My Journey to Motherhood

I’m so glad you stopped by!  I know Motherhood doesn’t happen all at once, maybe the physical transition does, but developing the qualities and skills and knowledge to pull it off takes time.

I would love to hear your story.  How you transitioned to Motherhood, what you’ve learned, where you’re at, and where you want to go with this “most beautiful of all arts, the greatest of all professions”! (President David O. McKay)

Please send your story to my email: southeast_alaska@hotmail.com  With your permission, I’ll post it here.

Now, my Journey to Motherhood:

I never thought very much of motherhood. It seems that none of society does.   I often returned home from school to find my own mother snoozing on the couch or out shopping.  She despised being a mother and was quite vocal about the hardships this tough lot in life were on her.   It was common to enter the kitchen to see Mom alone, in front of the sink, face flushed with anger, swearing and having a very animated discussion with her invisible rival (Ironically enough I believe it was often her own mother).  She often exploded at the family at 10:00 P.M. complaining about the messy home and lack of consideration we paid her (she was correct in her accusations).  This was always followed by everyone sweeping, cleaning counters, and doing dishes until Mom cooled down and we could all go to bed. When ever we heard the door open, fearing it to be Dad, Mom would jump up from the couch and run into the kitchen and act as if she’d been slaving away all day.   Mom and Dad often had explosive arguments.  Mom counciled with me often about whether or not to leave Dad.  She often threatened to get a job and we all encouraged her too, but she rarely took an odd job outside the home (Which home is where she should be since she still had children theres but she was so unhappy that we wanted her to do what she needed to do to be happy).    This quote by President Kimball sums up childhood in our home, “Surely selfish parents can bring a veritable hell to their children.”

Because of my poor upbringing I always said I wanted to educate myself to other ideas, other ways of running a home so that I didn’t make the same mistakes my parents did.  I ordered Parents Magazine  in High School. My friends laughed at me but I didn’t mind.  While I was in Junior High School by brother and sister-in-law had three girls.  I spent a lot of time with them which I always felt helped save me at the time.  When I went to Brigham Young University I studied Marriage, Family, and Human Development.  I ironically wanted to go on to get a masters and teach on the college level.  I was going to be a specialist on the family.  While I was in High School I worked at a long term care center and became a Certified Nurse Assistant.  Everything I did was to the end of “fixing” my own upbringing and not carrying it on into my own home when I had one.

Jeremy had been writing to a friend of mine for 3 years.  He had wanted to stop writing her but felt he needed to for some reason.  When she passed my email address onto him and we began writing it became apparent to him rather quickly why he had written to the other girl for so long.  We were engaged on our second date.

My Prince Charming

Our Happily Ever After began in Manti, Utah November 12, 1999.

We became parents a little over a year later, I was a mother at age 23 and I felt I was prepared for the position.  My educational background was in child development.  I had spent the better portion of my free time throughout junior high and high school with children and I was sure I could manage the task.  Our first child, a daughter, arrived one late December morning.  We were parents.  We had made all the necessary preparations, we had a nursery set up with a crib, changing table, a closet full of clothes and plenty of diapers.  We’d spent a great deal of time picking out the right car seat, stroller combination and had even taken it around the block with a stuffed animal poseing as our child while she lay waiting patiently in my stomach for Father and Mother to properly prepare for her arrival.  Yes, we were ready.  But, as soon as we returned home from the hospital our sweet little Virginia began to cry.  I knew there was nothing to fear, I’d feed her, change her diaper, sooth her, sing to her and maybe even walk about the home with her in my arms and she’d quiet right down.  But, after my futile attempts I realized she was inconsolable.  My dear husband prayed, “If she would just change her pitch, any other cry but that one.”  To this day we remember her changing the pitch of her cry to a more tolerable sound and he was able to relax at that point.  Well, this daily crying and needing my constant time and attention continued on day after day until one morning when Virginia was 3 weeks old my sister, Suzanne, was visiting.  I had been up much of the night with her and it was now 6:00 a.m.  Suzanne offered to take the baby for a couple of hours while I went back to bed.  The idea was such a welcome one I nearly cried and returned to my bed for some much needed rest.

I’m quite sure no one knew the constant stress I felt. I wasn’t very good at expressing how I felt.  I dreamed daily of taking Virginia to Jeremy’s parents who lived just down the street, “Just for one hour I’d tell myself”.  I never had that luxury.  I suppose the thought of a break kept me going.

Jeremy is a great father and he and Virginia developed a great bond.  When he was at home he always had time to play with her, dance with her, talk to her, pick her up, and sing to her.  She was as easily calmed if he picked her up, and yet was as likely to cry with him as I.

I always said that I was grateful to have Virginia first because I needed a humbling.   Two weeks prior to her 6 month we moved from the home we were renting from a couple who were working in Turkey. Jeremy quit his corporate job with Xerox and we moved an hour and half away to attend Utah State University.  Jeremy was going to study everything as he always wanted to become an Everyologist.  There is nothing that does not interest him and everything that does.  We were bound for new heights.

