was full of ups and downs, fights, melting heart romantic moments, tears, smiles, milestones, ends, beginnings, accomplishments, failures, beauty, fear, excitement, and exhaustion… you get the point. Pratt continued to not sleep, I continued to fall in love with Seattle, Kerry graduated from graduate school, and Lou continued to amaze us with her vocabulary and smarts. We had the summer of our lives, knowing full well it was the last real summer before we became big kids. We moved to Alaska. ALASKA. And here we are now, trying to settle and find our new normal. It was a packed and significant year.

Year 2014 was also my year to Just Be. (If you haven’t read that blog post, go ahead, I explain the whole resolution there.) I have never stuck with a new years resolution up until this year and thank heaven I did, I wouldn’t have made it through as flawlessly and gracefully as I did (bahahahaha.)  It was easier than I thought it would be but slightly scary at times, and I surprisingly I didn’t spend the whole year on the couch watching Gilmore Girls… well not the WHOLE year. I got out with the kids more. I went on adventures. I opened my mind to new ideas and new words. I struggled spiritually and culturally which led me to study and pray harder. Freeing myself from expectations of what I thought a Mother, Wife, Mormon, and 28 year old should be helped me realize who I am, and it turns out I rather like me. I still feel slightly lost and grasping for more understanding of who I am and what I want but I’ve come to the conclusion that will always be present. There will always be change around me and with it I will always be adapting.

In conclusion 2014 was hard, it was also really really great. Big things happened. BIG, life altering, world crashing down, on cloud nine things happened. It’s done and I’m ready to move on to the next new.

So what for 2015? Well, while in 2014 I allowed every expectation of myself to fall by the wayside and I realized last night as I wrote up this rough draft that I hadn’t extended that luxury to anyone else in my life, especially the husband.  I think everyone gets married with an expectation of what you think life, marriage, and your husband will be. It often goes further than that in thinking that it SHOULD be something, if nothing else because that’s what you expected. I’ve unknowingly been fixated on those expectations the last few months. It’s been damaging, it’s been unfair, and it’s been miserable for everyone. I realize now that I don’t even know if those expectations are necessarily what I want. It’s just a fact, despite our spouses love, effort, and amazingness, they and marriage is very rarely what we think it will be. It’s selfish and unrealistic to not adapt our wants and expectations, especially when we allow that of ourselves. Just because things are different than I thought they would be doesn’t make them bad. Different, in fact can be really really good. 2015 will be the year I Let Him Be.

Of course this doesn’t mean I’ll spend the next year never asking him of anything, or telling him I need something. Communicating those needs are essential but “need” and “expect” are two very different things. “Expect” makes me think of my Mother saying “I expect you to be home on time, Miss May.” And as much as I act like it sometimes, I of course am not my husband’s Mother. He doesn’t need me to be his Mother, he needs me to be his wife and friend.

I’m not sure what Letting Him Be will look like, I think it might look like me not taking it personally when he watches a game instead of snuggling with me for a few hours on the weekend, or not expecting him to play with the kids right after work every day, be in a good mood every time I call, expect him to be my soul source of motivation and acceptance, or expecting the perfection from him that I almost constantly do. I need, and our marriage needs me to allow him to just be him instead of me trying to force him into my Should.

2015 resolution : Let Him Be. The year I do my best to fall in love with and focus on everything he tries to be and everything he is. My marriage is not what I expected it to be but that doesn’t make it bad, and I know 2015 will make it much much better.

Let’s here it! What’s your plan for 2015?

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The hard The good

So much hard going on and it feels like so little good. I know I’m surrounded by good, by love and abundance, full, silly, warmth, good company. How is it we can be consumed by the few hard and negative while the good shrinks into the corner? I surely can’t be the only one. So I’m spilling my thoughts like I typically do (or used to when I blogged.) Maybe I’m just complaining, or sharing, or just needing someone to listen for a second because the current friend situation is slim (one of the hard.) Whatever it is, I’m not looking for encouragement maybe just some super hard complaining stories we can all cry together with.

The Hard.

It’s dark and cold. We just hit the solstice so we’ll be gaining light every day and it will happen fast. Sun rose today at 10:15 and set at 3:50, though it seems later and earlier because it’s been so overcast. I wouldn’t mind the cold so much if there were more snow. It’s been a really “warm” and dry winter. I LOVE snowfall, it’s magical and beautiful and I’ve been looking forward to learning to cross country. So it’s cold and crazy dark. HARD

The Good

Iceskating on ponds and lakes. I thought I would be terrified. The IDEA is terrifying, any minute the ice breaking and falling through with no way to get out and freezing to death while drowning. Sounds fun right? But its’ actually magical and wonderful and Kerry bought me Skates for Christmas (totally cried) and I’m looking forward to driving the two miles to Jewel Lake to have a short skate. Luckily Lou loves skating two and has picked it up quickly. Even Pratt likes to pick up a hockey stick and can hit a puck pretty decent. Sadly his feet aren’t big enough for the smallest skates, he’ll be on the ice next year and I’m sure picking it up as quickly as he picked up crawling.

