Monday, June 30, 2008

From the Dinner-maker

I am in the midst of my annual identity crisis. If you are a stay at home mommy, you might experience the occasional identity crisis too.

What good am I? What do I have to offer the world? Why is there yogurt all over my couch?

Usually these questions come when excellent things happen with my hubby and his job. I feel so proud of myself. I catch myself saying things like “we got a promotion” or “we got four job offers this week.” Then I have to step back and realize that, although I might be the brains behind this whole operation (wink), it was actually Ryan and his super amazingness (not to mention the help of Heavenly Father, who always seems to have our back) who “got the promotion” or “got four job offers this week.”

And then I think things like, oh no, I am just the dinner-maker. And while dinner-making is important, my chicken fajitas are not going to put our cubs through college or boost my resume'.

And then I think things like, oh no, I am turning into a human accessory. I am here to wipe bums and then stand next to my husband looking cute while he excels in his career.

Ryan, who is basically the best thing since Chicken Express, would never make me feel this way. He supports me and inspires me and treats me like a goddess (whenever he is not teasing me mercilessly). No, it is me who makes me feel this way.

I hope it does not sound like I am minimizing my job as a mommy. Or that I am sad. I am not sad. I am actually very happy and blessed like it's nobody's business. I love supporting my family. It brings me joy and I am good at it.

I just want to feel like I am valued outside the home too, that if heaven forbid something horrible happened, I’d be able to step up to the plate confidently and do what has to be done. Also, my cubs are not going to be cubs forever. Then what?

So, while it seems that I may be neglecting my blog lately, what I am really doing is working through my crisis. I’ve been pressing forward with my book. I’ve been reading books on grammar. I’ve been trying to excel at my current job. I’ve been packing (more on that later). All of these things seem to bring me a sense of accomplishment.

And one day I am going to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. And I am going to be great at it, you’ll see. Till then, I am going to continue learning and growing, and hopefully I’ll happen upon myself along the journey.


Bart said...

What's your book about? If you've already mentioned it, I must have missed that post.

Evan & Rebecca Jones said...

I'm pretty sure that every Mom has felt this way. Especially since having #2 I have felt 100% like all I really know how to do is change diapers. But I'm a dang good diaper changer. :) You seriously should publish a book! You're so fun to read!

Kristy said...

Oh my goodness, amen sista. Love this post.

Shauni said...

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who goes through this, Bethany. I think because the world is so much about money we get so easily caught up in assuming it's the only thing that's important or the only thing worth gaining or contributing. It's tangible and shows immediate results. And yes, Ryan is the one providing it (for now), but what about just about every life lesson your kids will learn that you are teaching them along the way? Good people who are confident and love to learn and work hard (and love the gospel) and are sure of their parent's and the Lord's love for them are really the ones who succeed. I'm pretty sure most of those lessons are coming at Doug and Kiana from you. You've already succeeded a lot! I know you already know all this. But sometimes it helps me feel better remembering the huge long-term influence you're having as their mom, even if the short-term results are almost invisible.

Melanie said...

You have every right to think of your husband's promotions and successes as a "we" thing.

Sometimes it's really easy to fall into the "grass is greener" mentality. Just a note from the other side though, I've gone through many an identity crisis (they seem to come about every 3-4 months) these past several years as I've sought to find a satisfying, fulfilling career. In my search for a meaningful life I've gained a very strong testimony of the value of motherhood. When all is said and done, one of the most important things any woman can do is teach a child.

I know that amidst diapers and piles of laundry it's probably hard to feel that you're making a difference, but just know that you are. I can't even begin to imagine what my childhood would have been without a stay at home mom.

And good luck finding that balance between being 100% mom and also having a separate Bethany identity, because that's important too.

Chris and Tara Mason said...

I hear ya 100%! However, you're better than me - I rarely ever cook dinner! Seriously! I totally suck at it! So, in homemaker land, you would totally get a promotion over this lazy mamma!

karen said...

are you guys moving ????

DeWald Family said...

I have been having a similar crisis. It happens everytime I go from working to home. The whole time I am working I am kicking myself, wishing I were home, dreaming about all the things that I am missing. The first week of being at home is great, then it hits. I get really depressed, and I get really mean to my husband (I don't mean to, it just happens...). I feel useless and can't get over the fact that all I do is spend time with my kids. That is my new job now... enjoy. Then I feel guilty every time I need a break from them, or need help around the house or in the kitchen. It is like I have failed at my job. And, as a side note, I need breaks and help lots, it is busy with a 5 year old and 2 year old who just got relocated 1,000 miles away from everything and everyone that they know!

Not to say that I am going to go back to work. We are good with stay at home until my PhD program starts, and hopefully even that will be part time. I actually cooked dinner 3 times this week! That is more than the months of March, April and May combined!

Keep up the hard work, you are a great mom!

John and Mikelle Hafen said...

you're a doll! i love your thoughts and posts! i'm about to enter the mom world and i'm actually scared to death!! send me your email address so i can send you an invite to my blog!!
have a good holiday this weekend!

Heather & Trevor said...

I love that post! I know all mommies must feel like that! I know I have! It is so true! You are an amazing mommy and an amazing writer as well! I can't wait to hear all about this book! :)

Jessie said...

All I have to say is that what helps me a lot with my mommmy crisises (crisi?) is I make sure that I am doing things just for me. For example, water aroebics, institute classes, dance class, naps, projects, reading, shopping ALL BY MYSELF and just for me. It takes extra effort, because who really has the time, but make time!

When I develop the "me" in my life then I'm a happier mommy and wife. I haven't done all of those things (like water aroebics and dance class) but those are some of the good ideas I have had. It helps me be less jealous of the life Brad is leading in the outside world. It also helps to interact with none 2 year olds.

Anyway, you are a rock star and thanks for this post. Check out our blog when you get a chance:

Audrey said...

My husband is wonderful at making me realize the value of my job as a SAHM as well. I'm sure you've read the stats that to replace a full-time mom would cost over $100,000 a year because of all of the areas that we cover competently. My husband has told me time and time again that because I do my job so well, it allows him to focus on his career. Thus, whenever he does well at work, I'm thrilled for him and celebrate his success (our success) and whenever our kids learn something new he celebrates my success. We're a team. I love it that way. Besides, no one could possibly love my kids as much as I do. I'm so blessed to be home with them and recognize the importance of that while they are still young.