Six months into our University experience I began to hear of a Child Care Career that would pay me $1000 just to get licensed because of my educational background.  The money was needed and I had always felt that my usefulness was much greater and more valued if I were providing money to help support the family.  I was raised to believe that providing money to the family unit was the greatest value a member had to contribute to the whole.  I ignorantly bought the ideology.   I also wanted to further my career.  I believed the worlds ideas of education and experience.  I valued their values more than the values I said I valued.  The world sees a degree and views it with a great deal of importance.  The world sees a certain title and treats that person differently because of that title.  I believed what the world believed and thought I needed an important title after my name to be somebody.  I decided that starting my own Child Care business would be the beginnings of going where I wanted to be.  I’d always dreamed of teaching on a college level.  This was just the beginning of the career and life I always thought I wanted.

Jeremy really thought much more highly of me than to have me run a child care but I didn’t understand his perspective.  I thought owning and running a child care was acting in a more noble, higher cause.  After much discussion he said he’d support me a hundred percent if that is what I wanted.  He held to his end of the bargain but it took me 2 years before I understood what he had been trying to tell me before I stepped into the career trap.  I spent the next 8 years trying to undo what I had done in the 2 years of “working”.

After I finally quit, I caught myself looking at our children and asking myself, “Who are you?”  This question caught me off guard, I was very surprised by it.  How did I miss that I didn’t even know my own children?  I had rationalized working by telling myself that I was with my children, I wasn’t a bad mom I wasn’t leaving them with someone else.  In the evenings when I had meetings and classes Jeremy always took the children, so one of us always had them.  I was currently pregnant with our 3rd child and spent some much needed time with Asa and Virginia getting acquainted before we added another.

Asa, Sherrad, and Virginia

I thoroughly enjoyed having Sherrad, our third.  Motherhood, for the first time, began to be fun.  I had gotten to know Virginia and Asa and then adding Sherrad was a delight, though challenging.  The children were then aged 4, 2, and newborn.  We spent a quiet year, Jeremy worked evenings so we had him for the day and the children began to get to know their Father after his 3 years spent mostly away at school and work.

Family Photo 2005 Snow Canyon, Utah

I began to learn so many little things that I felt I should have always known such as of course Virginia was old enough to help me peel the potatoes.  I started enjoying the little moments that I hadn’t had time for before.  The owners of The Gate House, which we were renting, planted a large garden in between their home and ours.  They said we were welcome to any of the produce we could use.  I was nervous to oblige at first but as the summer wore on I walked over to the garden to find rotting melons and other produce going to waist I began to feel we were doing them a favor by harvesting from the garden occasionally.  On hot afternoons the children and I would walk over to the garden and pick a nice plump ripe watermelon.  We would then walk back to our grass and sit in the shade enjoying the red juicy fruit.   We lived for these moments.  Jeremy and I were able to spend our days reading and studying and talking.  Everything seemed to be going well until we found ourselves out of a job and unsure where to go or what to do.  We had an offer to move to another community to help care for an elderly couple and their property.  But, we felt the pull to up root and move to Alaska.  With ten days to prepare we left nearly everything we owned behind and moved to Wrangell Alaska, an island in coastal South East Alaska.

This is where my world closed in on me for a short time while Jeremy and I studied and read and prayed continually.  My understanding of my work as Wife and Mother began to evolve and change drastically.  I studied Brigham Young’s writings on the subject and began to gain a great appreciation of this prophet I had previously felt prejudiced toward.  I studied the writings of all the modern day prophets and felt a great deal of guilt regarding my previous behavior towards Jeremy and our children.  I felt humbled and knew that I had a lot of work ahead of me to repent.  I had to make right all my wrongs and prove to my family that they could trust me, that I was dedicated to them, to being a wife and mother, not to the world, to finding a career and claiming a high place amongst man.   This is when my real work began, when I began to chase after my real career and dedicate my life to my real calling.

I worked harder than I had ever worked before.  Part of my struggle during this time was associated with my past, with abuse that took place in my home as a child.  As I opened up and dealt with that and focused on my new career my life began to brighten and the darkness that had seemed to be about us lifted and we emerged into a glorious light, a beautiful brightness that I never knew existed.  Armed with the knowledge of absolute truth we were ready to emerge as a light to help lift others.

This struggle of which I speak took about three years and then we moved to a 5 acre lot we had purchased on Kupreanof, a different Coastal South East Alaska Island.  We owned virgin land that was inland a half a mile and the only access was by boat and then by foot.   We spent the summer there with a 6 week absence when we left to deliver our 4th child in Juneau.  We had Jasper July 24, he  is our pioneer baby as that time in our life so closely resembled the stories of our ancestors that had crossed the plains from the East to Utah to gather with the saints and find refuge from the persecution.    As winter set in we moved to Petersburg for the winter and have resided there since (2 1/2 years).

December 2011 We took this from our local Post Office

We are currently expecting our 5th child in April. I will be sharing the progression that I’ve experienced in hopes of inspiring others.  Over the past few years I have happened upon many blogs that have helped or inspired me when I needed it.  I hope that this site will be a jumping point to greater progression for all who happen upon it.

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