The Hard

Marriage. Marriage is hard. and it’s good and wonderful and at times perfect but it is HARD. You go into marriage having everyone tell you that it’s hard and you know that it will be hard but you don’t KNOW, you don’t KNOW what kind of hard it will be. Transitioning is hard on a marriage, long (I mean insanely long) hours at work makes it harder, moving makes it hard and right now we are in all of it and figuring it out and trying to make our new “normal” and it’s hard. But, It’s supposed to be hard, it couldn’t be so good if it wasn’t so hard. It will get better, but it’s hard.

The Good (lets end on a good note)

Pratt is sleeping better AND he’s napping. It’s not the best, bedtime isn’t easy, he wakes up between 4:00 and 6:30, but it’s HEAVEN compared to the last 18 months. I’m practically functioning at this point. High fives all around.

Once again, I’m not looking for encouragement or a pick me up. BUT, if you’d like to share your sob story whether it’s past or present, I’d love to hear it and we can bond together in our self-pity.

I miss blogging. Hoping to keep it up in 2015!

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Sharon

Tammy Jo!! I probably wouldn’t have been able to meet up with you anyway. You were busy, I was busy. Our paths will cross again. THANKYOU thank you for the words and advice! It’s been a very strange winter here I’m told. It’s been cloudy since October (really) and no snow. Today the sun came out and we have blue skies for days. It’s amazing how much that makes a difference. You will fall in love with Portland. I love it there, my parents and grandparents all grew up there and we went often as kids. It’s just so hard to find new things to fall in love with that are so different from what you loved back in you “home.” It will be an adjustment, as I’m sure it is for everyone. Next time I’m in Portland I’ll let you know!

Sharon

Paige, why were we not good friends in High School? We should have been! Amen amen to everything you said. Why does the bottom seem to fall out all at once? It’s like I’m suddenly questioning every thing I am, everything I wanted to be, and now everything I’m not. SO HARD. You think when your 18 you’ll have it figured out by 28. Then you’re 28 and you wonder if you’ll ever have it figured out. You’re right though. We can totally do this. YOU can totally do this. And it will be hare but totally great!

Tammie Jo Sanchez

One more thing. There is a hidden gem that I always loved to go to just think, relax and reflect. It’s in Southport. It’s a bluff that over looks the Turnigan Arm. There is a firestation 11301southport drive. Across from that firestation is a neighborhood street called Discovery Bay Drive. Once you turn down that street about 500 ft or less on the left hand side is an open grassy area. Park your car along the street and walk down the path and you’ll see an incredible view! Favorite spot in Anchorage!

Tammie Jo Sanchez

Sharon, I’m sorry I was never able to get in touch with when you arrived to Ak. Before I left Ak. My last few months got very hectic. I know exactly how you are feeling with the winter days up North. The HARD, dark cold days and nights. Sometimes I just wanted to stay in bed. It was annoying to have to wear double layers of clothing to stay warm. The GOOD, amazing sunrises to wake up to. Amazing sunsets to say goodnight to. Renting public cabins in the middle of nowhere and cross country skiing for miles. I left Ak November 11, 2014 after 10 years to start a new chapter in Portland, OR. I’m not quite there yet cause I’ve been traveling for the holidays. But come Jan 12, 2015 I will plant some roots in OR. I’m excited, scared, nervous, still wondering if I’m making the right decision. I loved Alaska so much. I had an amazing community there. Amazing friendships. a good job. Beautiful place to live. And the biggest playground and adult could ask for. And I’m terrified I will not find that in Oregon. That’s the HARD for me right now. I would love to recommend a few favorites of mine that made my Alaskan winters lovely. Arctic Entries: a story telling event that happens the second Tuesday of each month at the PAC(performing arts center) it’s from Sept-May. Renting a cabin at Hatcher Pass mid February(it’s a great getaway) spending a night at the Alyeska Hotel: the next morning make sure you have brunch at Jack Sprats. When you do get good snow definitely cross country skiing as much as you can. Even though it’s cold out take many walks on the hidden snow packed trails when the sunlight is out and if the sunlight is out stand silently for a moment with your eyes closed and just let the sunlight hit your face. Your first winter in Ak is the hardest. Right now I’m very much missing all the familiarlarities of Alaska. Sounds like we are both missing things we once loved dearly. Here’s to growing with change and embracing new beginnings taking the GOOD and HARD! Much love to you!

Lisa

I thought I would have it all figured out and be that person I wanted to be by 25. Guess what on my 25th birthday I was a wreck. I got over it but even now at 54 I still have times like you are having. We just moved, as you know,and have to go through finding my new role in this world. It’s definitely an adventure but one that I would really not like to be on at times.

Paige

We are so alike. I feel the same at times. I just had my third baby and wow, like wow, it’s hard. I had such a good thing going, you know. I had the 2 kids thing figured out, crossfit 3 times a week, and my marriage in the best place ever. 2014 was my year! Physically, mentally, emotionally. Woot. But now with a third, there’s a kink. A kink that I feel will take a long time to straighten out. No sleep, no shower, no exercise, no outings, no dates. Agreed. It’s hard. I’m 2 weeks in with 3. I can do this. We can do this.

An Alaskan Update

Since the last time I graced the internet with my wonderful presence a whole lot of life has happened. I’m currently sitting in a small duplex in the heart of suburbia Anchorage, Alaska and here to stay for the next several years (well hopefully not in this duplex or this seat but Anchorage, yes.)

We ended up here through a series of seemingly small coincidences starting with Blairs wedding in Anchorage. I’m not terribly in the mood to go through ALL of it but all in all I came for Blair’s wedding, stayed with another friend’s aunt who happens to be a doctor opening up a new clinic with a few other doctors. They needed a clinic manager, I gave her Kerry’s email and before I was home from the wedding an interview was set up. The doctors fell in love with Kerry and despite him being pretty under qualified for the job they hired him. (We are talking DREAM job for a kid right out of school.) 8 weeks after Blairs wedding we moved to Anchorage. That’s the super super short version. If you’d like the long version give me a call.

We’ve been here a month and it’s been an ok month so far. We’ve spent most of it sick or not sleeping. It is very reminiscent of when Pratt was about 7 months old. (or hell, you can call it hell if you want.) It hasn’t been a great month but we are getting through. Most surprising to me is how difficult it’s been for me to transition from city to suburbs. I miss the busy, the vibe, my friends, the walking, the chatting with locals, the bus, running errands, the NOT getting in and out of the car a million times, and just the constant something to do. Did I mention missing the not getting in and out of the car a million times?

I know I know (I don’t know but I’m hoping) I’ll fall in love with it here. It is really great having a yard, being able to just walk out the door to throw the garbage out, taking groceries in the house, and having friends for Lou next door that Lou an just run over to. We have all discovered that Lou has a major love of snow and will spend an abnormal amount of time playing in it by her lonesome, so that’s a plus seeing how we’ll be having 7 months of winter. AND yesterday we saw 8 moose (meese? mossen? moose? mooses?) wondering around our neighborhood. That’s all I’ve got for now, I’m sure I’ll add to the list of good things in the next few months.

Nothing terribly exciting (minus the whole moving to Anchorage thing.) Hopefully I can keep up this blogging thing and keep you folks that care up to date on what’s going up here in the Last Frontier.

More (not iphone) photos soon! Oh, and I’m no longer on Facebook so if you want to keep informed on our goingsons a little more you can follow me on INSTAGRAM. 

 

 

 

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Sharon

You were just here?? we missed each other by a month!

Sharon

I had no idea you were in Florida! we are on complete opposites ends of the country> maybe i’ll take you up on that visit come mid April when its still winter here :)

Kiera

Well, when you need to defrost you have a free place to stay near the beach. Not sure if you know but I live in Panama City, FL. So I can relate on some level from going from city life to almost country living. It’s been 8 months and I’m still hoping one day I will come to like it here. Whenever I don’t all I have to do is take a croc to the beach.

Emily

Hell, not he’ll!

Emily

I figured it must have been a really great job to get you out of Seattle. Good for Kerry, getting such amazing experience so early in his career! I hope you love Alaska. I fell in love with it when I went last August and told Dave I would not mind living there at all….but it was August. The 7 months of winter thing might be really hard for me!

I’ll call it he’ll for you and hope it turns into heaven. I mean the boy’s got to sleep SOMEtime….right?

Sharon

Jenny, they are crazy and wonderful. I hope we enjoy it too. :) Here is that post: http://www.sharonjohnsonphotography.com/my-new-do/.

Jenny Hirst

What a wonderful experience for Kerry to be able to jump into. I know a few people from Alaska, two living in the Soldotna area right now. I swear alaskans are crazy/wonderful people. I hope you enjoy your time there. It is so beautiful.
Ps remember that time you have chopped off allyour hair, I was looking for the post/pictures but couldn’t find it. Did you take it down? I want to try a pixie cut and am trying to figure out how to do it.

Paige

Alaska looks really beautiful! Congratulations on the job. What a chain of crazy events for your family. I look forward to hearing about your adventures in Alaska. :)

Blair and Eric’s Engagements

A stunning groom and bride up against towering majestic Alaskan mountains and billowing rivers, that’s what I photographed last week. IT WAS AMAZING! Lucky me the bride is my best friend and she also asked me to photograph her engagements a few months ago. Until I get her wedding images up, here are a few from her engagement session taken on antelope island in northern Utah. Enjoy!


 

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